At the NAG: Family Farms: A Tribute

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I stopped by the NAG gallery on Saturday afternoon to take a look at the Family Farms exhibit, with last summer's visit to the Closson family dairy farm south of town, part of the Sesquicentennial celebration, fresh in my mind. (My town-girl impression then: "Man, cows are big!" I'd never been so close to one before.)

The exhibit includes works by 14 local artists from about the last 50 years; the earliest work I noted was John Maakestad's "Cow Yard" (1958). I enjoyed Stephanie Henriksen's large standing cutout figures of a farm girl in overalls and a gardener with floppy hat and garden hose.

From this whimsical side, the works on display range to the political (Henriksen's suggestion box relating to regulation of livestock expansion, and Barbara Claussen's "Land Dispute" series of paintings) to the historical (David Kamis' "found object" -- patched coveralls bearing the Norris Milk name) to a wide range of drawn, painted, sculpted and photographed landscapes and other representations of farm life and equipment.

The exhibit is on view through February 10 and is sponsored by Minnesota COACT, Land Stewardship Project, Minnesota Farmers Union and Clean Water Action Alliance. A panel discussion on the topic "What is the Future for Family Farms?" will be held on Monday, January 30, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Northfield Arts Guild.