5 Art Exhibits to See This Month in the Twin Cities

From ”tree mannequins” and Japanese ceramics to Russian realism and poolside meditations



A Soulful Holiday

Where: Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center, 505 Nicollet Mall, Suite 100, Minneapolis
When: Through Jan. 2

In a partnership with Meet Minneapolis, the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG) hosts a holiday-themed exhibit at the downtown Visitor Center. The display of six mannequins—or, “mannequin trees,” since they feature coniferous skirts—pays homage to pieces of Black history, art, and culture. Artist Alicia Smiley has drawn inspiration from The Wiz; the Harlem Renaissance; the Black wedding tradition of jumping the broom; the fight for power in Black communities, starting in the 1960s and ’70s and merging into today; royalty, referring to pride in “the regal roots of African Americans in Africa”; and MAAHMG.

Sergei and Aleksei Tkachev: Masters of Russian Realist Art

Where: The Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Ave., Minneapolis
 Nov. 20-March 20, 2022

Russian realist painters and brothers Sergei and Aleksei Tkachev patented a recognizable style in their nearly 60-year careers: The two trained in Moscow, graduated from their respective studios in the 1950s, have often painted on the same canvas, and have won the honorary titles of People’s Artist of the USSR, according to the Museum of Russian Art, which displays more than 20 of their works in the Mezzanine Gallery through March.

Kamoda Shōji: The Art of Change

Where: Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis 
Dec. 11-April 17

A seminal player in the world of contemporary ceramics is finally getting a stateside retrospective. Japanese ceramist Kamoda Shōji “has not received the attention he deserves outside of his native country,” according to a press release from the Minneapolis Institute of Art, even though the artist is famous in Japan for having experimented with ancient techniques throughout his roughly 20-year career. (Shōji died in 1983.) The exhibit will feature 49 works, including early experiments with ash glazes and unglazed clay, plus his signature 1970s “wave” patterns. This will be Shōji’s first museum retrospective outside of his home country. “Given his monolithic reputation in Japan, it is high time that our audiences have the opportunity to enjoy his work and learn about his breathtaking creativity,” Mia deputy director and chief curator Matthew Welch said in the press release.

David Hockney, "Gregory in the Pool" (1983)
David Hockney, “Gregory in the Pool” (1983)

Walker Art Center, Tyler Graphics Archive/Courtesy David Hockney

David Hockney: People, Places & Things

Where: Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Pl., Minneapolis
Dec. 18-August 21, 2022

David Hockney, a UK artist who got his start in the Pop Art scene, has spanned media within a six-decade career—from colorful portraits and diverse landscapes to set designs and the digital realm. This Walker Art Center exhibit tracks his evolution using selections from the museum’s considerable holding, according to a press release, including paintings, prints, drawings, and theatrical works. Beginning with portraits on paper that feature family and friends, the showcase moves into still lifes that center a familiar Hockney motif: the SoCal swimming pool.

From Our House to Yours

Where: American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis
Through Jan. 9

This may only loosely count as “art,” but the American Swedish Institute has filled the stately Turnblad Mansion in south Minneapolis with the décor and traditions of seven cultures: Hmong, Sami, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish, and Finnish. In the mansion’s ballroom, a large table serves as a holding space for old stories and festive place settings. In the courtyard, expect market stalls, live music, and games of kubb, and look out for virtual holiday programs, a seasonal menu at the Fika café, youth choir performances, and more holiday programming.