Happy 2018!

Happy New Year!

I’m excited to be starting off 2018 as part of the exhibition Land Body Industry, running January 16 through February 10 at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The opening reception is January 20 from 5-9pm. I’ll be showing a new installation drawn from Das Fundbuero’s archive that looks at the roles of work and consumption in people’s lives.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ve made a page for my neon sign “collectively we support your autonomy”. The install photos are also pretty cool.Thank you so much to everyone who helped support this project! I’m really honored by your contributions. Big shout outs to Ne-Art Custom Neon and Marlaine Cox for the fabrication work.

January 23rd will be the last of a series of 5 new open house events I designed for the City of Minneapolis’s 2040 comprehensive plan development process.If you live of work in Minneapolis, come and have a say in future city land use (e.g. zoning and housing) through direct conversation with the people writing the policy.

Maybe it’s the psychopharmaceuticals, but today at least, I am feeling optimistic about 2018. What about you?

The neon sign “collectively we support your autonomy” is supported in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, or to make it all legal:  Monica Sheets is a fiscal year 2017 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Fall 2015 News

I’ve been meaning to send an update on what I’ve been doing since returning to the US. After taking some time to get settled, most of 2015 has been occupied with preparing for an exhibition that will finally be opening next month.

Post-WWII globe with Leipzig marked by a pinThe show, titled Das Fundbuero – 1000 Little Things, opens Wednesday, November 18th in the Paul Watkins Gallery on the campus of Winona State University in Winona, Minn. The opening begins with a public lecture from 4-5pm followed by a reception in the gallery.

I have really enjoyed developing the installation, as it’s given me the opportunity to process the experiences and information I collected in Weimar and Leipzig during six years of projects dealing with East German history. Watkins Hall is a mid-sixties modernist building with a terrazzo floor and glass doors that makes a great space for the installation, which combines objects and interviews collected while working on Das Fundbuero with contemporary objects from the US and newly built sculptural components.

I have been thinking a lot about the role of nostalgia and the desire for a simple historical narrative, as well as questions about documentation and presentation of participatory artwork after the fact. The installation lets me work with these ideas more directly than was possible sometimes in the participatory projects in Leipzig. I’m looking forward to seeing the complete installation, since my studio is only big enough to work on segments of it at a time. Even better, as I continue to work, I continue to have more ideas for how to interpret and present Das Fundbuero  – who knew making objects would continue to be part of my artistic process.

Minnesota Legacy Amendment Logo Minnesota State Arts Board LogoThe show is supported in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, or to make it all legal:  Monica Sheets is a fiscal year 2015 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Thank you Minnesota taxpayers!

In September, I began an 18-month residency with Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in Fridley, Minn. The arts center is about 6 miles from my apartment in Minneapolis, but it’s location in Manomin Park at the confluence of Rice Creek and the Mississippi River makes it feel much farther away. One of my goals during the residency is to adapt and expand the sort of participative work I was doing in Germany. I am particularly interested in how Fridley lacks a clear civic “center”, though there are lots of beautiful parks and shopping centers with idiosyncratic tenants like an honorary Romanian Consulate and a great Bosnian supermarket. I am interested in how this de-centeredness affects people’s sense of community and identification with the city. The residency culminates in an exhibition at the arts center in early 2017.

I’ll be posting images of 1000 Little Things on facebook and my website after the opening. If you’re in the area, I hope you can visit the exhibition in Winona or come see me at Banfill-Locke.

5th Anniversary of my MFA

In acknowledgement of the fifth anniversary of receiving my MFA, I’ve decided to post my thesis – typos and all.
While some of my feelings have changed since I wrote it, mostly I find that am still coming up against the same questions in my work as I did then. I am not sure if this points to a lack of progress or that I have stumbled onto some central theme for my work.

In the end, the project that was the basis for my thesis was quite pivotal for how Das Fundbuero developed in Leipzig. That, along with the distance in time from the whole master’s experience lets me view the work somewhat more objectively and reevaluate its relative success and failures. I feel much better about this project than I did in 2009, and I’ve realized that “building community” in the traditional sense – a certain harmony between project participants – is not one of my goals; I am more interested in how we deal with those people whom we do not like or do not agree with – how do we continue to work productively in spite of such conflict? As usual, I don’t have a clear or concise answer for this yet, but I’m working at it from a few angles and hope to address it in written form sometimes soon.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the thesis.

M_Sheets_Thesis

Das Fundbuero in the Press

I have beentaz_2013_26_09_fundbuero_sm wanting to start posting actual news and updates for some time, so this seems like a good thing to start with.

In today’s taz in Germany, there is an interview with me about Das Fundbuero and the Leipziger Zentrale. Some national press coverage of the project is certainly a nice parting gift for me, and it will hopefully give the project a little boost as Peggy Freund continues to lead it after my departure.

The article is available online here. Click on the image for a PDF of the print version.