This blog exists to inspire people to seek out all the great art that lives in and around the Minneapolis skyway.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Art underfoot - Minneapolis manhole covers

This original 1984 Art in Public Places project featured manhole covers designed by eleven different artists. Lining 6th and 7th Streets between Nicollet Mall and Hennepin Avenue, the manholes were meant to celebrate the entertainment options in the city.

According to the City of Minneapolis website, it is the most asked about public art in town (along with the 1990 Kate Burke manholes on Nicollet which are fabulous and can be seen here). There are two ironies related directly to that fact.

1. Whether in line for the bus, setting patio tables at Forum, or simply pounding the pavement, people fail to notice these gems on 6th and 7th street every day.

2. The City has taken down the original documentation about the artists and their work from its website. All that remains is a picture of all 11 manhole covers (here and click Eleven artists at the bottom of the page).  

An archival search uncovered this old brochure with missing photos of some of the covers, and a link to the original description of the artist selection process. It was a statewide juried contest that decided which designs ended up cast in brass.

This posting has photos of just a few of the lovelies, which definitely beg to be seen on the street and underfoot in their full metal finery. Leave the protection of the skyway and enjoy treading lightly on the eleven manholes on a cool summer day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dream Weaver - The Multifoods Tower

The colorful tapestries in the Multifoods Tower break up the otherwise austere entry to 33 South Sixth Street. The building is managed by Brookfield Properties, who own the four wall hangings. The New York firm Iu + Bibliwicz Architects commissioned the work as part of the redo of the lobby and elevator areas of the building, which succeeded at making the street level entrance more accessible and modern.

The tapestries themselves are custom made by a company called Sam Kasten Handweaver. Their projects are all handwoven (hence the name) and this one is 'CW Cotton and Linen' per the company. The fact that these are textiles and not paintings give them great texture and motion. The yellow ones live in the entryway and the tan works are on the other side of the elevator bank leading into the center of the building. 

The security guard in the lobby told me he liked the tapestries but wished there was something else to go along with them. The granite walls and floors are amazing, as is the curved aluminum leaf ceiling. But maybe he has a point...