VISUAL ARTS | “A Shot in the Dark” showcases new acquisitions at the Walker Art Center


After seeing From Here to There, I made my way up to the Walker’s Medtronic Gallery to take a look at A Shot in the Dark, a small exhibit that opened last month and will be on display through March. It’s an attractive and punchy exhibit highlighting recently acquired work, and it’s probably best not to think too hard about the into-the-mystic connective tissue purportedly holding it all together. (According to the Walker’s website, “together [the] works ponder presence and absence, the body and its traces, and the hidden workings of the mind, as well as the unseen and sometimes mysterious energies that permeate everyday life.”)

Though the exhibit doesn’t come together with the force of The Quick and the Dead, at its best it inspires the same kind of uneasy contemplation of time and mortality. Curator Eric Crosby has arranged the pieces very well; the show grabs visitors and draws them in. You’re greeted by Rivane Neuenschwander’s An Inventory of Small Deaths (Blow)—a dreamy loop of grainy film tracking an itinerant, magically deathless soap bubble—and Meg Webster’s lush Moss Bed, Queen. Turning the corner, you encounter a wall-size projection of Mircea Cantor’s film Deeparture, in which a wolf and deer share a blank white room, suspended in weirdly peaceful coexistence like a cross between Animal Planet and the hotel-room scene in 2001.

Proceeding deeper into the gallery, you pass mysterious (Sigmar Polke’s Apparatus Whereby One Potato Can Orbit Another) and richly textured (Agostino Bonalumi’s stretched-canvas Dark Grey, Lez Deschenes’s mirrored metal Tilt/Swing #4B) pieces as you advance to a showdown with Robert Breer’s creepy Rug—a sheet of silver plastic that crinkles menacingly as an unseen mechanism agitates it from below. It would drive your cat crazy, and it might just haunt your dreams.