with the new Walker Art Center director Olga Viso

Olga Viso arrives at the Walker in January after a dozen years leading the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian’s contemporary art center in Washington, D.C. Here, she gives us a preview of her plans.

Her vision:
“Revitalizing the sculpture garden and doing more programming out there, connecting the garden more to the Walker. Also, raising the profile of the Walker nationally and even internationally for having this incredible interdisciplinary program. I think perhaps Minnesotans don’t realize what a gem the Walker is and how respected it is for presenting a program that stimulates the making of new work.”

What makes the Walker unique:
“It has this exceptionally strong, high-profile, contemporary performing-arts program and an extensive film-and-media program. Few institutions across the country have that true multi-disciplinary focus. I think contemporary artists are working so much across disciplines these days that the Walker is uniquely positioned to create a fertile platform for artists to engage at all levels. I would like to foster that even more.”

Presenting culture to the community: “It has really resonated with audiences at the Hirshhorn, to have artists present as much as possible. I’ve tried to encourage the staff in everything they do, whether it’s creating the children’s program or the late-night After Hours program, to invite artists into the process to help shape and develop the character of what we do. I think the Walker already does that and can do more. It’s about giving people points of entry into experiencing works that may be challenging and unfamiliar.”

25 Years of Modern Moves

Without Zenon Dance Company, the Twin Cities’ scene would look quite different—more delicate en pointe and fewer pointed statements. Zenon has been a pipeline of skilled modern dancers and choreographers, supplying troupes with versatile performers steeped in the latest movement theories. The company has also provided a local forum for such nationally known contemporary choreographers as Bill T. Jones and Joe Goode. This month, the troupe celebrates 25 years with shows at the Guthrie Theater, presenting classic works by modern masters and a world premiere by local legend Danny Buraczeski. – November 30 to December 2, Guthrie Theater, 818 S. Second St., Mpls., 612-377-2224.

Boulders and Bullfights

Craig Blacklock has photographed Lake Superior many different ways, including nudes on the rocks (of his wife, not himself), but this month he releases Minnesota’s North Shore (Blacklock Photography Galleries, $60), a kind of back-to-basics book of simple but beautiful color pictures. It includes a three-hour meditative DVD of lakeshore imagery set to music—seagull sounds optional.

Another new coffee-table book by a Minnesota native, Michael Crouser’s Los Toros (Twin Palms Publishers, $60), couldn’t be more diferente, examining the spectacle of bullfighting through dreamlike black-and-white photographs. Crouser attended more than 150 fights in four countries during the 15 years he spent producing this book, befriending matadors and capturing every detail of their surreal dance with death.