In a partnership with the Minneapolis Park Board, Mia has scattered frozen recreations of famous artwork from its collection across city parks. Crafted by the sculptor Chris Swarbick of Ice Occasions, the icy replicas can be found through the end of February (or as long as the Minnesota winter allows).
The ephemeral installations of Art in Ice include Raffaelo Monti’s “Veiled Lady” at Longfellow Park, Yoshimoto Nara’s “Your Dog” at Bde Mka Ska, “Celestial Horse” at North Commons Park, Salvador Dali’s “Aphrodisiac Telephone” at Boom Island Park, and Van Gogh’s “Olive Trees” across the street from the museum at Washburn-Fair Oaks Park.
“We wanted to try something different this winter to get the art outside of our walls and offer a safe outdoor experience in times of uncertainty,” Mia’s head of engagement strategy Katie Hill says.
Swarbick was a no-brainer choice after having worked with the museum twice before, Hill said. “We wanted someone who could really capture the essence of these artworks and make them in a way that would be sturdy, sustainable, safe, and impressive for all that could experience it.”
The months-long process began last fall as a future workaround for unpredictable closings due to the pandemic. After gauging patrons’ favorite pieces via social media, the collaborators went to work scouting locations and sketching plans for each sculpture. Only taking about four hours to carve each artwork, the bulk of Swarbick’s undertaking came from studying, planning, and prepping the ice in order for the finished product to be just right.
Hill’s favorite frozen double is Dali’s telephone, fully encompassing surrealism at its finest through a literal melting piece of ice. Look out for “Your Dog’s” shining red nose, which Swarbick replicates with a creative use of jello, paying homage to the original fiberglass pup.
Hill says it was “really about getting art outside our walls, doing something uniquely Minnesotan, and offering a moment of brightness and warmth in an otherwise cold, long, winter.”
The ice sculptures are on full display after installation finished last Friday and are expected to last around two weeks, weather permitting. For art lovers who prefer the comfort of the great indoors, Mia is now open Thursdays through Sundays with limited capacity. Further details and locations of the project can be found at new.artsmia.org.