MCAD houses diverse exhibit

The gallery displays four of Minneapolis’ best veteran artists in its annual sought-after McKnight Fellowship showcase

Mark Brenden

McKnight Visual Artists Fellowship Exhibition WHO: Michael Kareken, Aldo Moroni, Carolyn Swiszcz and Piotr Szyhalski WHERE: Minneapolis College of Art and Design WHEN: July 9 – August 13; Opening reception July 9, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. COST: Free When you hear that an art college is going to put on a show displaying what four distinguished artists have done with a year-long grant, it wouldnâÄôt be remiss to anticipate an indulgent room of mirrors in which old art professors unabashedly toot their own esoteric horns. The McKnight Artist Fellowships program, hosted by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, on the other hand, will not be the aforementioned ego-fest for a couple reasons. One, because the prestigious grant drives one of the most grueling selection processes of its kind, plowing through nearly 240 applicants and arriving at four. Two, because the four selected artists are good âĦ really good. Aldo Moroni , an artistic veteran of the Minneapolis scene and a 1976 MCAD graduate, does not abide by the age-old adage that Rome wasnâÄôt built in a day. In his piece, he will be working from 10 a.m. to noon throughout the exhibitâÄôs tenure, building a fantastically detailed mini-empire comprised of Styrofoam mountains, moss grasslands and detailed clay landscapes à la traditional Chinese landscape paintings. Then, at the end of the day, a hard rain a-falls (by way of a scantily hidden hose) and destroys MoroniâÄôs hard dayâÄôs work. âÄúItâÄôs has to do with our vanity and our nonchalant attitude toward this restricted, limited planet,âÄù Moroni said. âÄú[The piece] is my struggle against the material. ItâÄôs my struggle against my own ego and itâÄôs my way of imposing myself on a landscape,âÄù he added. Michael Kareken teaches full-time at MCAD, but took a year-long sabbatical to focus on junk. ThatâÄôs artistic junk. KarekenâÄôs drawings and paintings feature intriguing masses of broken glass, scrap metal and cardboard from various recycling plants in the Twin Cities area. âÄú[The waste] on one level is obviously incredibly disgusting, but I also find a lot of beauty in it on many different levels. So the paintings are trying to find that balance between the disgusting nature of it, the decay of it, the chaos of it and the beauty that I find in it too,âÄù Kareken said. Piotr SzyhalskiâÄôs multimedia exhibition is the newest installment of his Labor Camp project, a complex and ongoing look at history, sound and time and how the three are related. Carolyn SwiszczâÄôs piece is a hodgepodge of paintings and videos in which urban landscapes and melancholy themes take the forefront. Even though the exhibit is a collection of work by older, established artists, Kareken said that its timeless subject matter and the quality therein should interest college students. âÄúThe work is, in every case, engaged in the dialogue of contemporary issues in society,âÄù he said. âÄúI think students will find the ideas in the work really interesting and exciting.âÄù