More Real: Art in the Age of Truthiness

Curated by Elizabeth Armstrong

Institutions can have certain codes associated with them: how to act, walk, look, or experience them. Some things are formally taught, others are unwritten social protocols. With a 100 year old encyclopedic museum like the MIA, visitors have a general understanding about what to expect when they go, where they will experience art when they arrive, and also what art has traditionally been.


Looking to engage with some of these expectations, I was commissioned to make new work for the show. The result was a number of pop up performances, installations, and artful intersections that existed for one night only, during the opening reception.


“Over the past century, a period of unprecedented technological change and global social upheaval, once agreed-upon beliefs, or “truths,” have been cast into doubt, changing and shaping our understanding and experience of reality. More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness features work by 28 of today’s most accomplished and promising international artists, including Ai Weiwei, Vik Muniz and Thomas Demand, who explore our shifting experience of reality.”


-Text taken from Mia’s website.


Photographs courtesy of Eric Melzer and the MIA.




Before entering the museum, visitors had the chance to purchase reproductions of artwork in the exhibition or in the collection of The Minneapolis Institute of Art. Prodded by the seller, they were encouraged to not even go in, why bother? He had what you needed right there, and you could take it home with you.

Just past the ticket counter in the main lobby, visitors had a chance to get copies of keys made for free. This was juxtaposed by the museum’s security desk, just behind the hardware store owner’s key cutting station.

Pop up bathroom concerts, with a concert harpist from the Minnesota Chamber Orchestra in the women’s restroom, and a tuba player sitting in a stall in the men’s room.


The evening’s “make and take” activity, inviting visitors to cut out a paper-craft camera, and take it with them through the museum. The camera had #’s and usernames for social media, so visitors could use fake photo filter applications to upload and image of themselves using a fake camera.

Signs reading “FREE HAIRCUTS, HIPPIES” were placed around the building, leading to Studio 112, the art lab. Inside, a south Minneapolis Barber gave free haircuts in front of a life size drawing of her barber station in her shop.

At 7:15pm, there was a report of a disturbance. The Ghostbusters arrived at the scene. They scanned members of the public, wandered through the museum and exhibition, ending up in the museum Auditorium. They closed the door and loud sounds of breaking glass, proton packs, yelling, and doors rattling could be heard by those gathered outside.


After a few minutes, they emerged victorious, posed for pictures and drove off in ECTO-2.

Chris Kluwe, former punter for the Minnesota Vikings, activated the digital sphere via Twitter the following day.

Across from the museum’s copy of Polykleitos’ Doryphoros, there was a bubble hockey table, with a hockey goalie in full pads, ready to play anyone who wanted to do battle.