Walker Collection (The Remix)

The Walker Art Center digs into its reserve to showcase Lorna Simpson and the best of 1964.

“LOOK!” by Joe Tilson is part of the Walker’s collection of art from 1964. PHOTO COURTESY WALKER ART CENTER/JOE TILSON

“LOOK!” by Joe Tilson is part of the Walker’s collection of art from 1964. PHOTO COURTESY WALKER ART CENTER/JOE TILSON

John Sand

WHERE: Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave. TICKETS: $6 Students Sorting through the WalkerâÄôs collection of works like a college grad would sort through a box of old love letters and fortunes from Chinese cookies, Exhibition Curator Siri Engberg developed the latest exhibition at The Walker Art Center. The exhibit dug into The WalkerâÄôs collection of acquired work in order to display gems that have remained dormant too long. âÄúRecollection: Lorna SimpsonâÄù WHEN: Mar. 25 âÄì July 18 Stereotypes of women of color have pervaded popular cultural consciousness for centuries, from blaxploitation films to âÄúThe Real World.âÄù Artist Lorna Simpson has spent most of her career unpacking these stereotypes, theoretically and visually. The WalkerâÄôs brief retrospective stretches from remnants of her early career to a recently purchased work. The first photograph diptych purchased by the Walker, âÄúQueensize,âÄù shows a disembodied portrait consisting of a photograph of the back of a wooden tribal mask and a barely visible shot of a woman in a dark dress from the waist down. Engberg said her work has come to represent the erasure of the female black identity, and the way that current culture leaves no place for personality among pervasive stereotypes. The disembodiment of people continues in work like âÄúWigs (a Portfolio), âÄú a sweeping look at wig photography printed on thick felt punctuated by rectangles of text. Phrases like âÄúShe dressed them as twins /sometimes male /sometimes femaleâÄù explore disguise and deception associated with wigs and weaves. Although SimpsonâÄôs work pushes the traditional use of the camera in art, Engberg explained that Simpson âÄúuses conceptual photography as a point of departure.âÄù Simpson frequently works with photo mosaics. âÄúPlease Remind Me Who I AmâÄù mashes together vintage anonymous photo booth pictures of black women with watery inkblots that look like hair from far away. By reducing women to their physical components, Simpson questions what exactly makes up âÄúidentity.âÄù âÄú1964âÄù WHEN: Mar. 25 âÄì Oct. 24 Back in 1964, cultural and artistic upheaval abounded as the Beatles released âÄúA Hard DayâÄôs Night,âÄù racial unrest peaked, the Vietnam War raged on and President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Artists of the early 1960s âÄúwere exploring new artistic impulses,âÄù said Engberg, âÄúand sending their tendrils out in a number of different directions.âÄù Sculpture, electricity, video, sound, visual and verbal art all began to coalesce in ways that hadnâÄôt been previously attempted. The lineup of this show is astoundingly impressive. From a pop-art exploding sculpture by Lichtenstein to a set of Neo-Dada Fluxus artists who dealt with emerging technology, every major movement from the early 1960s is represented. One of the most exciting pieces is a newly acquired George Segal sculpture featuring a plaster janitor cleaning the floor with a mop that appears to be coated in tar. âÄú[Segal] explored the cultural [atmosphere] and incorporated found objects to create a kind of mise-en-scène,âÄù Engberg said. The work is a haunting critique of the erasure of the working class in America. Famous work by color-field minimalist Ellsworth Kelly, iconic Warhol sculptures and Yoko OnoâÄôs brief surveys about the experience of drawing a circle lay scattered about the gallery. Free love inspired plenty of art, and now, along with many other works, theyâÄôve come out of the basement.