Two of Minnesota’s most compelling artists — Wing Young Huie and Monica Haller — will hold a public conversation about the role of collaboration in their work at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 28, at the Target Performance Hall at Open Book, 1011 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Photographer Wing Young Huie has long combined interviews and photography in his artistic process. Installations of his photographs in unusual urban settings have involved quite literally hundreds of people in the production and display of his work. Monica Haller’s latest project is the result of a collaboration with a college friend, helping him to make sense of his time as a medic in Iraq and to present his experience to the world.

Magers & Quinn Booksellers and the Loft Literary Center are pleased to present a unique opportunity to meet these two artists, who share an understanding of the value of cooperative work in making art. This event is free and open to the public. Space is limited.

Presented by Public Art St. Paul, Wing Young Huie’s “University Avenue Project: The Language of Urbanism, a Six-Mile Photographic Inquiry,” will transform a major urban thoroughfare in St. Paul into a six-mile public gallery of more than 400 photographs, starting in May 2010. More than than 70 store windows and surfaces form the gallery and stretch from the Minneapolis border to the Minnesota State Capitol. Large mural scale images on building walls will be visible for blocks. A spectacular Project(ion) site created by Northern Lights.mn will nightly project Wing’s images onto billboard-size screens, accompanied by recorded soundtracks from local musicians. Monthly live performances at the site will invite the community to present music, spoken word, new media and personal narratives.

Wing Young Huie is an award-winning photographer who has received international attention for his many projects that document the changing cultural landscape of his home state Minnesota. His best-known work is Lake Street USA, which in the summer and fall of 2000 transformed six miles of a well-known Minneapolis thoroughfare into one of the most remarkable public art projects in recent memory. His books include Lake Street USA (Ruminator Books, 2001), Looking For Asian America: An Ethnocentric Tour (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), and The University Avenue Project (available May 1, $12.95, Minnesota Historical Society Press.)

In 2005, artist Monica Haller, Iraq war veteran Riley Sharbanno and graphic designer Matthew Rezac began to organize Sharbanno’s photographs from his tour as a nurse at Abu Grahib prison. Three years later, their project became the book Riley and His Story, Me and My Outrage, You and Us. Now available in a limited edition from onestar press, the book is a gripping and challenging exploration of combat, trauma, and memory.

Says Haller, “The book is meant for many audiences. On the one hand, this book is engaged in an intellectual discussion surrounding war imagery by returning soldiers. This project is part of a larger conversation about socially engaged art practices and events. Educators in art, politics, and conflict mediation can use the book. On the topic of traumatic memory, the book has a home in the health and healing community. Perhaps most importantly, this book is an invitation to everyday U.S. citizens, including war veterans, family and friends, to speak and share openly with each other about their experiences of the war.”

Monica Haller’s work involves long-term collaborations with individuals and small groups, most often using photos, video and writing. Her work explores the way that people grapple, both psychologically and practically, with difficult transitions or traumatic situations, for example the transition from active military duty to civilian life, or the environmental and cultural devastation in New Orleans and back again. Her aesthetic practice aims to reactivate and amplify the materials and technologies her collaborators have turned to along the way. Haller’s recent projects with war veterans include Riley and His Story (2009, Onestar Press). Currently she is conducting workshops for veterans and their families where digital photo “libraries” are made manageable and material via the graphic temporal and narrative framing of the book format. Monica Haller has a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies, an MFA in Visual Studies and has received numerous grants and awards including McKnight, Bush and Jerome Fellowships.

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