T Kakelugnar: Tile Stoves
his is the sort of “what the heck?” exhibition that proves to be far more fascinating than initially expected. The American Swedish Institute is located in the former mansion of newspaper publisher Swan J. Turnblad, a 1904 giant currently filled with remnants of the Twin Cities’ huge Swedish population (to outsiders, Minnesotans still sound as though they had only recently moved to America from Sweden, as the film Fargo took such great pains to point out). The greatest oddity of the museum, however, is the buildings 11 tile stoves, called kakelugnar. These masterpieces of efficient design routed heat from the ovens into masonry tiles, which then heated the house. It is an elegant mixture of form and function: The stoves are so durned pretty, in fact, that tile artist Nancy Froseth created a number of miniature versions of the stoves, which are also on display at the museum, causing the exhibit to take on a curious have-I-suddenly-turned-into-a-giant-like-in-Alice-in-Wonderland quality. If you find a piece of cake on the stoves with an attached note reading “eat me” – don’t. You might never return to your original size. Every Tuesday-Sunday through Jan. 12, 2003 at The American Swedish Institute: 2600 Park Ave., Mpls.; (612) 871-4907.