Press Release: Art of Democracy

From Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program


The Art of Democracy Tools of Persuasion

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts October 8–November 28, 2004


Minneapolis—The Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program presents “The Art of Democracy: Tools of Persuasion” at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Opening October 8, the exhibition is intended to stimulate freedom of expression and to serve as a venue for a multitude of opinions not only about the presidential election, but also about any issues of social or political urgency. It asks, for example, “What calls to action can make help create a better world?” Unique among MAEP exhibitions, “The Art of Democracy” provides all Minnesota artists an opportunity to consider this and other questions, and to share their views through an evolving exhibition of original artwork.

The concept for this exhibition developed through a series of conversations among members of the 2002–03 MAEP artist panel. They talked about contemporary politics and the current state of democracy in the United States. The panel decided to send an open call to Minnesota artists to create artwork for an exhibition coinciding with the 2004 presidential election. Created as political ephemera not to outlast the run of the exhibition, the artworks take the shape of lawn signs, posters, bumper stickers, T-shirts, flyers, magnets, pins, and infomercials. More than three hundred works were submitted during the first two open submission days.

New artwork will be accepted during the run of the exhibition. The submissions will be installed each week. MAEP’s artist panel hopes this exhibition, and its continuing submission and installation process, enlivens the discourse surrounding political issues, and ignites new awareness and relationships. To learn more about how to participate call the MAEP office at (612) 870–3125 or visit online at www.artsmia.org/art-of-democracy/.

An online public forum can be found at www.livejournal.com/community/triablog. Sponsored by the Visual Arts Critics Union of Minnesota (VACUM) in collaboration with MAEP, this “Tria-Blog” provides an opportunity for artists, critics, and the public to comment on issues raised by “The Art of Democracy” exhibition. The site will present four online, real-time discussions involving guest panelists, interviewees, and political and visual arts commentators. Please visit the forum Web site for event schedule updates. This effort is an extension of the MAEP and VACUM “Trialogue” discussion series.

“The Art of Democracy” is produced and presented by the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program (MAEP), an artist-managed curatorial department of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and is made possible by generous support from the Jerome Foundation.