Weisman houses contemporary art, offers student activities

Liz Kohman

It’s been called an exploding silver artichoke, a UFO crash and a tin can.

But it’s only the Weisman Art Museum, a large metallic building on the East Bank between Coffman Union and the Mississippi River.

“It’s become a landmark of the Twin Cities and a landmark of the University,” said Karen Casanova, Weisman public relations coordinator. “Hopefully it has some magnetic principles that draw people to it.”

The Weisman seems to pour into the river and is as much a piece of art as anything it holds. It’s in its best light when the sun sets and the silver metal reflects orange and red, putting on a show for pedestrians on the Washington Avenue bridge.

The Weisman houses a permanent collection of contemporary art, including works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol, and it also has two galleries with exhibitions that change three to four times per year.

Admission to the Weisman is free for students and community members Tuesday through Sunday.

“We want students to feel comfortable and welcome in the museum,” Casanova said. She added the museum is available for students as a place to study.

The Weisman also hosts many activities for students, including dances, performances, lectures and an art rental program.

The art rental program allows students and faculty members of the University to rent art from the Weisman’s permanent collection for a semester.

Students can also get involved with the museum by volunteering as tour guides. Tour guides attend six months of training and learn about American art.

The museum was founded in 1934, but the art collection has only inhabited the silvery sculpture building since 1993. It’s named after Frederick R. Weisman, a philanthropist and entrepreneur who gave $3.5 million to build the museum and donated $1 million worth of contemporary art.

The building was designed by Frank Gehry, who also designed the Guggenheim art museum in Bilboa, Spain.

For more information on Weisman Art Museum activities, students can check the museum’s Web site at www.weisman.umn.edu.

 

Liz Kohman welcomes comments at [email protected]