While I missed the Friday night opening for the Scion Installation Art Tour exhibit It’s a Beautiful World at the Rogue Buddha Gallery, an abundance of empty Colt 45 cans still in evidence the next afternoon suggested a lively gathering. Gallery owner Nicholas Harper says the party drew upwards of 300 people.
Now in its fourth year, this is the first time the Scion Tour has come to Minneapolis. Minneapolis is the second-to-last stop on a nine-city circuit that wraps up in Los Angeles with a charity auction of the art in the show. And if Scion rings a bell, that’s because you’ve probably seen one driving down the street at some point. The Scion line of cars is an offshoot of Toyota designed to appeal to the city-smart younger set, which describes the vibe of the show pretty well, too.
The premise is simple: all of the art takes its cue from the show’s title. The aesthetic ranges from cartoonish to surreal to abstract to figurative, from both emerging and established artists, many of them recognizable to those acquainted with contemporary artists. The media is just as diverse—painting, photography, sculpture, and collage.
A few pieces that caught my eye: LeRat’s The Universal Soldier, a black-and-white stenciled painting of a soldier cradling a child. The foreground is filled with foliage, which, combined with the soldier’s bowed head, gives the scene a strange forlorn tenderness. Kenton Parker’s photo of New Orleans ruins with a riff on the “As Seen on TV” logo—a red sign with block letters spelling out “Not as Seen on TV”—comments rather more whimsically on another American tragedy.
Harper singles out Caia Koopman’s Migrant Respite as a piece that resonates for him based on its technical merits and figurative style. The painting offers up a whispy-haired waif set against a fairy tale backdrop, flowers in the foreground, rolling green hills, a tiny cottage dwarfed by a wind mill, a tree with a burning heart. He also points to Mike Giant’s vivid color photo of an almost deserted El Salvador street with ominous, low-hanging clouds and brightly colored buildings in yellow and green; a picture of desolate, dilapidated beauty.
It’s a Beautiful World continues at the Rogue Buddha Gallery through April19.