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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 12, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 15
'Prince from Minneapolis' - Image is everything
Arts & Entertainment
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'Prince from Minneapolis' - Image is everything

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

'Prince from Minneapolis' is the Museum of Pop Culture's (MoPOP's) newest exhibition featuring rarely seen photos and iconography of the enigmatic artist from his earliest days to his artistic peak. On loan exclusively to MoPOP from Minneapolis' The Weisman Art Museum, the exhibit features nearly 50 artifacts - including several costumes and Prince's teal Cloud guitar from the late 1980s - offering threads of insight into a truly unique artist who changed the world and was regrettably lost much too soon.

Brooks Peck, MoPOP Curator, was particularly thrilled to work on this exhibition, as he grew up as a music-obsessed child of the '80s and recognized in Prince something extraordinary. 'He drew on the work of the greats that came before him, yet created his own, truly original style and sound,' Brooks explained. 'He defied convention and broke boundaries, and he continues to inspire musicians as well as artists of all kinds to this day.'

Displayed somewhat chronologically, the earliest photos show a 19-year old bell-bottomed Prince, shy but staring into the camera lens, curiously trying to determine what he wanted to show to the world. Prince was a proponent of photo shoots from the beginning, and the work of the four primary photographers shown here (Allen Beaulieu, Nancy Bundt, Terry Gydesen, and Robert Whitman) seem to reflect a cautious trust and mutual interest in the experience of being photographed. In a series of contact sheets, a shirtless Prince experiments with smiling/not smiling, holding a disco ball, and in other shots, a guitar - he did come up in the age of disco and funk after all. Through the intimacy of candid snapshots and backstage moments, we see Prince carefully cultivating the image he came to fully embody.

The artistic works include a Prince bicycle (lean in extra close to spot dirty words and other Prince details worked into the frame), a fitting homage as it's reported that Prince loved bicycles and was often spotted biking around Minneapolis in his early days. The Mexican American de la Torre brothers created blown glass Prince spirit figures in their Minneapolis studio days after Prince's death.

Spending a few minutes in this small but dense exhibit, it's once again easy to fall under Prince's mysterious spell. He approached music, sexuality, and gender-fluidity in a way that was so far ahead of other artists in mainstream pop culture, we should consider ourselves lucky to have experienced any part of his genius in real time. He was a true trailblazer in American music and pop culture and a perfect fit to be honored at MoPOP. 'Prince from Minneapolis' will remain on view through January 4, 2020.

MoPOP is located at 325 5th Ave. N. The museum is open daily 10am-5pm. Museum Admission Only Tickets: Adults (18-64) - $26 online; $28 walk-up - with discounts for seniors, students, military, and youth. For select special exhibitions there is an additional surcharge. The 'Prince from Minneapolis' exhibit is included with the Museum Admission Only Ticket. For more information, including details about current and upcoming exhibitions, visit www.mopop.org or call (206) 770-2700.

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Leslie Jordan wants Seattle to come to Exposed!
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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