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“Mark Mothersbaugh – Myopia” at MIA

If you’re looking for a fun way to beat the heat this summer, you might enjoy a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). While you’re there, don’t miss the special exhibit “Mark Mothersbaugh – Myopia.” Admission is free, and the show runs through August 30. Though it is mainly visual art, music is showcased in innovative ways.

You may have heard of Mothersbaugh as songwriter, singer, and musician. Devo, his punk and new-wave band, developed a dedicated following through the 1970s and 1980s. More recently, he has composed music for hundreds of commercials, television shows, and movies, including “The Lego Movie” and “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

Mothersbaugh was born legally blind due to myopia. Corrective lenses helped him, and he speaks candidly about how his early struggles with low vision, and being “the kid with pop-bottle glasses,” shaped his life. (Read more in our post, “Mark Mothersbaugh in conversation: on eyesight”.) To an extent, his myopia affects the art he creates. Christopher Atkins, Curator at MIA, pointed out to us that the small photo prints and postcards that Mothersbaugh produces are a way for him to experiment on a small scale. Even the large-scale canvases and prints in the exhibit started small, so they were easier to see close-up.

“Myopia” is an innovative show with some elements that are accessible to art-lovers who have diminished eyesight, visual impairment, or blindness. Here are a few of our favorite features:

  • The “orchestrion” gallery, featuring three large homemade instruments that Mothersbaugh built and programmed to play music. Their sounds might remind you of glockenspiels, flutes, calliopes, and train whistles
  • Listening stations where you can take in a song or composition
  • Two music videos with audio through headsets or speakers
  • Video clip of a movie scored by Mothersbaugh
  • A black light section with bold, glowing artwork

This is the first of two posts about “Myopia”; see the second one here to read Mothersbaugh’s reflection on growing up with low vision!

For more information, visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art webpage for “Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia.”

Have you visited MIA recently? What did you think of “Myopia”? Let us know in the comments!

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