Minnesota’s best artists of the century (and a half)

First, I just want to say: They called it. In a MnMo arts feature over the summer, we described the beliefs of Warehouse District boosters that the area was primed for an artistic revival. Many laughed, but I’m starting to think they’re just crazy enough to be right. And now, one more art gallery is proving them right–On October 27, Circa Gallery will hold its grand opening at 210 N. First St., Mpls. Actually, it’s a return–Circa opened downtown in 1990, then fled the frat boy encroachment, and is now fleeing that space, Loring Corners, because of less-than-desirable changes there (but that’s another story).

Anyway, in case you’ve been living under a rock in the Boundary Waters, Minnesota is gearing up for its Sesquicentennial next year, a longwinded way of saying it’s turning 150. To mark the moment, the Minnesota Historical Society has published the “Minnesota 150,” a book detailing 150 people, places, and things that shaped our state. A few of them are even artistic in nature: Bob Dylan, of course, Prince, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Wanda Gag, the Guthrie Theater, Garrison Keillor, Gordon Parks, Sinclair Lewis, Warren McKenzie, George Morrison, WCAL, the Minnesota Orchestra, and, depending on how you feel about his poems, Eugene McCarthy. And I have no quibble about any of those. One, though, has even staffers at the Historical Society itself wondering–Atmosphere. Hey, I think the boys rock. They’ve rejuvenated and expanded a rap and hip-hop scene here that’s not only unlikely but unique. I just wonder if we’re jumping the gun here, though maybe I’d feel differently if the list included one of these latter-day music-makers: The Replacements, Husker Du, or Soul Asylum.

Also, somewhat notable in their absence is the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, which is unique in ways the Minnesota isn’t. Catch their Nov. 2-3 concerts at the Ordway Center featuring one of the best violinists in the world right now, Leila Josefowicz.

And by all means check out celebrated local playwright Alan Berks’ latest, 3 Parts Dead, created with the Burning House Group, at the Theatre Garage through Oct. 28. A ghost story about people on the verge of madness. If that isn’t about artists, I don’t know what is.

(Images: Atmosphere by Dan Monick, and art at Circa Gallery by David Boggs)

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