Friday, August 30, 2013

Minnesota State Fair 2013

It's State Fair time once again. There is a clear pattern to my visits over the years: regrettable food combined with people-watching, crop art, and the art show.

This year's food included fried olives (stuffed with cream cheese), a triple-berry-jam crepe with cream cheese, some walleye fries, several bits of chocolate-covered cheese cake on a stick, and part of a cream puff. In hindsight, I see I was following a thickened cream theme this year.

People at the Fair

The people-watching was good, as usual. The most offensive T-shirt I saw replicated the warning label used on music CDs, but instead said "Parental Advisory / Explicit Content / I say f#*k a lot." Thanks.

This kid and his fish hat were pretty absurd:

Our own Michele B. was a winner in the scarecrow contest:

In one of my previous Fair posts, I mentioned how some families come dressed in identical shirts so they can find each other in the crowd. One year I saw a white family all dressed in dashikis, but couldn't get a photo of them. Well, this year, I managed to snap a couple of them:

Other Sightings

The Fairgrounds are home to dozens of chainsaw sculptures, rendered from the stumps of trees that have died over the years. I never noticed this little mouse until this year:

Go co-op! in the Horticulture building:

In the the Creative Arts building, I got a laugh from this Mondrian-inspired quilt. It's very nice, and I'm sure worth the blue ribbon it won, but the use of patterned fabrics would have made Piet Mondrian run out of the room shrieking:

Also in the Creative Arts building, a closeup of an elementary classroom mosaic about peace. I love Lizzy's lettering and her sentiment:

Did you know what sugar beets look like? I didn't until now:

Crop Art + Art Show

Always a highlight, the crop art once again held up its end. I especially liked Laura Melnick's fanciful but sharp-edged gun control image:

And Mark Dahlager's quiet homage to Trayvon Martin:

In the art show, there was a lot of great work, but I'll show just two atypical bovines. First, an acrylic painting called "Best Friends" by Brendan Rohde:

I love the black and white trees, the strong graphic shapes, and the characterization of the faces.

The other piece is a sculpture called "One Percenter Savings Bank" by Lester N. Hoikka:

It's about three feet tall, with lots of detail best appreciated in person:

The 99 percent crowd at the bottom is made up of photos, each meticulously cut out to create a three-dimensional sea of faces.

Luminarium, a New Treat

The one new thing I did this year was visit the Luminarium, called Exxopolis, which I had heard about, kind of vaguely, as a hard-to-describe light and color experience.

This is part of the outside -- it looks kind of like a big silver cat's foot or a giant chew-toy. Or something.

But inside, the light shines through the colored panels as you walk within the inflated shapes.

The color is intense and not captured by my camera.

This image gives the best idea of what it was like:

The people are bathed in the color, and in many of the curved nooks people were lying down, relaxing and soaking in the color and the calm.

The central cupola was blue with red and blue stained glass "windows."

Exxopolis was created by the Architects of Air. Its design is inspired by Islamic architecture and natural geometry. It's worth a visit if you're anywhere near one that's on tour.

Past State Fair posts:


Michael Leddy said...

DN3, could you explain the boxes behind Ms. Bachmann? I assume they’re to be judged, but what are they?

As you can tell, I don’t speak Fair.

Daughter Number Three said...

Each one holds dried corn kernels, I believe. I am chagrined to say, I have never looked at those boxes in all of the times I have been in this room.

There are other areas where whole, dried corn cobs are presented.

Perhaps they are judged on kernel size or possibly which ones have the lowest moisture content? It is a mystery to me.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Great post. I think the patterned pieces give a little texture to the Mondrian quilt. Love crop art; can't enter the Horticulture building without one of us saying "You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think." Love the luminarium photos!

Ms Sparrow said...

I successfully avoided the State Fair again this year. The people-watching however is one of the best things about it. It would be great if some TV station set up a camera in a prominent but inconspicuous place so we stay-at-home folks could
get in on it!