You wouldn't suspect it from a glance at the map, but Minneapolis, MN, was once the flour mill capital of the world. Geographically, it doesn't seem like this would make sense. But because St. Anthony Falls, located near downtown Minneapolis, is the only natural waterfall along the northern portion of the Mississippi River, it was an ideal arrangement for providing the hydropower necessary for the flour mills. Those mills produced most of the flour for our country until electricity enabled flour mills to be located anywhere they were needed.
This history would explain the preponderance of grain elevators that we saw from the light rail on our way from the airport to our hotel last Friday. The grain elevators themselves reminded me of Charles Demuth's painting, My Egypt, at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Todd and Tsia frequently discuss the "rays of force," which is what Demuth called those lines that criss-cross his work. I kept mistaking the power lines along the road for rays of force when we passed the buildings.
Speaking of art, Minneapolis boasts the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a terrific collection of modern and contemporary art located in the downtown area. Probably the most photographed work in the joint collection is Spoonbridge and Cherry, the Claes Oldenburg piece located in the sculpture garden.
We, however, mostly enjoyed James Turrell's Sky Pesher, an underground bunker set into the hill directly behind the museum. The room is arranged with stone benches set around the perimeter of the room. When you sit on the benches, you can look up through a large hole cut into the ceiling of the room to view the sky. Optimal viewing is near sunset, when the sky begins to deepen and you lose all sense of depth. It's a terrific experience, particularly when the sky is perfectly clear and cloudless like it was last Sunday evening. (The sky cleared completely a few hours after I took this photo.)
Now Todd and I have been known to take off for a weekend to view art in unexpected locations, but it wasn't specifically the art that drew us to Minneapolis this weekend. Sky Pesher and the Walker Art Center merely acted as a backdrop for the real draw: my sister's wedding.
Adrienne and Justin invited their families and a small group of close friends to join them inside Turrell's Sky Pesher to witness their vows before we all headed to a nearby restaurant for drinks (Tsia mis-heard the bartender and called her fruity concoction a "kitty cat tail") and dinner.
After which, a few guests returned to Sky Pesher to watch the sky turn to black and drop down into the room while the rest of us went bowling.
My kind of wedding.