The Twin Cities are filled with art museums, and there is a lot more happening inside than you might think. If you’ve ever wished you had studied art in college, if you’re curious to see what’s out there, or if you just want to try something different for an evening outing than the standard movie night, check out a lecture or class at a local museum.
A Minneapolis Institute of Arts lecture has a college lecture feel, except the seats are more comfortable and the crowd is a little older. At a lecture I recently attended on Alexander Roslin, an 18th-century Swedish portrait painter, I noted that the crowd was mostly made up of men and women over 40, with an added mix of younger students and art lovers and, of course, the usual semi-crazy lady who likes to make comments during the presentation.
The lecture went a little quickly, taking 40 minutes instead of the scheduled 60, but the presenter, Dr. Magnus Olausson, spoke with authority and humor. Olausson’s heavy Swedish accent took a few minutes to adjust to, but it added a certain zest to the lecture. Dr. Olausson is Director of Royal Castle Collections at the Swedish National Portrait Gallery in Stockholm, and curator for a Roslin exhibit at the National Museum in Stockholm and at Versailles, which explains his knack for mingling French phrases into his presentation. Afterwards I heard one woman exclaim to a friend, “He was worth the whole lecture series!”
Portrait paintings, the Mona Lisa aside, are not usually show-stoppers, but Olausson’s lecture shone new insight on what was happening in society at the time the works were painted. Learning the story—and, sometimes, the scandal—behind the paintings gave me a new appreciation for the paintings. After the lecture was a great time to wander the museum and revisit the collection. When you learn more about the art on display, you’ll find yourself lingering longer over the many masterpieces to be found in Twin Cities museums.
|Art museum lectures, classes, workshops, and more
Curator Talk: Doryun Chong on Tetsumi Kudo
Teacher Workshop: Eero Saarinen—Teaching by Design
Art & Archaeology Lecture: Before the Valley of the Kings: Egypt’s Last Royal Pyramids
Lecture: How to Collect for Supper With Lynne Rossetto Kasper, food & antiques expert
Lecture: The Reflective Lens: Contemporary Indian Photography and Video Art
Lecture: The End of Photography: Meditations on the Birth, Death and Meaning of a Medium
Friends Lecture: Focusing on Photography: Through the Lens of Curator Ted Hartwell (1933-2007)
Lecture: New Pots for Old Clothes: The Intricacies of Textile Collecting in India
Lecture: Art Dialogue—Museums and Art Collections
Lecture: How Many Words? The History, Theory, and Implications of the So-Called Work/Image Dichotomy
Melissa Slachetka is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Minneapolis and contributes regularly to the Daily Planet.