ROLU: Open Field Artist Residency

ROLU: Open Field Artist Residency

Walker Art Center

Matt Olson, Sammie Warren, and Mike Brady of ROLU, 2012. Photo: Cameron Wittig.

July 11, 2012

Open Field Artist Residency

When Does Something Become Something Else?
The Apparent is the Bridge to the Real.

July 17–29, 2012

Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403

T +1 612 375 7600

Let me get this out up front: the “But is it art?” question is over for me. Done. Finished. So asked and answered. It’s been almost a hundred years since Marcel Duchamp signed “R. Mutt” on the side of a porcelain urinal. It still took a while to sink in. In June 1967, a full 50 years later, and several months before Duchamp’s death, Sol LeWitt published “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art” in Artforum.

Not only is “art” whatever the artist thinks it is, it’s thinking itself—the concept. And while there have always been those who reject the entire premise, there have also been, and continue to be, artists who have questioned, poked at, and stress-tested this definition of art. The conclusion has always been the same: Yes, it’s art. Even if it’s only art because the artist says it is. But where does that leave the object—the thing that results from the execution, the product of the thinking? And what if, for whatever reason, you don’t declare yourself an artist. Then what?

These are the questions I think about when I think of ROLU’s work. Because these talented, inspirational folks—mainly Matt Olson, Mike Brady, Sammie Warren—who make wonderful things, have not identified themselves as artists. In fact, their unspoken aversion to the “artist” label seems to become more resolute, even as they draw more cohesive inspiration from contemporary art history and collaborate and engage with capital-A Artists and institutions like the Walker Art Center.

In their Open Field residency at the Walker this July, ROLU turns LeWitt’s notion of process and “final product” inside out as they turn the museum, its art, and its community into their studio. One of their activities involves taking some of the greatest “finished products” in the Walker’s collection as their conceptual starting point, and making their own versions of selected artworks. As they bring the making-as-thinking process literally out into the open and invite visitors to make and think along with them, they will build a collection of things on the Walker’s lawn, things which bear a striking resemblance to the precious, unique treasures inside. Things which might even prompt the question, “But is it Art?” And I imagine these friendly folks—who so carefully avoid calling themselves “artists”—might reply: “Here’s a hammer, what do you think?”

—Greg Allen,

Making as Thinking
Building with the public artworks from the Walker’s Permanent Collection by Carl Andre, Larry Bell, Charles Biederman, Trisha Brown, Scott Burton, Sam Durant, Luciano Fabro, Dan Flavin, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Ellsworth Kelly, Sherrie Levine, Richard Long, Richard Nonas, Yoko Ono, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Robin Rhode, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, Robert Smithson, Alec Soth, James Turrell, and Ito Zon.

Attention as Place
Contributions by Andreas Angelidakis, Arp, Uta Barth, Charlotte Cheetham, Matt Connors, Michael Dumontier, Luke Fischbeck, John Fleischer, Amy Franceschini, Joe Gilmore, David Horvitz, Mary Manning, Keegan McHargue, Sarah Rara, Rhiannon Silver, Alec Soth, Jo-ey Tang, Various Projects, Rodrigo Hernandez, Ruben Nusz, David Hamlow, Sam Gould, Alex Dearmond, Andy Beach, and others.

Participation as Performance
Garments by Various Projects—Elizabeth Beer and Brian Janusiak.

About ROLU
ROLU is an experimental design studio located in Minneapolis that is focused on exploring the relationship between life, our surroundings, and the objects and ideas that fill those spaces. Its practice was founded and continues to have a strong connection to landscape design but also extends to furniture design and collaborative architectural projects as well as urban planning work and public art. The studio, founded in 2003, consists of Matt Olson, Mike Brady, Sammie Warren, and intern Claudette Gacuti. The studio believes in learning something every day and blogs daily about art, design, and visual culture. For more information visit




ROLU: Open Field Artist Residency at Walker Art Center
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July 11, 2012

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