Crush Collision:Press Release

From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program

CRUSH COLLISION: A NEW INSTALLATION BY CHRIS LARSON
October 27, 2006

Media Contacts Tammy Pleshek, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (612) 870-3171; tpleshek@artsmia.org Lynette Nyman, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (612) 870-3173; lnyman@artsmia.org Anne-Marie Wagener, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, (612) 870-3280; awagener@artsmia.org

Print-quality Images Available Online: http://www.artsmia.org/press


Crush Collision: A New Installation by Chris Larson

On view November 17, 2006 to January 7, 2007 at the MIA

Minneapolis, October 23, 2006—The Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP) present the most recent installation by up-and-coming Minnesota artist Chris Larson. Accomplished in a number of different artistic disciplines, Larson is best-known best for his elaborate large-scale wooden sculptures. An impressive 16-by-14 foot, two-story cardboard house is featured in the exhibition. The house was the setting for his fourth film, Crush Collision, which is also on view. Opening November 17, 2006, the exhibition runs through January 7, 2007.

Larson was born in 1966 in rural Minnesota. Today his sculptures are collected and recognized around the world. His 2004 sculpture, Pause (The Dukes of Hazard ’69 Charger and Ted Kaczynski’s Montana Refuge), was recently purchased by Ruth and William True of Seattle— named one of the world’s top 200 collectors in ArtNews Summer 2006 issue. Crush Collision also garnered international attention when it was exhibited at Magnus Miller in Berlin earlier this year.

Larson drew inspiration for his exhibition from ragtime composer Scott Joplin’s song “The Great Crush Collision.” Joplin wrote the song after attending a historic media event on September 15, 1896 in which a collision took place between two 32-ton locomotives in the town of Crush, Texas. The staged crash represented the clash of two cultures—the North and the South. It thrilled spectators as they watched the latest technology and economic power explode into a ball of flame and twisted metal. In this exhibition, Larson’s conceptual “collisions” present a conversation between different and similar worlds where people, ideals, politics, and art are constantly colliding. This concept is best reflected in Larson’s most recent sculpture, a wooden house of similar proportions to the cardboard house, is found lying on its side in an adjacent gallery. Painted flat black, the toppled house represents the aftermath of a collision rather than a literal collision.

At the center of the exhibition is Larson’s film, Crush Collision. Produced by Jason Spafford with sound design by Alex Oana, the twelve-minute film is a complex examination of the dualities of human existence. Set in a house floating on water, the film features musician Grant Hart (formerly of the bands Hüsker Dü and Nova Mob), performance artist Britta Hallin, local percussionist Michael Bland (formerly with Prince and The New Power Generation and Soul Asylum), and Minneapolis gospel quartet, the Knight Family. The film traces two story lines from different times running parallel in the same location. The first story follows Hart and Hallin as they toil on an elaborate, archaic-looking machine that endlessly creates a circle of clay. The other finds Hart on the house’s upper level while the Knight family says grace and sings below him. The film is a meditative study of both dark and light, and of the physical and spiritual.

Through film and sculpture, Larson tells strange and fantastic stories. He creates the essence of a time and place within these stories by incorporating sight, sound, and smell. From the earthy smell of the wood used in his sculptures; to the sharp, sometimes dangerous-looking parts of the machines; to the dark, moody soundtracks of his films, his installations are an assault on the viewers’ senses.

Free public events include an opening reception on Thursday, November 16, an artist’s talk on November 30, at 7 p.m., and a critics’ trialogue with Kris Douglas on December 7, at 7 p.m.

About the Minneapolis Institute of Arts The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA), home to one of the finest encyclopedic art collections inthe country, houses nearly 100,000 works of art representing more than 5,000 years of world history. Highlights of the permanent collection include European masterworks by Rembrandt, Poussin, and van Gogh; modern and contemporary paintings and sculpture by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Stella, and Close; as well as internationally significant collections of decorative arts, Modernist design, photographs, and Asian, African, and Native American art. General admission is always free. Some special exhibitions have a nominal admission fee. Museum hours: Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Closed Monday. For additional information, call (612) 870-3131 or visit www.artsmia.org.