Meanwhile, Back at the Walker…


It was my last morning in Minneapolis – and the weather had reverted to the dismal trappings of the winter. Cold, brisk air rushed along on cutting winds, and the sky – so recently blue and filled with the sun – had turned gray, revealing not one clue as to the whereabouts of the central orb of our solar system. Faced with the prospect of an entire day to fill before my flight boarded, I stored my luggage and made the journey to the Walker Arts Center. There were happy memories there.

The walk back was decidedly less colorful than the one through the sculpture garden a few short days prior. While the land had been just as brown and barren then, there had at least been a very blue sky, and a shimmering sun, both of which eluded me now. The day felt like winter – a rather disappointing dirge at this stage of April – and an aspect of sadness on this day of departure could not be shaken.

But there was color, even – and perhaps especially – in the gift shop. For some reason, photos culled from museum shops always turn out better than the actual photos of what’s in the museum itself. Part of it is due to accessibility and the nearness of the objects at hand. No one cares, or minds, if you touch and grope what’s in the gift shop. Such is not the case with those velvet-rope scenes.

Part of it is also due to the nature of the art on display. It really is meant to be seen in person. That’s the only way to accurately gauge the scale and color of a painting, or the shadows and light of a sculpture. When captured in a photograph, a little, and often a lot, is lost – as if the real artwork would never deign to be displayed any other way than its creator intended. For that reason, I don’t tend to post all the photos I take of the works that move me.

The whimsical inhabitants of a gift shop are another story. Their displays cry out to be photographed, sassy little show-peeps begging to be noticed. For that reason alone, I usually indulge them. Often the objects will relate to the featured exhibits or artists, but sometimes they stand alone.

Waving goodbye to the Walker Arts Center, I pause in its doorway as they leave a happy last-look.

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