Art Hounds: 2012 visual art and music highlights

We've asked our Art Hounds to tell us about their Minnesota arts and culture highlights of 2011. Here are the music and visual art highlights that we didn't have time to get to on air (see the first and second on-air installments -- and the theater and dance wrap-up):

Mark Mallman's performance of "Minneapolis" at the Ritz Theater

Mark Mallman's upbeat 2011 anthem about coming home to his city/muse was a lot of fun, but this performance revealed that the song went deeper than civic boosterism. For his "Double Silhouette" album release party, he debuted a harrowing, never-before-heard preamble delving into the bitterness and betrayal that led the narrator to flee the Twin Cities in the first place, then triumphantly brought it all back home by launching into an especially exuberant rendition of "Minneapolis" that blew the room away. Mallman is always an intense, kinetic performer, but this performance was electrifying even for him.

-Ira Brooker, freelance writer and the editor of the Minnesota Playlist blog

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U of M Jazz Ensembles' Gil Evans Centennial Celebration A rare opportunity to experience live the music of one of the foremost comoser/arrangers of our time. Musicianship was superb and conductor/Evans Scholar Ryan Truesdell was very informative on his research into the archival treasures of Gil's scores and recordings. -John Devine, saxophonist and composer

"The Sound of Surprise: A Vijay Iyer Mini-Festival" at the Walker Art Center Iyer played six sets over two nights -- two solo sets and four with other musicians, including his great trio. It was a remarkable, probably once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear an important young pianist and composer play that much live music, much of it improvised. It was provocative and luxurious, exhilarating and immersive. -Pamela Espeland, writer of MinnPost's Artscape and the jazz blog, bebopified

Frank Gaard at the Walker Art Center Frank Gaard, vanguard of the Minneapolis avant-garde, had a much deserved retrospective at the Walker. His vibrant paintings and portraits mix Rock n Roll,drugs, sex, politics and the tenacity of the human spirit together to make art that truly enlightens and entertains. -Paul D. Dickinson, host of the Riot Act Reading Series

Moritz Gotze at the Rourke Art Museum in Moorhead Gotze creates intriguing Pop art that uses many of its devices (consumerism, logos, etc.) but also adds elements of history and, especially, art history. His exhibition also marked the first major exhibition mounted by the Rourke's new director, Tania Blanich. -Kris Kerzman, writer for ARTSpulse

The Dubious Sum of Vaguely Discernable Parts by Nyeema Morgan at Bindery Projects Bindery Projects, Nate Young & Caroline Kent's new alternative St. Paul gallery, brought emerging artist Nyeema Morgan's tripartite exhibit which included delicate prints, sublime photographs, and a simple newsprint publication. In "Forty-Seven Easy Poundcakes Like Grandma Used To Make," Morgan created a print series of 47 drawings, each made up of different recipes on index cards. Morgan's minimalist, grayish photographs of pound cake ingredients, along with actual pound cake served at the opening, set the standard for forthcoming high quality academically bent, sociopolitical exhibitions at Bindery Projects. -Pete Driessen, artist, curator/director TuckUnder Projects