Weisman Art Museum Presents Just Yesterday, an Outdoor Art Installation Highlighting Racial Injustice in Our Recent Past
By Egotist / /
Just Yesterday was conceived as part of an initiative by Minneapolis advertising agency Solve
This summer, Weisman Art Museum presents a new public art installation, Just Yesterday. The 60-foot wraparound mural will be on prominent display over the summer along the exterior façade of the museum at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. The installation launched May 17th and will be on view until October 1, 2021. In addition to the installation, a screen-printed edition of each poster will be considered for Weisman’s permanent collection.
Just Yesterday was conceived as part of an initiative by Minneapolis advertising agency Solve and interning Art Director Mike Gaines and first-year Copywriter Maggie Williams during the protests that swept the world in 2020. The series uses iconic pop culture references to put systemic injustices from our recent past into context—injustices that continue to oppress communities of color to this day.
As Gaines says of the series, “The posters are meant to evoke the feeling of nostalgia, like a BuzzFeed quiz or the print version of clickbait. The images and color draw you in, which is how the real message catches you unaware—a gut punch you aren’t expecting.”
Williams adds, “I think for a lot of white Americans, there’s a disconnect between the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the present-day racial justice movement.” She goes on, “In some ways, since the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, and Fair Housing Act were passed, it’s gotten harder for our society to address racism head-on because white people feel like those pieces of legislation put it to rest, that our society is somehow ‘post-racial.’ With this series, we used pop-culture touchstones to show people just how recent all of this institutional progress is. And it isn’t over yet. How can it be? This all happened just yesterday.”
When approached to collaborate with Solve and the series creators to mount an exhibition of the eye-catching posters, the Weisman’s staff embraced the opportunity to cultivate deeper conversations on systemic racism, past and present.
“Minnesota has been at the center of a national reckoning on race and policing in the wake of the murders of Philando Castille, George Floyd, and, very recently, Daunte Wright,” says Katie Covey Spanier, Weisman’s director of Programs and Student Engagement. “While many boast about the quality of living in our state, it must be acknowledged that Minnesota, and the Twin-Cities more specifically, has some of the greatest racial disparities—in policing, education, housing, income, and employment—in the nation.” Covey continues, “As a teaching museum for the University of Minnesota, the Weisman has a role to play in confronting and taking action against systemic racism.”
Weisman’s site and social platforms (including Instagram, Facebook and TikTok) will amplify Just Yesterday’s important message as well as offering additional content developed by commissioned writers, students, faculty, artists and community members. Content will include artist responses to the series and other resources to support continued dialog.
To see the Just Yesterday art installation, visit the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. To learn more about the project, the backstory behind each of the posters, and about its creators, see JustYesterday.org. Note: the interior spaces of the Weisman Art Museum building will be closed to the public for maintenance until fall 2021.
A limited run of museum-quality screen-printed posters will be sold exclusively through the WAM Shop. Proceeds go to supporting programs at the Weisman Art Museum. Pre-orders of these limited-edition posters are now available.
Mike Gaines: Art Director
Maggie Williams: Copywriter
Sean Smith: CD, Designer
Brian Platt: CD, Copywriter
Kara Brower: Project Manager, Producer
Micaela Krause-Anlauf: Account Supervisor
Jarin Simon: Designer
Annie Seng: Creative
Olivia Childs: Creative
Rob Atkinson: Creative
Emily Allison: Creative
Rioko Sponslier: Creative
Mural Installation: Pixelwerx
Printer: Kid Icarus