Pink, blue and Goldberg colored the year in the visual arts

1. “Contemporary Printing: 20 Years at Highpoint Publishing.” This year, the Minneapolis Institute of Art purchased the complete archive of work from the Highpoint Center for Printmaking, a mainstay of the Minnesota art scene. Mia’s groundbreaking exhibition featured 175 of the 310 published prints and multiples that joined a collection of over 40,000 prints at the museum.

2. “Liberating Adornment”. Three artists explore the politics of haircare as protection and power, pink as a radical color, and consumerism as a relational art practice for Black and Latinx people in this exhibition at St. Olaf College’s Flaten Art Museum.

3. Rube Goldberg. The iconic American Jewish cartoonist – whose playful “machines” that create dozens of steps to perform a simple task – is honored in a two-part exhibit organized by his grandson, Geoffrey George, and the Minnesota Jewish Community Center.

4. “Contemplate evil.” Mauricio Lasansky’s famous series of drawings reflecting the horrors of the Holocaust were just as painfully poignant in this exhibition at Mia as when they debuted half a century ago.

5. “Deep Blues” by Rayyane Tabet. The San Francisco/Beirut-based artist fell in 10 shades of blue – IBM’s signature hue – in a colorful gallery at the Walker Art Center, where disused IBM Eames chairs hung from the ceiling and an artificial intelligence voice recited the company’s story in a show that was half corporate criticism, half weird coincidence.

6. Eric-Paul Riege. The Dine and German-American artist comes from a family of weavers. His exhibition at the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis wove together “many times, lives, people”, as the artist put it, through flexible suspended objects such as tactile earrings that became totems of Memory.

7. “Julie Mehretu.” The internationally acclaimed abstract painter’s retrospective has finally arrived at the Walker, helping to launch her career 20 years ago.

8. “Through my window.” The pandemic canceled travel plans, but the photographer Gail Albert Halaban beautiful images of people photographed through their apartment windows take you to Paris, Rome, Istanbul and beyond in this exhibition at the Weinstein Hammons Gallery.

9. “Kinder transport.” This powerful exhibit at the American Swedish Institute explored the stories of 10,000 Jewish children who were driven out of Nazi Europe before World War II. To make it even more local, three survivors shared their stories and ASI added a section about children who went to Sweden.

ten. “Pressing Issues: Printmaking as Social Justice in 1930s America.” Contemporary issues such as gender inequality, economic disparity, racialized violence and labor exploitation have surfaced in this Weisman Art Museum exhibition of approximately 40 prints commissioned under the federal New Deal almost 100 years ago.