Monday, November 28, 2011

New Mural at Plymouth and Washington!

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

Many NoMi-ites have watched a mural slowly make its way across the north end of the building off the northwest corner of Plymouth Ave N and Washington Ave N.  If anyone has more information about the mural or the artist, please share.  For now, at least it's better than what you see when you turn north coming off the freeway exit.

More pictures after the jump...


  1. Oh Great!

    Another monument to poverty and despair like the Black Nanny feeding a baby with a gas hose planters along Broadway and the "We can't get along" signage at city parks and community gardens.

    Why don't we just get more to the point with our community messaging. After all, people aren't stupid. They know what these condescending messages mean.

    This Mural could say "Yes, the community is a shambles and people get killed here and we all know it! We are so ignorant that we are proud of this and we let some moron deface a brick wall to tell everybody!"

    Our lawn signs can say "We know the police won't catch you - But we are going to call anyhow!"

    Our Street banners can say "There's a lot of ethnic groups here and they don't get along. You may not fit in."

    We want to make sure that all our youth know exactly what kind of a hopeless situation they are in and quell any aspirations they may have for trying harder so the parks should all have messages like "Your a loser. Don't even try to get ahead because we expect you'll fail like everybody else around here."

  2. I don't see this as a monument to poverty and despair, anon 11:57. The work is abstract enough to be open to interpretation. While I might not have chosen this particular aesthetic, I'm glad to see someone creating some visual variety along this corridor.

    Granted, I know I'm in the minority here as someone who actually REALLY LIKED the Kemps' mural of the cows and UFO's. But I prefer that kind of visible creativity over blocks and blocks of drab industrial buildings. And since different people have different artistic tastes (and people who like Nickelback have no taste whatsoever), I'm less concerned about the particulars.

    I also disagree with just about everything else you said there, but have no desire to go point-by-point.

    Finally, while I'm glad you seem to know the difference between "loser" and "looser," the correct way to say that last sentence is "YOU'RE a loser."

  3. Well, I don't know what you see.

    But I see a naked emaciated woman lying with her head buried in pain or despair, blood(?) streaking from where here toes were dragged across the pavement from some violent indecent (most likely gunshots) further down the wall.

    And that is exactly what all the peeps your would like to see invest in Hawthorne housing stock will see. Good Luck interpreting this to potential homesteaders - if they stop to ask!

  4. I agree it is rather abstract, but also agree that the overall feel of it is something that has to do with woundedness and despair. I much prefer the new mural on the side of the 4th St. Saloon. Not to say that all art should be sunshine and roses, but when we live in an environment where there is constant reminder of despair, it is nice to see art used to lift up, inspire, and remind us of what is good. That said, I probably would still take this over a completely blank, industrial, concrete block wall. At least if nothing else it signifies there is art going on in the community.

    I was not a fan of the crazy cows mural on Kemps. It wasn't that it wasn't my aesthetic (which it wasn't), but it was more that it didn't accomplish what it needed to accomplish. Kemps is in need of something design inspired that critically looks at the entire building and street scape holistically. Not just slap a mural upon it like an applique . Whether it was an all encompassing color scheme, use of art (whether it is mural or affixed sculpture), use of greenery - whatever it is, it should accomplish two things. #1. Visually break up the expanse into segments and #2. The segments should have a vertical emphasis.

    The reason being is that historic street walls consist of numerous individual store fronts with a visually vertical emphasis. While the historic store fronts no longer exist, reworking the form what is existing to have the rhythem and orientation of a historic street wall will allow it to blend in more naturally with the rest of West Broadway, create more visual interest for the pedestrian experience, and negate that sense of length, desolation, and expansiveness. It would be interesting to partner with students of design for a project to come up with design ideas to present to Kemps. Just a thought.

    I've actually thought a lot about those first couple of blocks of West Broadway lately as it is very much a "gateway" to North Minneapolis and those first few blocks create the first impression that many first time visitors will extrapolate in their minds to what their impressions are of the entire community. I believe that the properties most visually important to changing the perceptions of West Broadway and North Minneapolis are Fourth Street Saloon, Friedman's, Hong Kong, and Kemps.

    I still remember when I was brand new to this town - the visual messages given by those buildings told me "this part of town is scary." I specifically remember thinking that about Hong Kong. There are no windows. I had no idea it was a grocery store. I thought it was a bar. A really scary bar where horrible human trafficking probably happened in some dingy back room where the only light was a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling. Not that literally those specific acts were occurring, but seriously - that is where the exterior of that building lent my imagination to wander. Now that I KNOW what is inside, I love it. But first impressions by nature are very quick and very superficial. They don't allow for explanation. And right now, the "Gateway" district to West Broadway either looks dingy and scary, expansive and desolate (Kemps), or cheap (fast food).

    But some things are looking up. Friedman's has done some major renovations of the upper floors of their building. And most of all, the Fourth Street Saloon has its super kick ass mural. Hats off to them - that probably is the single best aesthetic change that has happened to the "gateway" area of West Broadway since I've lived in this city.

    I personally feel that it would benefit the West Broadway Coalition to invite focus groups (who have never seen West Broadway before) to look at those first few blocks and report their thoughts and impressions. Sometimes it takes first timers to see what we who have been here for a long time can no longer see.

  5. Dear Jerkwad Anonymous,

    "We want to make sure that all our youth know exactly what kind of a hopeless situation they are in and quell any aspirations they may have for trying harder..."

    Art isn't hopelessness. It is the exact opposite of hopelessness. And while you may live in some button-up 1950s version of beauty (complete with paintings of waterfalls and fawns by Bob Ross), the art world doesn't. This IS art. That you don't know that just shows how ignorant you are.


    The 21st Century
    Contemporary Art
    Cool People

  6. Oh Please,

    The truth of the matter is that you couldn't do what Bob Ross does.

    Does this piece represent the self defecating personal anger and inner conflict of your psyche or is it your interpretation of what this community is all about?

    Does this "art" have stylistic merit? Sure. But you compromise any artistic value the piece represents by your lack understanding of context, placement, and scale.

    It's relevancy has no more value that the graffiti (scrubbed off alleys every day) by other street punks who are screaming for attention.

    You had an opportunity to use your skills to create subject matter that embraced the community, but instead chose to portray morbid and offensive images and that isn't COOL!

  7. "But you compromise any artistic value the piece represents by your lack understanding of context, placement, and scale."

    Huh? Sorry, stating a conclusion to an argument is not the same as making an argument, premise, evidence, and all.

    BTW, I'm not the graffiti artist. In fact, I'm not a graffiti artist at all. In fact, if we were both in line to order coffee, you'd have no idea my thoughts about the mural completely oppose your own. BWWAAAHHHAHHHHAAA!

  8. I really don't like it. It's bleak and morbid. I see what look like abstact bullet holes (near the body, but not in it, apparently representing community violence) and a young woman, apparently pregnant, lying dead.

    In fact, look at the colors and what seem to be "frost" or "snowflake" patterns. This looks like the dead, frozen body of a young pregnant woman.

    The piece appears (to me) to allude to the unsolved murder of Annshalike Hamilton.

    If the intent was to invoke this incident, to allude to it, to cry out about it...

    Then just DO THAT.

    Why do a piece of art nobody understands, except it's easy to understand it's negative and morbid?

    As for Bob Ross, I don't know who he is, but he sounds pretty good. Yeah, could we get some of that, please?

  9. Oh, and the "drag marks" obviously represent the fact her body was moved.

  10. John, THIS is Bob Ross!

    Remember him now?


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