This week was all about art and food. The Seward Cafe opened in 1974, and was a neighborhood institution when I first visited in 1983. We used to go spend our Sunday mornings there reading the paper and devouring delicious buckwheat pancakes and creative egg concoctions. It is a cooperative with an anarchist bent. You fill out your own orders, get your own water and coffee, pick up your order at the window, and bus your own dishes. Everybody working together. Sometimes there is music in the evening and there is always art on the walls. This week the artist was Mollierae and her art was going for $600 and up. These are a couple that I liked. (click for larger image).
And of course, there was also creative bathroom art.
From there we headed over to the Walker Art Museum which was exhibiting the works of Pacita Abad. We were all impressed with her work. The brochure describes her as “Philippine-born artist, globally inspired masks, portrayals of immigrant life, and dazzling underwater scenes”. The walls were covered in huge tapestries. Some were celebratory and made me happy.
Some were disturbing and powerful. Some were just fun. She traveled and lived all over the world and immigrated to the USA, so her art is multicultural. She also saw the USA through the immigrant lens which was not always pretty. One powerful tapestry was called Flight to Freedom from a series called Cambodian Refugee.
Another one that struck me was called “I Thought the Streets Were Paved With Gold”. Apparently a quote she came across on a trip to Ellis Island inspired this work: “I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, I found out three things: First, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, they weren’t paved at all; and third, I was expected to pave them.” I have come across several people in my own travels who believed the streets of the United States were paved with gold. I tried to tell them this was far from true, but they held on to their image.
I found this octopus especially whimsical —
You can see Pacita Abad’s work at:
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: April 15–September 3, 2023
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: October 21, 2023–January 28, 2024
MoMA PS1, New York: April 4–September 2, 2024
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto: October 12, 2024–January 19, 2025
Afterwards, we went for a drive around the lakes taking in the natural beauty of the day and ended up at a burger joint. A multicultural, multi eventful, all American day….