By Mpls.St.Paul Magazine / Inspired by Jim Denomie's My North
Annishanabe artist Jim Denomie lives in the small city of Shafer, just down the road from the fantastical Franconia Sculpture Park. And while he’s a proud donor to the park, it remains one of the few places in the state that the painter hasn’t yet hosted an exhibition. But Franconia notwithstanding, Denomie’s art shows are so prolific that you can take a pretty incredible Minnesota road trip just by hitting the galleries and museums where he’s been part of an exhibition. Here are five such places worth a visit.
Overlooking the east bank of the Mississippi River, the Weisman Art Museum is instantly recognizable by its iconic, stainless steel Frank Gehry design. But the Weisman’s stunning architecture isn’t the only art on display: its permanent collection includes over 25,000 artworks, ranging from American modernism to Korean furniture. In 2001, Jim Denomie was part of a group show at the Weisman titled Minnesota Art with a Twist, and the museum is lucky enough to own some Denomie pieces in its permanent collection, too.
The North Country Museum of Art in Park Rapids (now called the Nemeth Art Center after supporters Gabor and Edith Nemeth) has since been a touchstone of the northern Minnesota arts scene since opening in 1977. Housed in the upstairs of the Historic Hubbard County Courthouse, the museum’s centerpiece is its permanent collection of 42 European paintings spanning six centuries! It also features a rotating stable of seasonal and one-off exhibitions, including Denomie’s 2016 show.
Formed in 1897, Duluth Art Institute is one of the longest-standing arts institutions in the state, and is every bit as vital to Minnesota’s art scene as Mia or the Walker Art Center. Located in charming downtown Duluth, its three galleries, arts learning lab, fiber arts studio, darkroom and ceramics studio are all open for public use and education. Denomie’s exhibition there was in 2000, Transitions: Paintings and Drawings by Jim Denomie, and its next crop includes Window to the West: Nik Nerbun and Brad Tollefson, which runs Sept. 7-Nov. 12.
The Rochester Art Center is the arts and cultural hub of southeastern Minnesota, founded in 1946 with the express purpose of helping bring the city’s cultural scene up to the same standard as the “scientific achievement” of the Mayo Clinic. Denomie’s paintings graced a small percentage of RAC’s 36,000 square feet as part of the Winter/Spring 2017 exhibition, Andy Warhol - Minnesota Goes Pop. Current exhibits include Post Picturesque: Photographing Ireland.
Denomie’s defacto home turf is the understated Bockley Gallery, which started in 1985 in the Warehouse District before moving to its current Kenwood digs in 2005. The one-exhibition-at-a-time gallery has featured local, national and international artists over its 30-plus years, including five solo shows by Denomie—the most recent of which was Oz, the Emergence. The Bockey’s next, non-Jim Denomie show is Edgar Heap of Birds, running Sept. 8-Oct. 15.