Alec Soth, MOSAIC, and a new gallery

The Minneapolis photographer Alec Soth is remarkable for many reasons: because his original insights into what makes an interesting photograph are right up there with Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, and other greats; because he remains wonderfully humble in the face of fawning success; because we can still call him a Minneapolis photographer.
And the book that overburdened his bandwagon, “Sleeping by the Mississippi,” in 2005, is now being revisited by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which has recently acquired the entire series of prints. Starting last week and running through August 10, the museum will showcase 26 prints following Soth’s seminal journey through the melancholic but inspiring river cities from here to New Orleans.

These prints, of dreamers and prostitutes,  decaying memories and devoted curators of their own particular outlook on the world, felt both old and new in a way that transfixed viewers (and brought Soth more work, for The New York Times Magazine and other projects, than he’d ever anticipated). And while he’s since trained his lens on other subjects–notably the Niagara Falls tourist scene–there’s something about this subject matter and Soth’s approach to it that hits the sweet spot between odd and inspiring, staring and seeing.

Among the newish galleries fueling hopes of a Warehouse District art revival, the 801 Gallery is unique in that it’s a loft, not a storefront, which makes openings there feel both more intimate and more exclusive. Rest assured, you’re among friends, and this Saturday, June 7, another opening happens featuring, among other artists, the intriguing film-to-photography art of Dan Havel, a Minneapolis native now living in Houston. Asked to create a site-specific installation in a former X-rated moviehouse in Houston, he found rusting old reels of film there that he’s slowly been chopping up, scanning, and digitally layering to create funky, ’70s-feeling artworks. (And no, they don’t feature what you might fear they would, even if a few make implications.)

Also on Saturday, the annual free kickoff to the Mosaic summer art festival in Minneapolis happens on Hennepin Avenue between 7th and 9th streets, with a mainstage of music and dance including flamenco, gyspy jazz, salsa, and the rockers New Congress. The festivities continue all night at the State Theatre, Pantages Theatre, etc.