Mia opens The Lyrical Artwork of Jim Denomie

Jim Denomie in front of The Creative Oven (2013)
photo by Tom Sweeny, Star Tribune

“Finding the humorous moment within the serious scene is a hallmark of [Jim] Denomie’s artwork,” writes the Star Tribunes Alicia Eler, who reviews the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s new exhibition, The Lyrical Artwork of Jim Denomie. The exhibition—the first major showing of the artist’s work since his March 2022 passing—spans both media, from large-scale paintings to sketchbook drawings and sculptures, and subject matter. “In the two-panel, surreal landscape that has Minneapolis’ skyline in the background,”writes Eler, describing the 2013 painting The Creative Oven. “Van Gogh boxes Mike Tyson, Jesus slam dunks a basketball on a hoop affixed to a cross, buffalo fly through the sky, a Native man drives a taxi, and iconic Minneapolis artist Seekins wanders with a fishing pole.”

In a 2019 interview, Denomie addressed this diversity. “I can only work so long in one area and then I get bored, I have to move on. Usually I tell people that it’s kind of like cave exploring. You go through this little tunnel and all of a sudden you get to this cave and there are all these great images and it’s like holy smokes! And you get into painting and then after a while you’ve covered all the ground and then there’s a little tunnel going off somewhere and you follow it and it opens up into a new cavern and then there’s new work. My work has progressed like that.”

The Lyrical Artwork of Jim Denomie, the largest survey of the artist’s work to date, is on view through May 24, 2024.