Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Minneapolis, MN

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.


  1. Lovely!

    S looks like a little doll. And I looove the tiny, beautiful buttons down the sides of the bride's dress. I love simple, amazing surprises like that.

  2. Sounds like a great day! All those dresses are beautiful! I love the bride's dress and your daughters!

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to the Twin Cities! It was a lovely weekend for a wedding.

  4. You forgot to mention that you designed and made the necklace the bride wore! It was the perfect addition.

    Also I always loved the "My Egypt" piece, even before I moved to Mpls, which maybe explains why I love the mills and grain elevators!

  5. Ugh- this post was such a tease! I live in Mpls and when I saw the title I thought that you might be doing an appearance/class out here! Late May can be risky for wedding weather in Mpls- your sister was lucky to have a gorgeous weekend!

  6. Anonymous9:35 PM

    gorgeous weekend for a wedding. the third photo from the top is about a mile from my house. hope your enjoyed your weekend in the mill city!

  7. I've been to the cherry in the spoon too!

  8. What a beautiful place for a wedding! And who knew about the flour mills? Cool pictures...

  9. So, I'm pretty sure I've never laid comment on your sweet blog. But, I had to pipe in.

    Yea for MN. That's where we are. And my husband and I spent our college years in the Twin Cities. Loved that place.

    Your wedding looks like it was grand. Kinda like Grand Ave. But I bet you didn't visit there. Maybe you did. Did you?


  10. Enjoyed reading your post about Minneapolis. I lived there for 10 years and my heart aches for it now and then. Thanks!