The weather outside is icy, but make it safely to one or all of these art spaces and you'll be glad you braved the cold. From documentary photos of diverse communities to an exhibition honoring Twin Cities art community giant Bill Cottman, there's more to see than just snow outside your window. Here are four shows worth the trek.
'Locally Grown: Documentary Photography of Minnesota Communities'
In this surprisingly delightful show nestled in a back gallery at the Weisman Art Museum, curatorial fellow Ashley Cope (O'Brien Curatorial Fellow 2019-2020) organized work by six Minnesota documentary photographers. David L. Parker's 1998 black-and-white photograph captures a young Hmong woman at a market. Tom Arndt's photos of the 1983 Rondo Fest captures the thriving Black community that was displaced in the late 1950s during the construction of Interstate 94. Joseph Allen's portrait of Clyde Bellecourt standing in front of the American Indian Movement's sign illuminates the civil rights leader and activist. In Laura Migliorino's print on canvas "Silverod Street #1," 2008, she overlays a portrait of a biracial family standing on a suburban home porch atop a rural landscape, making one wonder what the land was like before these houses existed. The show offers an up-close view of the communities that make Minnesota flourish. (Ends April 23. 333 East River Pkwy., Mpls. Free. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wed., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thu.-Fri., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 612-625-9494 or wam.umn.edu)
Miles Mendenhall: 'Flowers'
How many ways can one look at a lily, the flower most deadly to domestic cats? Artist Miles Mendenhall's show, "Flowers" at TOA Presents, includes 22 works, most with the same closeup photo he took of a lily, washed in various colors through a special gelatin-based process he created. The images feel part print, part early photo process. Color is poured over the lily image, and the process is reminiscent of tie-dye. Although the images of lilies become rather repetitive, and at points it seems like the artist is just experimenting with process, it's pleasant to see this burst of color during snowy times. (Ends Feb. 17. 655 19th Av. NE., Suite 104, Mpls. Free. Hours vary. 773-844-2769 or theorangeadvisory.com)
Moira Bateman: 'Bog Etudes'
Artist Moira Bateman's solo exhibition at Form + Content Gallery is more complex than it seems. A series of hanging rectangular strips of peace silk, thread, wax, bog mud and mud dye looks like debris. It's called "Bog Etude No. 1." On a wall is "Bog Etude No. 2," an even more shredded piece of peace silk with the same ingredients. In contrast, "Bog Etude No. 3" appears more like a piece of canvas with a slit through the middle. Bateman, a textile earth artist who is also a 2022 McKnight Fiber Arts Fellow, creates assemblages from waxed silk, strained with waterway sediments from Minnesota's lakes, rivers and bogs. Unlike the massive land art of the 1960s and '70s, like Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty," Bateman's work comes across as a collaboration with that which already exists. The result is objects as fragile as Earth itself. (Ends Feb. 11. 210 N. 2nd St., Suite #104, Mpls. Free. Noon-6 p.m. Thu.-Sat. 612-436-1151 or formandcontent.org)
Bill Cottman: "I Am Here"
The Twin Cities art community suffered a major loss in December 2021, when longtime artist Bill Cottman unexpectedly died at age 77. A year later, Homewood Studios presents an exhibition of his life and work curated by Seitu Jones, George Slade, Davu Seru, Miko Simmons and his wife, Beverly Cottman. A renaissance man of sorts, Cottman had hosted KFAI's "Mostly Jazz" since the mid-1990s. He was a photographer, writer and projectionist with endless curiosity about the world around him. This exhibition includes photos of family and community, videos of projections from live performances at Pillsbury House Theatre and Intermedia Arts, and published writings. In his book "Presence," the following haiku he wrote haunts the present: "when the fear of death no longer determines my living; life begins." (Ends Jan 31. 2400 Plymouth Av. N., Mpls. Free. 5-9 p.m. Tue., 1-6 p.m. Wed. and Fri., 1-4 p.m. Sat. homewoodstudios.com or 612-587-0230)