23 art galleries, five days, two cities

Piece of artwork next to feet
"Vintage Halloween Mask Ghoul Zombie Horror Adult Size Rubber," a bronze and marble sculpture by Lee Noble on view at Dreamsong in Northeast Minneapolis.
Alex V. Cipolle | MPR News

In the last 24 hours, I visited 10 art galleries in Minneapolis and St. Paul to preview the second annual Twin Cities Art Week, which starts today. The takeaway? The Twin Cities has a weird and wonderful contemporary art scene. It’s a scene that spreads from the sleepiest of neighborhood pockets to the major tentpoles like the Walker Art Center, Weisman Art Museum and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Rebecca Heidenberg and Gregory Smith co-founded Dreamsong gallery in northeast Minneapolis in 2021. Heidenberg started Twin Cities Art Week in 2022 to patch together this sprawl of art spaces across the two cities. The duo came to Minneapolis from New York a few years ago and were inspired by former days of gallery hopping in artist-dense neighborhoods like Tribeca and Chelsea.

“We felt like it would be a really good idea to get together all these amazing spaces that are showing contemporary art, and really show people that there is an art scene here that's really exciting,” Heidenberg says.

Twin Cities Art Week is (mostly) free and runs through Sunday. Programming includes artist talks, show openings, gallery walkthroughs and demos at 23 venues. 

A few more takeaways:

  • Spooky season begins: At Dreamsong, Artist Lee Noble’s “Lurkers” show has a Halloween mask cast in bronze and meditations on the Pazuzu demon from the “The Exorcist.”  Meanwhile, for “A Rumble in the Twins: Love Conquers All,” artist couple Nathan Hollis and Gabrielle K. Brown threw on some rubbery wrestling masks and went on a romp around the Twin Cities, photographing the whole thing. Hilarious, creepy.

  • Artist Fidencio Fifield-Perez stands out with his moving show reflecting on the immigrant experience at Highpoint Center for Printmaking. The series “dacaments” is a must-see. Fifield-Perez painted house plants he has moved from home to home on a series of used envelopes, the very ones he’s collected in his DACA application process.

  • Are they photographs? Are they paintings? I still don’t know after studying Sophia Chai’s dreamy exhibition “Mouth-Space,” full of optical illusions, at Hair+Nails gallery. (Spoiler: They’re photographs)

  • I reported on the powerful Jim Denomie exhibition that opened this summer at the Mia. Now the Bockley Gallery has an intimate and sweet complementary exhibition of Denomie’s “Painting-a-Day" series from 2005. 

  • Art that makes you feel like you’re tripping: Mark Schoening combines digital fabrication and hand-gluing to create 100 exquisite “small sculptures,” on view at The Orange Advisory gallery in Northeast Minneapolis. The colorful pieces feel like mini amusement parks.

  • There’s also a return of few more artists and galleries that MPR has covered in the past year: Chotsani Elaine Dean’s ceramic works at the Weisman; Za’Nia Coleman’s dance archive at Public Functionary in Northeast Minneapolis; and the Weinstein Hammons Gallery in South Minneapolis, which still features the paintings of Ruben Nusz, but the main draw for Twin Cities Art Week is the gorgeous Switzerland snowscape photography of Justin Newhall.

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This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment‘s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.