VISUAL ARTS | Croatian-Minnesotan artist Vesna Kittelson pushes the boundaries of portraiture to promote intercultural understanding

Vesna Kittelson paints bright, bold, optimistic portraits that defy the traditional rules of portraiture, but despite the cheer in her paintings, she has insights into the dark side of human nature generally and the dark side of immigration in the United States more specifically. Her view of immigration is not only dark, though—it is also lively and cheerful, as one can see in her Young Americans series of paintings, which appropriately includes the confident faces of ethnicities from all over the world. Her work is on display at Form + Content gallery along with sculpture that, in contrast with the bright color of her images, expresses her vision of a chaotic world.Vesna has her studio in the warehouse district of Minneapolis, but grew up in Split, Croatia, an ancient city on the Dalmation Coast that is the home of a splendorous Roman emperor’s palace. She says that she was unconsciously influenced by the art fragments all around her in her childhood. She loves the idea of fragments—as a girl she ate ice cream sitting on ancient Roman pillars, and through those pillars she felt she could enter another world—she sees her pieces as fragments that allow a viewer to enter their imagination.In her spacious studio in a North Loop warehouse, Vesna spoke about her new work and its personal significance. Continue Reading

Borough: a cure for the jaded palate

I can’t say that I was really looking forward to the arrival of Burough and Parlour, the new restaurant and cocktail bar In the North Loop, with very much enthusiasm. Maybe I am just getting jaded, or bored, but it seems like every week, some new hipster hangout opens up somewhere in Minneapolis (why so seldom in St. Paul?), and they mostly seem to follow a familiar formula – they all have a big selection of craft beers, and they all have something with pork belly on the menu, and small plates at what used to be big plate prices, and signature cocktails prepared by a celebrity bartender.  And they are mostly crowded and noisy.Okay, maybe I exaggerate. They don’t all have celebrity bartenders. Continue Reading