A view down the bridge deck of the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge. The bridge deck is a wooden deck surrounded by a truss structure that starts in light blue and then transitions into yellow.

Bridges in Minnesota: Remembering Siah Armajani

Siah Armajani (1939–2020), one of the most distinctive voices in international contemporary art, passed away on 27 August 2020. Born in Iran in 1939, Armajani moved to Minnesota in 1960 and lived there for over sixty years. His protean, experimental practice encompassed installations, public art, sculptures, and works on paper. M+ has three historic works by Armajani in the M+ Collections.

Doryun Chong, M+ Deputy Director, Curatorial and Chief Curator, spent six years in Minnesota, where he worked at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis from 2003 to 2009. Below, Chong shares his personal reflections on Armajani’s work after his passing.

Details of two separate artwork images, one depicting a video installation featuring a partly loaded image of Mao Zedong’s head, the other, an oil-on-paper painting of a red stop sign on a road surrounded by muted brown trees. The images are separated diagonally by a white line that runs across the picture.

How Did You Two Meet? Expansive Spaces Created in the Cracks

How did you two meet? is a ‘recipe’ for a public programme from the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal. The CCA invited us to put our spin on this recipe at M+. Our How did you two meet? recipe goes like this: Pick two seemingly disconnected objects in the M+ Collections, usually by juxtaposing some of the oldest and newest objects, and narrate a story that connects them.

This time, two visual art curators have accepted the challenge, exploring two works— one old, one new—by Chinese artists. Pi Li introduced a 1974 piece by the Beijing-based artist Zhang Wei, while Isabella Tam chose one created by the Shanghai-and-New York-based artist Miao Ying in 2016. Below, we share the result of this ‘meeting’.

Two images side by side. The image on the left is an ink painting on paper depicting a baby at the breast of a figure who is not portrayed. The baby reclines as if nestled in someone’s arms. Dark lines render the depiction with dark ink washes, adding depth. Fluid, light ink washes curve around the baby’s body and the breast. The image on the right is a white marble sculpture of a pelvic region with a penis, broken up just under the thigh and just above the belly button. The sculpture resembles the statue *David* by Michelangelo. A pair of beige pantyhose is tied around the sculpture, draped on top of the stomach and then going underneath and around the thigh on our left.

How Did You Two Meet? Artworks from the M+ Vaults

How did you two meet? is a ‘recipe’ for a public programme from the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal. The CCA invited us to put our spin on this recipe at M+. Our How did you two meet? recipe goes like this: Pick two seemingly disconnected objects in the M+ Collections, and narrate a story that connects them.

Like most museums, ours will not put all of our Collections on view once we open. So we challenged Lesley Ma, M+ Curator, Ink Art, to connect two of the oldest and latest works from the depths of the M+ Visual Art collection that, upon our opening, will still be stored in our vaults. Below, we share the results of this theoretical encounter.

Two images side by side. The image on the left is of an oil painting on canvas in which the entire canvas is covered in crimson paint that varies in shade. The entire surface is covered in sinuous lines created by fingers moving through the paint. The image on the right shows an artwork installed in a gallery space. The work consists of multiple digital screens combined to create one large screen. On the screen is an animated creature with a bright red, spiky, serpentine body. Small objects fall through the air and land around the creature. Two people, one of whom is holding up a smartphone, stand watching the screens.

How Did You Two Meet? Uncovering Hidden Connections Between M+’s Visual Artworks

How did you two meet? is a ‘recipe’ for a public programme from the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal. The CCA invited us to put our spin on this recipe at M+. Our How did you two meet? recipe goes like this: Pick two seemingly disconnected objects in the M+ Collections, usually by juxtaposing some of the oldest and newest objects, and narrate a story that connects them.

Pauline J. Yao, M+ Lead Curator, Visual Art, was challenged with connecting two of the oldest and newest visual artworks that will be on view when we open to the public next year. Below, we share the result of this ‘meeting’.