“Meet the Schoenherrs: This Woodbury, Minn., family has been selected as hosts for Fritz Haeg’s 15th and final Edible Estate, a project that transforms suburban front lawns into abundant organic vegetable gardens. Challenging the symbolism of the display yard, Edible Estates “questions the essence of what the American Dream is,” says Haeg. “Ultimately, the project is really way beyond lawn and way beyond food and gardens and the environment. It penetrates to the core of ‘How do you want to live?’”
After discussing his assembled materials—a primed canvas, oil paint mixed with turpentine, a size-3 flat hog-bristle brush—the video’s instructor begins: “The technique to this painting is to incorporate the sound of screams into the brush strokes.” Dressed in a pressed gray dress shirt and pleated pants, he explains to the camera, “A brush stroke done with screaming is very different from a normal one. … The effect of the screams is recorded with the brush strokes.” He then dips his brush in a dab of lemon yellow paint, leans into the canvas, and lets out an anguished wail as he makes his first stroke: “Aaaaaaaaagh!”
“My work has been about negative space, in some respects: The overlooked, the void, emptiness,” said artist Mungo Thomson during a September visit to Minneapolis. “I had this idea to take that literally and make negative images of outer space.”
The result is the Walker’s new acquisition, the 93-foot-long mural Negative Space, recently installed outside the Vineland Place entrance. The piece reflects Thomson’s interest in what he calls “the dumb idea”–something simple blown up to grand proportions. In this case, he found a public domain photo taken by NASA’s Hubble telescope and using a basic Photoshop command inverted it. “Just click Apple-I,” he said of the work that’ll be on view for the next six months. “It takes two fingers.”
Warhol walked a tightrope over the gorge of frigid documentation, but his selection of background colors and balancing of negative space saved him from falling. The background color became a kind of beautiful screen, mitigating the harshness of the subject matter, transforming the images into dreamlike visions rather than documents. Whether motivated by cynicism or some mysterious philosophical bent, Warhol grasped the possibility that history and its tragedy are nothing but wallpaper for our identities and souls.