The Exotic Midwest

Continuing on a theme touched on below, here’s a brief bit from an interview between Walker Arts Center curator Philippe Vergne and Minneapolis-based artist Todd Norsten, published in a recent issue of that institution’s magazine:

Todd Norsten: You once told me you thought Minneapolis was one of the most exotic places you could live. Why is that?

Philippe Vergne: When I moved from France, I only knew the West Coast and the East Coast. Arriving in Minneapolis, I was totally caught off guard by the culture, the weather, the way people live, the way an institution works here. I do believe the Midwest would also seem ‘exotic’ to a New Yorker. This is genuine America to me. New York still smells like Europe. Professionally, it was also very different from what I knew in Europe about publicly run institutions, notions of 'public service,’ and the social contract with audiences. I was also very impressed by the level of true curiosity people here have for culture, without being under any hipness phenomena. I have the feeling that people have real expectations for art and culture here, and not only is that expectation high, but there’s no patience for what seems surface-oriented.

I really need to get up there to see the new expansion.