The Uptown Minneapolis home of Robyne Robinson looks as if it might contain an entire museum. Practically every surface displays a thoughtfully arranged mixture of objets d’art culled from all over the world: pieces by Picasso, Rauschenberg, and Dali, a ’50s-era Andy Warhol watercolor, a six-by-six-foot Keith Haring print, skateboards, limited-edition high-top sneakers decorated with artwork by Haring and Jean-Michael Basquiat, and an antique African tribal mask.
Meanwhile, on the kitchen bar, her collection of Midwest Emmy awards perches amongst burning incense, bags of Greek mountain tea, and other ephemera.
One thing’s certain: Robinson is no minimalist.
Most Minnesotans remember Robinson from her tenure as an award-winning television senior news anchor (and host and producer of popular segment The Buzz) on Fox 9, where she spent 20 years behind the desk until she hung up her mic in May 2010 and pursued a run for Lieutenant Governor.
Recently, Robinson has embraced a new role as the arts and culture director for the Airport Foundation MSP. While her arts background may surprise some, her resumé of expertise in Twin Cities creative culture seems tailor-made for the job. The position draws from her background in community and arts journalism as well as her years as a curator and gallery owner (of Northeast Minneapolis’s Flatland from 2000 to 2003). Her high visibility and connections within the Twin Cities give her a unique vantage point.
So far, Robinson has curated and installed three major exhibitions at the airport, opened a screening room that shows regionally produced short films, and expanded the live-music program to include a broad range of styles, from ’80s pop to traditional Ethiopian. And in coming months, she will debut new mosaic installations in newly remodeled restrooms on the C and E concourses. This year, she also hopes to display digitized artwork collections from the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which will give airport guests information on current exhibitions. “It all adds to the arts economy for Minnesota,” she says. “We want to be that gateway for the arts in Minnesota to the rest of the world.”
A few items from Robinson’s art collection
Robinson started collecting art as a cash-strapped college student. “If I saw a poster I liked, I would snatch it off the wall and have it framed,” she says. After graduation, she began collecting original art, through auctions (“I was once in a bidding war with some millionaire over an Alec Soth”) and personal relationships (during regular visits to the Berlin studio of one of Germany’s most renowned artists, Hinrich Kröger). A few major pieces were collected during Robinson’s tenure on acquisitions boards at the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, which she says provided her with access to what was happening in the art world “in real time.”
In addition to being a curator and collector, Robinson is an artist herself. After leaving Fox 9, she channeled her energy into her jewelry line, Rox, which was born out of her love for Greece,
where she has lived for months at a time throughout the past decade. “It’s the one place I know of where you can go to museums devoted exclusively to the history of jewelry,” she says. “Whether it’s the rhythm or the repetition in a pattern or the use of brass and stone, it all has its origins in Greece.”
Robinson prefers to wear statement pieces—scarves, oversize bags, large cuff bracelets, and big stone and silver rings—and bold, exotic prints paired with simple, body-skimming silhouettes. It’s a poly-cultural look that matches her goal of bringing Minnesota arts and culture to a space that serves as our gateway to the world.
Robyne Robinson’s Style Crib sheet
On shopping local
“The store is less important than the designer, but I usually favor boutiques over department stores.”
Donna Karan and DKNY, Eileen Fisher, Elie Saab, Catherine Malandrino, Desigual, vintage Custo, and local designer StevenBe
“Scarves, a kickin’ bag, large cuff bracelets, and big stone and silver rings, preferably vintage African, Orthodox, or Middle Eastern.”