Voters in Revolt | Brooks Turner

Voters in Revolt | Brooks Turner

HAIR+NAILS is pleased to present Voters in Revolt, a solo show by Minneapolis artist, writer, educator Brooks Turner.

Brooks Turner and the gallery timed this show to coincide with the 90th Anniversary of the 1934 Truck Drivers Strike in Minneapolis. The artist’s process began with deep research into this historic event and reflection on its reverberations in our present moment. This body of work continues in the thread of Turner’s research into the history of fascism in Minnesota seen in recent exhibitions at Weisman Art Museum and Perlman Teaching Museum.

In Voters in Revolt, Turner deploys a different medium in each room of the gallery. The visitor enters to see four large machine-woven tapestries depicting critical moments from the 1934 strike through collages of photographs placed within imagined floral and forest landscapes. Strike Scenes, a series of pen and ink drawings on handmade paper, offers a more intimate view of the strike through small scale reimaginings of historical photographs and paintings of the Minnesota landscape. The final work, Path Through the Wilderness, is an audio installation exploring the power and potency of labor organizing in Minnesota through the voice of Meridel LeSueur.


“Growing up in Minneapolis, I was very familiar with the yearly Aquatennial festival, famous for its brilliant firework display, sailboat races, and city-wide celebratory events. It was not until recently, however, I learned Aquatennial was created by a consortium of business leaders with the stated purpose to overshadow and erase a yearly commemoration of the 1934 Truck Drivers Strike, a historic strike which empowered workers locally and inspired the creation of the National Labor Relations Board.

The histories we remember and commemorate shape our current cultural and political realities. My exhibition, Voters in Revolt, commemorates the 90th anniversary of the Truck Drivers Strike—not merely because it is the 90th anniversary, but because now, more than ever, the memory of the strike can renew labor power and inspire the same tactics of democratic organizing, militant labor activism, and leftist networks of communication and collaboration. Looking to this past is also an expression of hope for the future. Hope is a tool as much as any hammer or sickle. My hope is that the scenes and images presented in this exhibition will enter our collective unconscious, inspiring, whether we realize it or not, robust resistance against the ruling class. My hope is that this exhibition can educate and agitate in support of collective organization.

Wealth inequality in America has ballooned higher than during the Gilded Age, a sign of decaying democracy and consolidated oligarchical control via corporations, shareholders, and the politicians they bribe. Each day, America looks more and more fascist as mass arrests silence peaceful protestors, as “cop cities” train police in warfare against citizens, as our civil liberties are stripped from law by unelected judges with lifelong appointments, as the genocide of Palestinians funded by taxpayers drives profit for the one percent. Not only did the Truck Drivers Strike stand against the violent exploitation of workers by businesses and the state, but it fought against the rise of American fascism in the 1930s, even as liberals and conservatives ignored and even courted the far right. The works in this exhibition elevate these histories by mythologizing them, by appealing to the language of history painting and medieval tapestry, reframing local and national history through the lens of anti-fascism. Our future already has a past even though it has been hidden from us.“

- Brooks Turner


Brooks Turner is an artist, writer, and educator based in Minneapolis. Through diverse methodologies that include archival research, collage, drawing, and installation, Turner engages histories of fascism and resistance in Minnesota as synecdoches for understanding and challenging the aesthetics of US History and the imperialist ideologies it enshrines. Solo exhibitions include Pedagogy and Propaganda at The Perlman Teaching Museum, Legends and Myths of Ancient Minnesota at the Weisman Art Museum, and Uncanny Familiarities of Scenes and People at St. Cloud State University. His work has been supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Minnesota Humanities Center, Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Federation, the Minnesota State Inter-Faculty Organization, and the Jerome Foundation. He is the author of A Guide to Charles Ray Sleeping Mime as well as numerous essays published by HAIRandNAILS, Art Papers, and MnArtists. Turner received a BA from Amherst College and MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently Chair of Visual Art at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists.

Instagram: @bathetic_tautology


walk-ins welcome: Thursdays/Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays 1:00- 5:00 starting May 26 through June 30. Also, appointments can be scheduled 7 days/week via

Image: BROOKS TURNER, detail of Voters in Revolt (2023) machine-woven cotton tapestry.

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