Monday evening we went to hear Andy Sturdevant talk about strolling throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. If you don’t know Andy’s work, you should.
First, MinnPost: “A nonprofit, nonpartisan enterprise whose mission is to provide high-quality journalism for news-intense people who care about Minnesota.” Joel Kramer, co-founder and CEO of MinnPost, was editor of the Star Tribune from 1983 to 1991 and publisher and president from 1992 to 1998.
Now The Stroll: “A weekly look at the art, architecture, history, and visual culture of the Twin Cities — with each article focused on one geographic area, shown in a hand-drawn map.” Andy Sturdevant is an artist and arts administrator, as well as a writer, who has exhibited at Mia and the Soap Factory.
His talk was way more compelling than we had any right to expect. In my experience journalists tend to be pretty interesting folks. But Andy went above and beyond: very present, well prepared, deeply familiar with the Cities, and exhibiting an oblique angle on the visual world that is a tell of the trained creative artist.
Andy mentioned a couple of topics that faithful readers of this blog, if any, may remember from the comments. First, streetcars. Benjamin Wright commented that the commercial concentrations at the intersections of what I have been calling “super-blocks” may have grown up on streetcar lines. And so it proved, once I had located a map of the old routes.
Sturdevant put up a slide of this very same map and informed us that he had never understood the structure of the Cities until he came across it. Of course! The Metro was built up on the skeleton of streetcar lines. Obvious once you see the proof and give it some thought.
The second point of connection with this blog was Larry Millett, whose new book Minnesota Modern I recently mentioned in a comment. It was reviewed this week on MinnPost as a matter of fact. Andy asserted in an aside something to the effect that when he grows up he wants to be Larry Millett.
That’s funny. When I grow up I think I want to be Andy Sturdevant.