Dreams, fantasies, visions, and meditations have given rise to some of the most remarkable art made over the past century. Midnight Party, named for the fanciful 1930 film by Joseph Cornell that is a cornerstone of the exhibition, explores a fantastic range of highly subjective reflections on the world, from the symbolist phantasms of German printmaker Max Klinger to the transcendent, luminous paintings of Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko to the surreal multimedia works of contemporary artist Matthew Barney.
Drawn mainly from the Walker’s permanent collection, some 150 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and films are displayed in evocative tableaux that animate the driving concerns of the artworks. For example, mid-20th century abstractions by Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, and others are shown alongside Bruce Conner’s exquisite final film Easter Morning from 2008, probing the psychic space between matter and spirit. The galleries are transformed into intimate spaces through the use of color, mirrors, and furniture, including a mock “cabinet of curiosities” and a case devoted to a changing selection of prints and drawings.