More Tom Otterness in Minneapolis!

There’s only about ten more posts remaining from my time in Japan.  However, I think it’s a good idea to take a break from talking about Japan every so often to look at something else.  Besides, I haven’t finished talking about Minneapolis!

During my trip to Minneapolis back in April, I rented a Nice Ride bike to get around the city a little more quickly.  On my way between the Walker Art Center and the riverfront, I saw some sculptures that looked really familiar.  I was so excited to see them that I dropped the bike on my foot, which caused some bruising and left me limping for the rest of the day.

What I was so excited to see was a courtyard full of these little round bodied statues.


The last time I had seen these little fellows was at an outdoor sculpture garden in The Hague, in the Netherlands.  I looked into it, and sure enough, it was Tom Otterness again.


The location, I found out later, is the Minneapolis U.S. Courthouse Plaza, constructed in 1997.


The oddly shaped mounds of earth and grass are called Drumlins.  According to the downtown Minneapolis Skyway-Myway blog, the mounds “suggest the glacial drumlins (an elongated whale-shaped hill formed by glacial ice; the word is derived from the Gaelic word druim “rounded hill,” or “mound”).”


I also learned from the aforementioned blog that the little round bodied sculptures are called “Rockman.”


These two Rockman are my favorite.  (I’m declaring right here and right now that the plural of Rockman is also Rockman.)


I suppose this little fellow would be a Rockturtle?


I also really like this one, and I kinda feel like he’s just doing what I was doing that day.


I’m glad that I stumbled across this little sculpture garden.  I found out from my research that there are other places in the US with little collections of Rockman by Tom Otterness.  I feel like I need to go see them all!


What’s your favorite sculpture?


The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis

I thought it might be nice to take a quick break from Japan to show you art in Minnesota.  While I was in Minneapolis, I took some time to visit the Walker Art Center.  I particularly liked the sculpture garden.


This piece is called Spoonbridge and Cherry, and it was designed by a husband and wife team in the 1980s.  I just like it because it’s an enormous spoon.


I don’t have commentary for every photograph.  I really like sculpture though.




This is the outside of the Walker, showcasing the displays that were ongoing while I was there.  The Walker was celebrating 75 years while I was visiting, so there were two different “75 years” themed installations.  International Pop  covered the emergence of Pop art from the 1950s to the early 1970s.


I like the little round grass patches in front of the building.


This item was part of the “75 Gifts for 75 Years” exhibition.

There was a sign on the floor stating that you should take selfies here and post them to social media with the tag #AtTheWalker.  I am a slave to trendiness.  Also, I’m partial to this piece because I have a tiny metal version of this piece at home, which I’ve had for years because it came from my grandmother’s house when she passed away.


I think I saw these in the lighting section at Ikea.


It was all done with mirrors!


I read recently about the artist who does these bendy trucks actually getting a parking ticket on his art installation in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany.  That’s hilarious.


Um.  America!


Whatever your artistic preferences, it’s important to beeeeee yourself.


I like the pieces that are sort of political-cartoonish.


I also like the pieces that are kind of random.   That tiger must have had a really good idea!


This bit here made me hungry…


This was one of the most showcased items in the Pop art exhibit.


I thought this metal pressed newspaper was amazing.


…made you look!


I like the classic sci-fi feel to this bit of wall art.


There was a film explaining this piece-  the artist Yves Klein got naked models to dip themselves in blue paint and then press themselves against the canvas.


Do you have a favorite sculpture?  Have you ever been to the Walker Art Center?

Minneapolis is not Japan.

I know y’all are waiting for my Japan posts, and I promise they’re coming.  I have some other stuff that needs to be posted, though, so I’m going to alternate between Japan and not-Japan for a bit.

About four months ago, I spent a few days in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  My primary reason for going to Minneapolis was an Information Society concert.  InSoc started out in Minneapolis, so this was a hometown show for the band.  They had family members, former group members, and old, old friends in the audience.  It was an amazing show.

The gentleman front and center in red is Kurt Harland, who does most of the lead vocals for the band.  The gentleman in the white coat on the left side of this photo is James Cassidy, and the man in white on the right side is Paul Robb.  Those three have been with the band since the band’s formation in the early 1980s.  The two in back are more recent additions.


I gave myself an entire extra day before the concert, though, because I hadn’t ever spent more than 24 hours in the city, and I wanted to look around.  From the airport, I took the light rail into the city center, and I walked the three short blocks from the train station to my hotel.  On the way to the hotel, I passed Mary Tyler Moore.  I do love random statue sightings.


One of my favorite things about Minneapolis is the ingenious way that the city has responded to being insanely fricking cold during the winter-  the downtown area is threaded with these Habitrail-looking tubes that connect the buildings.  The places where the tubes intersect the buildings often contain shops or restaurants.  The network of tubes is so large that there are entire mapping apps you can put on your phone to help you route around them without having to go outside.  They’re great fun, and walking through them feels a little bit like you’re on a space station.  They are the last, best hope for warmth.


Given my love of tall buildings, it should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody that I tried to go up the Foshay building.  The elevator was out of service, however, and I wasn’t able to finagle another way to the top.


The doors to the elevator were certainly snazzy, though.  This totally looks like something out of Ghostbusters.


Minneapolis has dedicated candy stores… nifty!


There’s also a lot of street art.  Many of the utility boxes were painted in pretty or interesting ways.


Many cities I’ve visited have had rental bikes.  This is the one place I’ve ever tried them.  The rental rate was very reasonable, and I was able to cover several miles without burning too much time by using the rental bikes.  I only dropped the bike on my foot once during the entire trip!


This is a picture of the Minneapolis skyline from the Walker Art Center, which I’ll talk about in another post.  The Walker has a bunch of really great things to see, and I took many photographs there.


On my trip back from the Walker, I noticed the marquee on this theater.  Alas, the Neil deGrasse Tyson show was two days after I left Minnesota.


They’re building a new stadium.  It looks nifty.  And so, so huge.


I read somewhere before my trip that Big Brain Comics was a great classic comic store, so I wandered in while I was in town.  Nice store, decent selection, friendly staff.


Next door to Big Brain Comics is the Day Block Brewing Company, a very nice place to stop for lunch and a cold refreshing drink. (It was really hot outside.  This drink was super refreshing!)


Next up on my day wandering around the city, a stop at the city’s Stone Arch Bridge, overlooking the old mill ruins.  The bridge was completed in 1883, but the construction isn’t all that different from the one in Regensburg.  I guess an arch is an arch.


Speaking of things that reminded me of Germany…


The famous First Avenue has been serving up fantastic live music to Minneapolis since the 1970s.  This isn’t where Information Society was playing- First Avenue instead had a sold out They Might Be Giants show going on at the same time as my show.


I’m so jealous of anyone who lives in a city with a concert hotspot like this.  The outer wall was just covered in amazing band names from previous shows.


I didn’t know who this fellow was when I snapped the photograph, but my love of random statues pushed me to learn about Sid Hartman.   He’s a local sports journalist who’s been covering Minnesota sports since 1945.  He’s 95 years old, and he hasn’t retired.


Speaking of statues, I saw this one on my way over to the comics store mentioned earlier.  I forgot to write down where it was, however, so I haven’t the foggiest idea who sculpted this or what it’s called.  It’s nice, though.

Edit: My genius art-loving girlfriend informs me that this is a Botero sculpture called “The Dancers.”  This is good to know!


My hotel room was one of the strangest hotel rooms I’ve ever seen-  when I looked behind the curtain to see what kind of window view I had from my room, I discovered that it was a separate lockable door going into a small ballroom type space.  There was a bunch of stacked up chairs, a covered bar, and an upright piano in there.    On another weekend, I might well have had a wedding reception just through that hotel room door.   Weird, huh?


On my way out of Minneapolis, I saw Aviator Snoopy and Woodstock.    I love these two, but I really don’t know why Woodstock needs tiny goggles.


Have you ever been to Minneapolis?  What did you think of the Habitrail tubes?