It’s been only a few months since he moved to Minneapolis from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but Fionn Meade is looking very much like a man who has landed in a well-fitting perch. In a decidedly dapper suit, a playful shock of hair, and a bearing of amused engagement, the Walker Art Center’s newest curator needs little prompting to launch into his initial Twin Cities enthusiasms: a punk-rock show at First Avenue, the restaurants near his new North Loop digs, and the view from the Stone Arch Bridge.
Meade’s art-world pedigree, which includes a stop in Seattle and time on the faculties of Columbia University and Bard College, is as urbane and impeccable as the tailored suits he prefers during working hours (he’s “a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy” off the clock). His new job is a mouthful—senior curator of cross-disciplinary platforms—but the concept is a straightforward one. With a deep enthusiasm for contemporary arts ranging from performance to film and video to architecture and design, his responsibility is to be a key for the Walker’s efforts at bending (or smashing) the barriers between them.
“I’m going to be working at catalyzing and provoking opportunities around collaborators,” Meade says. “It follows the Walker’s history as an arts center and a museum, balancing between the disciplines and such a rich history of collecting some of the most experimental and provocative work.”
In addition to dealing with the Walker’s acquisition of the late choreographer Merce Cunningham’s archive of sets, décor, and costumes, Meade’s eclectic eye will be brought to bear on the just-opened Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, a show that presents more than 100 works from the 1960s to the present.
It’s not difficult to envision Meade as a tastemaker in his professional life—after slipping on a pair of Ray-Bans, he exudes Reservoir Dogs cool. One of his go-to sources for suits and shirts is the French company A.P.C. (“just right below the really high-end stuff,” he says), whose quality tailored aesthetic is perfectly in his wheelhouse. He’s also a fan of hand-made shirts by Ernest Alexander. “A tailor is a man’s best friend,” he adds. “That changes everything.”
Photo by John Christenson; Hair and Makeup by Fatima Olive
On the local front, Meade has investigated North Loop boutique Askov Finlayson, and likes what he sees. “Their stuff is very specific,” he says. “It has a narrative tied to it and comes out of a story—that’s such a good approach.” He also lauds One on One Bicycle Studio (“highly recommended”) and favors Dogwood Coffee for his Capresso coffee grinder—he’s a one-cup pour-over guy, especially when on a deadline.
At home, he’s furnishing his new place with a cocktail table and bookshelves from Room & Board, and moving in his prize possessions including a 1965 Gibson hollow body ES-175 guitar that he bought in college—when he “couldn’t afford it at all.” Meade gives the impression of a man whose path has led him to the right place, an intersection of style and substance, intellectualism and visual flair—a catalyst and provocateur with killer taste in suits.
Custom CRIB SHEET
If you’d like to rock a tailored suit like Fionn Meade’s, or go for a hand-made look, here are a few local spots to get outfitted:
- Lyn-Lake’s Top Shelf carries and alters premier men’s pieces (Kiton, Brioni, and the like) and crafts suits and shirts by hand. • topshelfinc.com
- Family-owned Heimie’s Haberdashery has a 100-year history of churning out tailored clothing, handmade leather goods, and accessories. • heimies.com
- Hubert White offers made-to-measure suits, jackets, and shirts, as well as upscale clothing and accessories from hard-to-find brands such as Brunello Cucinelli and Isaia. • hubertwhite.com
WEB EXTRA: Behind the Scenes Photos
MNMO editor, Quinton Skinner interviews Fionn while stylist Fatima Olive, gets him ready for the photo shoot
A handsome city backdrop is fitting for the charming curator