Virtual exhibitions prove insightful, engaging

Walker Art Center goes online amidst pandemic


Fair use from the Walker Art Center.

Ben Sanford

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the arts have taken some of the biggest hits financially. With live theater put on complete hold and museums and art centers being empty for months, it’s clear COVID-19’s impact on many artistic circles. That being said, the Walker Art Center is doing its best to adapt to these unprecedented times by moving many of its exhibits to a virtual setting to be enjoyed online for the time being.

“Designs for Different Futures”

“Designs for Different Futures” showcases different designers and filmmakers’ perceptions of what the future could look like. The virtual exhibit has multiple depictions of hypothetical futures including dystopian technology, fashion, makeup and films that explore the different possibilities of the future. Being able to look at some of these different visual interpretations of a futuristic world was captivating and strange. It was fascinating to see the different ideas that each individual artist had, but how they all seemed cohesive together as well. The exhibit also gives a platform to multiple short films that explore the ways our technology can adapt. One example is a short film called “Merger,” which has a very “Black Mirror”-esc depiction of the future, telling a story about the ways artificial intelligence could take over customer service and other related jobs. A costume from the popular Hulu series, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is also on display at the exhibit. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is a dystopian television series and book set in a society where men have complete control and belittle women to objects instead of treating them as individuals. With so many possibilities and ideas for the times ahead, “Designs for Different Futures” consolidates so many ideas and theories in an informative and interesting exhibit.

“Don’t let this be easy”

This exhibit displays art created by women that have created empowering and controversial art over the course of the past 50 years. Many of the artists were born in a time where being a successful woman in art was almost impossible, being kept out of elite circles by their male counterparts. “Don’t let this be easy” combines multiple pieces of art from different mediums like collages, murals, portraits and other unique artistic tools to educate the public on the variety of ways women have been oppressed throughout the 1900s. One piece, “Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise” (1983) by Jenny Holzer describes the complicated mindset misogyny can create. Christina Quarles’s “Feel’d” is also on display in the exhibit and depicts a gripping and confusing picture, forcing you to lean in and analyze the intent and specificities behind the piece. These pieces are completely different from each other, but when combined in one exhibit tell a cohesive and compelling story told by different artists from across the world. It is so riveting and informative to be able to witness the collaboration of perspectives and talent in this unique exhibit.

“Five Ways In: Themes from the Collection”

“Five Ways In” begs the question, “what defines art?” The goal of the exhibit is to expand the boxes that we often put different artists and styles of art into. It pushes boundaries by twisting portraits to become distanced from their subjects or make a sculpture of a landscape. This exhibit attempts to showcase art that doesn’t play by the rules. Art is a form of self expression in every sense of the word, and because of that, I love seeing the different ways these artists can play with their creations to make something new. The alternative and original methods for expressing themselves by combining multiple forms of art is so intriguing as a viewer. With a wide array of artists displaying their work, the exhibit combines photography, painting, sculpting and many more forms of art to explore what makes art beautiful and captivating.