Monday, September 4, 2017

Minnesota State Fair 2017

Today is the last day of the Great Minnesota Get Together, so if you didn't already go, this blog post will have to tide you over until next year. (I feel compelled to throw in the requisite "if we're still here next year with a civilization that can support state fairs.")

First, a few photos of the Great Minnesota Knit Together, which I mentioned last week. As promised, it was arrayed along the giant ramp that leads to the second floor of the Grandstand: 

A buffalo...

...and its scatological butt, complete with rainbow tail and our state flower (the lady slipper) on the side.

There were several horses designed in a carousel format...

...but the humor is in the details. Corndogs with mustard, Sweet Martha's chocolate chip cookies, mini donuts, and a few pieces of fruit. Not sure where those apples came from; maybe they're meant to be eaten by the horse.

A classic State Fair picture.

These little bits of crocheting and knitting were near the sign about the warm "fussies" I mentioned previously.

I enjoyed the knitter-bombing by Knitteapolis and her helpers. It's a welcome addition to the Fair. 

Then it was on to the art show in the Fine Art Building:

This textile piece, Implosion 4 by Beth Barron, is made up of used Band-Aids. Yes, Band-Aids. It's very textural and made me think about how each of those disposable things is a piece of fabric that in some alternate world would not be thrown away.

This sculpture, Man of the World, is by one of the show's jurors, Allen Christian. Check out the piano parts in the torso. They look so odd, but at the same time so much like what could be under our skins.

Kyle Fokken, who made a steampunk dog back in the 2010 show, really appealed to me with The Jack in the Basket (Figurehead Series). This sculptor clearly has a nightmare science fiction imagination.

I didn't spend as much time as usual in the Fine Art building this year, and so not very many pictures to share. There was a lot more good stuff than I'm showing!

Part of the reason I had to run was because I was on a time limit of about four hours total. Hard to cover the Fair's territory in so little time, especially when you have to spend time with the crop art, which was much more crowded than in previous years. Maybe that was because I didn't go to the Horticulture Building early enough in the morning. (Oh, and they do need to organize the line better, too — people were going in two directions past the art and line-cutters seemed to not be aware there was a line at all.)

Amy Saupe paid understated homage to the recent eclipse.

Labor activist and teacher Julie Blaha nailed her message with this simple illustration.

Lindsay Warner's use of repetition and graphic simplicity was appealing. I love the way the lentils continue their arcs as the color changes from quadrant to quadrant.

Marita Stolee's corn roast is so well composed and the color palette is perfect.

Among the political pieces (of which there were many, as usual), I liked Mark Dahlager's the best. It didn't try to do too much.

My favorite portrait was by a beginner named Miriam Black.

Sarah Anderson's dyed material rendering of Gustavus Adolphus college brought to mind the work of Virginia Lee Burton.

Finally, Tony Pfaff gave us all a reminder that the lake previously known as Calhoun is now Bde Maka Ska.

The scarecrow entries are adjacent to the crop art, and many of them were political this year as well. This was by far the best one of those:

Erik Biever went after the "grate" one...

...with his Putin bucket face...

...holding a Trump marionette made of cheese graters.

Nancy Winholtz's scarecrow had a joyous found-object face, no politics necessary.

Outside of the knitting, the art show, and the crop art, I've got just a few more Fair photos:

In the Eco Experience building, a giant Paul Bunyan made of donated clothes swaggered over the displays about reducing and reusing. A few clothing facts I learned:

  • Nearly 100 percent of donated textiles get reused or recycled, almost half as wearable clothing, with 20 percent being converted to general reused fiber and 30 percent going to wiping cloths.
  • Recycled cloth rags use less water and energy than any alternative.
  • Have you ever wondered what happens to that solo stretchy sock you put into the "clean cloth" bag at curbside pickup, or the worn-out teddy bears? They don’t exactly seem like candidates for use as fabrics to me. But the socks end up as pillow stuffing and the teddy bears become car seat stuffing.

Speaking of reusing, I liked this piece called Doing Dress by Erin Lavelle from the Creative Arts building.

And last but not least, what kind of Fair would it be without a photo of someone hauling around a giant, useless stuffed animal or other plush being for the day?


My past Minnesota State Fair posts:

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