Minnesota Museum of American Art (the M) presents We the People, inviting four guest curators to select work by prominent local and national artists that sheds light on the complexities of contemporary American experience. This exhibition continues the M’s engagement with critical issues about American art which began two years ago with the show American Art: It’s Complicated.
“We the people,” the opening words of the U.S. Constitution, serves as a national slogan and a rallying cry. But who constitutes the “we” in that formative phrase? More to the point, which people and whose stories aren’t represented in the language of national unity?
In response to those questions, Christopher Harrison (independent curator and artist), Johnnay Leenay (Minnesota Museum of American Art), Mary Anne Quiroz (Indigenous Roots Cultural Center), and Maggie Thompson (Two Rivers Art Gallery) present artworks with disparate cultural points of view. Artists include Star Wallowing Bull, Zackary Drucker, Rico Gatson, Susan Hauptman, Nooshin Hakim Javadi, Steve Ozone, and others.
Admission is free and open to the public. A cash bar will be available. A members-only preview will precede the public opening reception, with a special event for members of the museum from 5:30 – 7 p.m.
About the guest curators:
Christopher E. Harrison is a fine artist, graphic designer, museum educator, and independent curator based in the Twin Cities. His politically and socially engaged paintings are made with natural materials, and focus on creating greater curiosity and respect for the physical world. Harrison received his BFA in 1987 from Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, OH, and he is an MFA candidate at Art Academy University, San Francisco.
Johnnay Leenay is a community organizer, independent curator, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art’s first Diversity in the Arts fellow. She has a BA in Communications and Journalism and Justice and Peace Studies from the University of St. Thomas.
Mary Anne Quiroz was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States in 1989. She is an artist, organizer, and community engagement coordinator based in St. Paul. She is cofounder of Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli, a traditional Mexican Aztec dance and drum group. Quiroz is also cofounder of Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center, a collective of artists and organizations dedicated to building, supporting, and cultivating opportunities for Indigenous peoples and communities of color through cultural arts and activism.
Maggie Thompson, a member of the Fond Du Lac Band of Ojibwe, is a textile artist, designer, and founder of Makwa Studio in Minneapolis. She is also the gallery manager at Two Rivers Art Gallery: an active space for the Native community to build relationships and to collaborate, strengthening Native art and artistic voices within the Twin Cities. She received her BFA in Textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013.
Free and open to the public
Minnesota Museum of American Art
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