Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Can't Make it to Scandinavia? Minneapolis Could Be Your Solution

This week, I needed to see something new. I had heard about the American Swedish Institute briefly, over dinner, and decided to investigate. The person who recommended it said it was spectacular, so it was first on my list of things to check out in Minneapolis. I've been to the Walker a thousand times and I love Scandinavians. So there.

I arrived at the museum a bit early so I decided to check out the museum store first. The cashier was a rather attractive Swedish man (bonus!), and the shop itself was stocked with delightful items such as this mouse pad:

Translation: Holy Meatballs!! (Translated by a trustworthy Swede). And of course a bunch of contemporary faux-Swedish odds and ends that were extremely overpriced.

The admission to the museum itself, however, was quite reasonable. With my student ID (ha) it was only $4 to get into the exhibit, which was, as promised, spectacular. "Pull, Twist and Blow: Transforming the Kingdom of Crystal," exhibited contemporary glass work from eleven practicing traditional glass makers from Sweden. The first installation, Homeland by Ingalena Klenell, which was pointed out to me by the beautiful Swedish docent at the door was an ethereal glass forest that contrasted the balmy midwestern weather outside, but made me feel warm in the air conditioning nonetheless.

Homeland, Ingalena Klenell

There were also hanging glass panels with forest scenes printed onto the glass.

This particular installation reminded me a lot of an exhibit I saw in Iceland because of its clear interest in/ respect for nature. This is a common characteristic of Scandinavian countries (Reykjavik is said to be the greenest city on the planet), and it very well should be; Scandinavian countries are stupidly beautiful!

Homeland was installed in a typical white cube, but the rest of the exhibit expanded out into the Turnblad Mansion, a French-inspired but Swedish-built mansion in the city. Here are some of my favorite pieces from the show:

Hide, Matilda Kastel

A clever play on words by a non-native English speaker.

A Bottle for a Tear Helena Kagebrand

I cried, just a little.

(I forgot to write down the name aauugghh!!), Ludvig Lofgren

This exhibit just opened on Saturday and will be up until November, so I probably won't get to see any more exhibitions at the museum (although I'm told they put up Christmas decorations from the five Scandinavian countries in December, so maybe I'll have to stick around the Twin Cities), but I definitely got a healthy dose of Scandinavia today. If you need one too, there is absolutely no reason why you should not go and visit the American Swedish Institute. 

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