Although it was more than 125 years ago that lumber baron Thomas Barlow (T.B.) Walker built a room onto his Minneapolis home on Hennepin Avenue, mounted his 20 favourite paintings on the walls, and opened his home to the community, it was the year 1940 that marked the birth of the Walker Art Center we know. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding as a public art centre, the Walker Art Center presents a series of WAC@75 exhibitions and programs. This begins with Art at the Centre: 75 Years of Walker Collections, which looks at 75 years of collecting at the Walker—a history distinguished by bold acquisitions that challenge artistic conventions and examine current social and political conditions.
Walker’s collection reflects its multidisciplinary programming, which includes film and video, design, visual art and performing arts, and Art at the Centre also traces how this collection and programming came about through the respective visions and philosophies of Walker’s five directors, as well as the generosity of the Walker family and patrons.
Art at the Centre includes iconic works such as Edward Hopper’s Office at Night (1940), Franz Marc’s The Large Blue Horses (1911), Andy Warhol’s Sixteen Jackies (1964), Chuck Close’s Big Self Portrait (1967-68), Yves Klein’s Mondo Cane Shroud (1961), Kerry James Marshall’s Gulf Stream (2003), and Goshka Macuga’s Lost Forty (2011).
To further the experience, selected art works will be contextualized with historic photos, artists’ books, correspondence, models and maquettes, and other ephemera which has been drawn from the institution’s archives. The galleries will also feature “Time Capsule” spaces that will focus on particular projects and key moments in the Walker’s history that reach beyond the collections, such as the pioneering Design Quarterly publication, the Regis Dialogues series produced in conjunction with renowned filmmakers, and the early years of Walker’s acclaimed performing arts program.
75 Years of Walker Collections, until 11 September 2016, Walker Art Center, 750 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403, USA.
1. Chuck Close, Big Self-Portrait, 1967-1968.