Ep. 1.9: Art Is All Around

Keith wraps up the first season by pointing out that even though the Minneapolis Institute of Art is full of great works, one of its best artistic experiences involves looking out a window.


Hi there! I’m Keith Pille, your art pal.

Welp, we’re closing out Season 1. Thanks for listening your way though. Unless you skipped straight to the end, in which case, uh, well, still thanks.

Anyway. In this episode, we’ll be doing things a little differently. We’re not talking about a specific work of art that’s on display in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Instead, we’re going to talk about a view from a spot in the MIA that I think – and the museum seems to agree – counts as a work of art.

So if you’re listening to this in the museum, here’s what I’d like you to do: get up to the third floor and make your way to the gallery towards the architecture and decorative arts gallery on the east side of the building, the one with the big window wall that looks out over Washburn / Fair Oaks Park onto downtown Minneapolis. if you’re listening somewhere else, you can do an image search for downtown Minneapolis, I guess, or honestly just think about your favorite view of whatever city.

So, in the gallery – and I get an immense kick out of the fact that this is in a gallery the museum has dedicated to architecture —  the museum actually has a gallery label posted in front of that gigantor window, listing out the names and architects of all of the identifiable buildings downtown. And I’ve always loved that they did this; I can remember the first time they put that label up, although they’ve had to update it several times as the city has changed. I love it partly just for the information… this is how I first learned what a bunch of these buildings are, and who made them. And that’s important, especially for major landmarks like Philip Johnson’s IDS Center, which for my money is the best skyscraper west of Chicago.

But this view and the museum’s explicit recognition of it is cool way for reasons way beyond the informational. This is one of my favorite spots in the Twin Cities, purely because of the view. I can stand here and look at those buildings for half an hour at a time. And I love seeing how different light and sky conditions change the view, just like Monet’s haystack paintings. For what it’s worth, my favorite light condition for this view is just before sunset in December, as the sun hits all of these buildings from a low angle with this beautiful gold tone; it almost makes up for the fact that the sun’s setting at 4:30 in the afternoon.

And beyond that, I love this acknowledgement that art isn’t necessarily limited to things chosen to be in galleries. A collection of buildings that went up semi-haphazardly over the course of a hundred years can be considered together as a work of art, even if –especially if!– it’s a fleeting, impermanent, ever-changing one. I couldn’t agree more with this. And I think it’s a good thing for you to keep in mind as you move around wherever you live. Art’s wherever you find it. it might be in a gallery, it might be in someone’s living room, it might be sprayed on the supports of an overpass. You never know. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll see it everywhere.

That’s it for season one of Artpal. Thanks again for listening. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please spread the word to other potential art lovers, and if you could go to iTunes or Google Play and leave a rating or a review, that helps other people find the show. Season two will focus on works at a different Twin Cities institution, although I’m not entirely sure when that’ll happen. Watch the website or my Twitter account – that’s @keithpille – for more information as it comes together.

As I’ve said several times, I’m Keith Pille. I’ve had editorial assistance from Rebecca Collins and Floris Lafontant. All the music in the show is by the Awesome Boys.

Thanks again, and talk to you soon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *