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Supernatural America at the Mia for Grandma’s birthday – creepy but cool! by Ann Treacy
May 10, 2022, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Minneapolis

Kate is working at the Supernatural America exhibit at the Mia. So, for my mom’s birthday we went to visit Kate and then out to lunch with Lily. It was a really, nice 3-generation day. The exhibit was interesting, disturbing and sometimes beautiful. But as my mom said on the way out – there wasn’t much I’d want to hang on my wall at home. To be fair, who is inviting haunted art into the home?

Quick insider note: Kate said one of her coworkers saw a ghostly hand reach out from one of the pictures – life imitating art, I guess.

The real beauty of the art is the story behind it. Some were created during a séance or while the “artist” was in a trance. We talked about how many of these artists would be written off as having mental health issues – or being witches or feminists or worse. Sort of made me like the art more. Other art tried to speak to or represent the supernatural. Here are some I found most interesting.

The Precipitated Portrait of Lizzie, Mary and Christina Daugherty with Dr Daugherty is one example. The work was created by sisters Mary and Elizabeth Bangs. They performed a ritual intending to conger the image of Mrs. Daugherty (deceased) with the Dr. who sat for the portrait. The image appeared on the paper like droplets. In the end the added the deceased twins as well.

John McCrady’s Swing Low Sweet Chariot depicts the moment of death when the forces of good and evil come to grasp the soul of the deceased. I love the imagery. I sort of love the idea that there is no connection in the art about the quality of the soul – but that’s it’s merely a fight of good and evil. I love that good takes an army and evil just one devil.

I learned about the idea of spirit photography, where the photographer tries to capture images of ghosts and other spiritual entities. Apparently, it’s used on ghost hunting but the examples they had were from the Civil War. People were photographed with the hope that a recently departed loved one would appear in the picture. It’s hard to think that the pictures are real but they are fascinating and I don’t entirely doubt it.

Interior Scroll by Carolee Schneemann are still images of a performance piece of the artist reading from a scroll she pulled from her vagina. I’m a feminist, but that might not be a little extreme for me but I appreciate that the pendulum swings and art like this pushes boundaries that need to be pushed. In the same realm, are the tiny goddesses found in the 1970s. Blood was included in the materials used to form the goddesses.

Maybe my favorite is Tony Oursler’s Dust from the Thought of Form series. It’s cloud that morphs into body parts. Kinda creepy, kinda cool. (We also loved his work MMPI in Milwaukee.)

Here are more pictures of things that drew us in…


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