Tulsa Kids: Meet Philbrook’s New Director Scott Stulen

After launching a lengthy international search, the Scott Stulen was selected as Philbrook Museum of Art’s new director. Stulen’s top-notch experience, leadership and unique approach to engaging audiences with art hints at things to come.


TK: What are three adjectives that describe you?
Stulen: Passionate, Creative and Approachable


TK: Where were you employed prior to accepting the position at Philbrook, and what was your role?

Stulen: I was the Curator of Audience Experiences and Performance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the first position of its kind in the country. At IMA I created engaging (and often surprising) exhibitions and programs to connect new audiences with the museum collection and campus.


TK: What interested you about the director’s position at Philbrook?

Stulen: Many things. The beautiful campus, the uniquely positioned downtown space, financial stability, a dedicated board, talented staff, rich and diverse collection and all set inside a vibrant Midwestern city. But most importantly I have admired how Philbrook has become a community-focused institution, striving to be an innovator while embracing risk…precisely the place I want to work.


TK: I noticed from your Instagram page that you like Legos. Has this always been a favorite? When did your hobby begin?

Stulen: I have loved Legos since I was a kid. My favorite were the classic space Legos of the 1980s (think Benny from the Lego Movie). I would spend hours in my room crafting complicated narratives around my own creations, including LOTS of spaceships. As an adult, I like building architecture models (and get help from the boys). Recently I had one of my Lego models of the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana, in an exhibition of mid-century modern buildings. (The Miller House is an example of American modernism, designed by Eero Saarinen and Associates. A National Historic Landmark, the house and gardens are owned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.)

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Oklahoma Magazine: Closing Thoughts – Scott Stulen


The Philbrook Museum of Art has always been a community-focused institution, making Scott Stulen, who was named the museum’s new director in June, a great fit to lead the museum forward. Stulen formerly worked at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where he created the first curatorial department dedicated to audience experience in the U.S., and he plans to use that experience to continue and enhance Philbrook’s role as a cornerstone in Tulsa’s cultural community. We recently spoke with Stulen to get his thoughts on…


…what’s exciting about starting as director of Philbrook.

There are a lot of things. One is Philbrook is on the cutting edge of where the future of museums is going. I’ve been following the work of what they’re doing there for several years, and I’m excited to take it to the next chapter.


…expanding the programming available at the museum.

I really hope that we have at Philbrook a place people can come for very different experiences multiple times during the year. You might come for a holiday light show, then for a music festival and later for drinks and a movie with your friends. I think vibrant cultural institutions like museums should be a hub for those things. Philbrook has already been doing a lot of this, so I think the thing is to come in and enhance it and take it a little further.

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Spring Arts Guide: Thinking about innovation

Needless to say, there was a bit of a hubbub on social media. Two criticisms arose: One, the edgy ideas weren’t good or were offensive, and two, the museum shouldn’t be asking the public to help decide its shows. As in all debates between the new and the old, you could tell everyone’s opinion teetered between the camp of traditionalists and purists and the camp of edgy innovators.Too many people believe that something must be serious, honorable and unpopular, or frivolous and populist. But the country’s history is paved with influential artists who brought something new to the table — and captured the attention of millions.

Among the new things the IMA has brought to the table: a trivia night, movie nights, anInternet cat video festival, album listening parties, a video game-themed playable carand a concert for college students. These new events, many of them created under the helm of curator for audience experiences and performance Scott Stulen, coexist within the same artistic ecosystem as the museum’s fine arts exhibits.

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Philbrook Museum of Art Names New Director


The Philbrook Museum of Art’s board of trustees has announced that Scott Stulen, curator of audience experiences and performance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, has been appointed director. Stulen succeeds Rand Suffolk, who joined Atlanta’s High Museum of Art last fall. Stulen will take up the position in August.

Bill Thomas, chair of Philbrook’s board, said, “Not only is he regarded as one of the nation’s rising stars in art museum management, but he shares the Philbrook philosophy of an art museum’s role in society, which is to be open, community-centric, and inspirational.”

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Scott Stulen: The Exit Interview



Earlier this summer, Scott Stulen, Indianapolis Museum of Art Curator of Audience Experiences and Performance, announced his departure to become director of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Okla. The first week of August is his last at the museum, so we spoke with Stulen about some of his work and where the IMA is headed.


NUVO: What kind of things did you want to do at the IMA that you couldn’t because of the size of the institution?
Scott Stulen:
Yeah, I think it’s more just the speed. Not so much that you can’t, but I think those things will happen eventually. But looking at things like what hours we are open — some basic things like that. We need to be open more evenings to meet audiences. I think that’s eventually going to happen over there, but it’s something that just can’t happen overnight as much as I wish it could. The one thing that I kind of regret, that I won’t get a chance to do myself there is working on a pretty major exhibition that was going to be in 2017 that may still go forward without me … was going to be taking some of my programing ideas and putting them into a gallery. I think that’s something that kind of interesting. But it’s important for an institution like the IMA, is to figure out what do these different experiments look like. It’s one thing to do them outside or in the garden, but it’s a whole other thing to do them inside in the gallery, and what does that look like and what does that mean for an institution.

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Scott Stulen leaving IMA post to head Philbrook Museum of Art

Scott Stulen and Team

Scott Stulen, the enterprising curator who brought cat videos, mini-golf and college nights to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, will be leaving his job to become the director of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Okla.


He is the IMA’s curator of audience experiences and performance, a position that involves bringing in visitors through events and audience interaction. Best known for helping create the first Internet Cat Video Festival at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Stulen helmed more than 125 new programs at the IMA during a key time for the museum as it strives to expand its balance sheet and its appeal. Indianapolis-based independent curator Mindy Taylor Ross said Stulen successfully struck the balance between creating fun and serious offerings.”Scott was the first person here in town who was doing an interesting and good job at balancing entertainment with art,” she said. “All of us in the creative community understand the issue of ‘Who is the next generation of audiences and, beyond that, donors?'”

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Philbrook selects innovative new director

New Philbrook Museum Director Scott Stulen
Scott Stulen was named the Philbrook Museum of Art’s new executive director, the museum’s board of trustees announced Wednesday. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World


It was never just about cats.

Scott Stulen and Katie Hill, a colleague at the Walker Art Center, came up with an idea of taking examples of online content — videos that people typically watched alone, viewing them on smartphones and tablets — and curating an event in which these same images could be watched in a social setting.

“Cat videos just seemed to be an obvious choice,” Stulen said, laughing. “There were a lot of them out there, for one thing. But it wasn’t really about the content but sharing that experience, which is something we seem to be getting away from.”

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Museums Places of Child’s Play?


By Rob Peoni @RobPeoni
A recent study in the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy created a stir in the museum community. The reaction was spurred by coverage in the press, where attention-grabbing editorial tactics and divisive quotes from prominent artists misrepresented the author’s conclusion as a call to allow children to run free in museums. This reaction comes despite the fact that the museum served solely as the setting of the research, rather than the planned target of its results.

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Happy Mutant Smorgasbord: Scott Stulen at TEDx Indianapolis

Humor can get us through the workday, but for play, we need other people and the willingness to suspend all self-consciousness with them. Scott Stulen shares lessons gathered from Open Field, a three-year experiment in participation and public space at the Walker Art Center. From Live Action Role Playing to a weekly drawing club, to an Internet Cat Video Festival, Open Field is rooted in the idea that we need to learn and practice being together through playing, sharing, creating, conversing, daydreaming, and socializing.


Indy Like a Local: Scott Stulen



Who is Scott?
Audience Experiences curator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA).

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CHAMPION OF INNOVATION: Curator takes risks at IMA

Scott Stulen (Visit Indy)

by Lou Harry
May 30, 2015

Scott Stulen admits much of what he’s doing as the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s first curator of audience experiences and performance isn’t what people expect from a cultural museum. “Museums have become very, very systematized,” said the man who produced the Internet Cat Video Festival at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center. “Things are so thought out, so planned, so tested, that you know exactly what audience members are going to do or not do. There’s no room for deviation.”“But when you’re out of control—when you don’t control the narrative anymore—that’s what’s really exciting,” he said. “That’s where true innovation comes from.”
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IMA turns car into giant ‘Pole Position’ video game


The Indianapolis Museum of Art is the first museum to turn a car into an Atari controller — and you’re invited to take the driver’s seat. In a project that will excite gamers and gearheads alike, the IMA invited car writer and artist Jason Torchinsky to partially gut a 1983 Lancia and rewire the car so it can play “Pole Position,” the classic arcade game that helped pioneer the driving game genre. “Basically, the whole car is a controller that plugs into the Atari,” he said on Wednesday at the IMA, sweating under the hood as he turned over a mercury sensor in his hand. Starting Friday, participants can sit inside the car and enter a real-life-meets-virtual world — one in which pixelated turf and race cars zoom past in a giant screen overhead.

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INDY STAR: ARTx 2015-16 Season Preview


The Indianapolis Museum of Art unveiled Wednesday more than 70 events for the second year of its ARTx series, public programming that ranges from a fashion-design competition and modern dance performance to an art trivia challenge and a screening of “Boyz n the Hood.” We spotlight 10 attention-grabbing events below

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Mixing Up the Art Scene: Scott Stulen

Cardboard Fort Building at IMA Family Day

“Different audiences are wanting to consume art in a different way than our culture has been consuming in the past. And we can do it without compromising the core mission of the institution. The arts can sometimes take themselves too seriously.”

Scott Stulen is changing the way people view art in Indianapolis. The Curator of Audience Experiences and Performance is bringing more interaction to the IMA through new events and activities. Kate Wickwire sat down with Scott to discuss how the IMA is changing and what is on the horizon for the museum.  

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Inaugural Indy Art Swap

Trade your art for art. The Inaugural Indy Art Swap invites you to bring artwork, your own creation or just part of your collection, to trade with other collectors and appreciators. Part of the annual IMA Summer Solstice Giant Picnic Community Day, this unique twist on an art fair, welcomes artwork of all genres and vintages. If you call it art, it is fair game to be swapped.

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Winter Nights: FARGO

Winter Nights Fargo 2015

The Indianapolis Museum of Art held a special winter movie night for the first time ever Friday.

Guests were invited to bring folding chairs and blankets to sit outside in the Alliance Sculpture Court for a screening of “Fargo.” The man behind the idea is the museum’s director who is from Minnesota. He said along with the “Fargo” theme, you are encouraged to dress like a Minnesotan to embrace the cold. “We are going to have a Minnesota accent contest, somewhat kind of related to the film. We are having a Minnesota dress contest so people can interpret that however they like. We are also having a Minnesota trivia contest,” said Scott Stulen, IMA curator of Audience Experiences and Performance. Any audience member who can provide documented proof that they lived in Minnesota will receive priority seating and VIP service for the screening.


Open Field




From June to September, Open Field transforms the Walker Art Center’s big, green yard into a cultural commons. The space is designed in the spirit of the “gift economy,” to explore what happens when people get together to share and exchange skills and interests, to create something new, or delve into the unknown.

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WestMusings – #EPICWIN: How I Won the Internet by Taking it Offline

Scott Stulen has many responsibilities at Walker Art Center, including playing a leadership role in their essential public-facing offering Open Field, a lead organizer of the Cat Video Festival, and Director for mnartists.org. He elaborates on his work in his artist statement explaining, ““I am interested in how popular culture bonds with fragments of memory to create unexpected connections and points of entry, which linger decades later. I am fascinated in how familiar, yet isolated references can be combined to create a new experience, which is both personal, but strangely out of context.? Scott discussed his role in community building with the Cat Video Festivals in his presentation #EPICWIN: How I Won the Internet by Taking it Offline.

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E is for Equinox

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A one-time-only public sculpture, performance and sound installation— E is for Equinox—from Grammy-nominated musician and Indianapolis-based artist Stuart Hyatt. The ephemeral, powerful performance consisted of a circle of 75 electric guitar players simultaneously strumming the E major power cord over a two minute period. The cord gradually became louder, transforming the surrounding woods into a supercharged sonic volcano, before reaching maximum volume and intensity. This performance was curated by Scott Stulen as part of the IMA’s Fall Equinox event.

Silent Night: Personal DJ Project

Silent Night

Explore the joy of silence on what is traditionally the wildest, most hectic weekend of the holiday season. Relax with low pressure activities as an alternative to fighting crowds at shopping malls. Take some slow-looking tours around the galleries, listen in on a headphone concert, enjoy a reading room, massage and meditation spaces. Park your cell phone with our Phone Valet to avoid distraction from this reprieve in your busy holiday schedule.

Office of Art Grievances


The Office of Art Grievances is a project by the Public Programs team at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The Office provides a system for the public to formally file a complaint against “Art,” either generally or specifically. The formal compliant is then processed and forwarded to the Office of Art Resolutions, where an official will attempt to remedy the art-related issue. All complaints are then permanently filed. The offices will take the form of two desks located on opposite axes of Monument Circle, and be staffed by IMA curators and programmers during business hours of the festival. The project creates a feedback loop between audience and institution, and an opportunity to examine the things about art that cause us distress and angst. #greivanceoffice

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Experts take to panel to discuss both public, juried top 20

On Monday, October 6 art experts lead the conversation around the public and juried top 20 ArtPrize candidates for 3-dimensional and time-based categories.

Panelists (from left) Scott Stulen, Paddy Johnson and Miranda Lash

/Christopher John Wilson

Panelists (from left) Scott Stulen, Paddy Johnson and Miranda Lash

With ArtPrize into its final lap, the discussions are starting to heat up. Serving to foster dialog about the importance of art and culture and the impact that an event as unique as ArtPrize can have on a local community, “Why These Finalists” provided a panel of arts experts to look at the work selected by both jurors and the public in the 3D and Time-Based categories. 

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Cereal Cinema Saturdays at the IMA


When I was a kid, Saturday mornings were meant for giant bowls of cereal and cartoons.” — Annessa Chumbley

Beginning this January, parents and kids are invited to experience Cereal Cinema, a unique family-friendly experience created by the Indy Film Fest, The Athenaeum and the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). Cereal Cinema features the two things every family needs on a Saturday morning – a classic movie that the whole family can enjoy and a cereal bar! The collaborative project will begin Saturday, January 3 and continue every first Saturday of the month at 10 a.m.

Families will have the opportunity to explore two cultural locations: The Athenaeum Indianapolis and the IMA. Cereal Cinema will alternate between the two cultural locations every other month. Tickets will be sold for $5 each, and includes admission to the film, as well as the cereal buffet. Parents can now buy tickets at www.indyfilmfest.org.

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Off The Wall: Scott Stulen at the IMA


Ahem. Make that Thursday. Thursday, December 11, to be precise. That’s when the Indianapolis Museum of Art will host its first-ever Monster Drawing Rally. There will be no pyrotechnics or metal-crushing action, but an ego or two might get bruised. A fundraiser for a new IMA endowment for educational programming, the Monster Drawing Rally will feature 60-plus local artists working in three one-hour shifts (at 6, 7, and 8 p.m.), creating as many original drawings as they can in their allotted time. Each drawing will sell for a flat fee of $35. Attendance is free.

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ArtX 1$1 million grant from The Efroymson Family Fund will support innovative museum programs and initiatives through 2018

Indianapolis Museum of Art is excited to announce the inventive new ARTx series, made possible with a $1 million gift from The Efroymson Family Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF).

The ARTx series was developed by the IMA’s first-ever curator of audience experiences and performance, Scott Stulen, and offers smart, dynamic and highly interactive experiences for audiences on the IMA campus and within the local community. The robust lineup features new public programming and community initiatives, along with enhancements to existing campus programs and events. New offerings such as Grown-up Summer Camp, Art Crossfit and Avant Brunch continue to strengthen the IMA’s reputation for quality experiences and intellectual rigor, while creating playful and unexpected points of access for a variety of audiences.

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IMA ARTx Launch Program 11.6.14


Indianapolis Museum of Art is excited to announce the inventive new ARTx series, made possible with a $1 million gift from The Efroymson Family Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF).

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IMA ready to experiment with bad flicks, speed drawing: Indy Star

Fate Conference 2015

It’s no time to be passive, says museum’s first curator of audience experiences.

Not knowing how the public will react to one of his unconventional ideas is no problem for Scott Stulen. As the first-ever curator of audience experiences and performance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Stulen is paid to program events that are engaging, provocative and far from routine. Failure, at times, is part of the process.”You’re setting up a platform for something that could happen,” he said. “Sometimes it works, and sometimes it obviously doesn’t.”

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SOCIAL PRACTICE: An Interview with Scott Stulen


By Shelby Gilliland:

How would you define social practice as an art form?

I think social practice is a general term we’ve assigned to a lot of work that is performative and event based but I think it’s a very loose definition. For the purposes of this conversation it includes a whole range of work that is socially based and performative. The unifying elements are that the work has a collaborative nature and it takes place in the social realm — the public sphere — and needs public participation. It’s not an object, although it can include objects, but it needs people. 1990s installation work included anything that wasn’t sculpture and in some ways social practice is at the same stage now. A lot of this work has been happening for decades, going back to the 1950s and 1960s, going back to Fluxus. With the recent interest in defining social practice as a distinct discipline, and there is interest by young artists who are willing to define themselves in this practice. Another of the new developments is the increase in funding streams for this type of practice, which have not been in place in the past.

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Five Wild Ideas to Make Indy Better

Winter Nights Fargo 2015

An All-Night Projection Festival

By Scott Stulen, Curator of audience experience and performance at the IMA

Screens are a ubiquitous presence in our daily lives, providing a constant backdrop in public spaces and a beckoning distraction on our smartphones. Our screen-filled environment provides a stream of vital information, but also becomes white noise, ever-present but unconsidered. What if, for one night, our screens became more than hosts for endless replays of SportsCenter and cat videos? Imagine a night illuminated by 10-story video projections on downtown buildings; secret, location-based cell phone viewing parties; stadium scoreboard takeovers; and entire sports bars becoming art-house cinemas. My idea is to launch an innovative, flagship cultural event for Indianapolis that becomes a source of civic pride.

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6 More Bleeding-Edge Museum Technocrats to Watch

Scott Stulen and Team


MUSEUM: Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA)
POSITION: Curator of Audience Experiences and Performance (first to hold this title)
WHAT HE DOES: Leading a team of four, Stulen curates events at the museum, from traditional lectures to adventurous performance interventions staged across the sprawling 100-acre premises. Think of his position as the marriage of a time-based art curator with art historical training and a public programmer tasked with engaging audiences of all stripes. He started five weeks ago, so even he is still figuring out what he does at the IMA.

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Q with Jian Ghomeshi: Defending the Artistic Merit of Cat Videos


of2012cats0830_ Open Field, International Cat Video Festival, August 30, 2012. A live, off-line event as we attempt to gather in physical space and real time to enjoy one of the internetÕs most popular phenomena. The nightÕs festivities start at 4 pm with Death Metal Drawing Club with mnartists.org, and Ò_____________ is what we make togetherÓ Open Field letterpress poster printing with Lunalux, and then live music from Brain Laidlaw and the Family Trade starting at 7 pm! Community partners Feline Rescue, Animal Humane Society, and The Wildcat Sanctuary, will also have a presence at the event.
The world’s first Internet Cat Video Festival was a massive success at the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, where thousands congregated to watch videos typically considered guilty pleasures to be watched alone.

Now, the crowd-pleasing, sincerely-programmed event is coming to Canada as the Just For Cats Festival, premiering tonight at a sold out show in Toronto.


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THE GUARDIAN: What’s new, pussycat? The growing economy of internet cat videos

The Grumpy Cat book has spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list.

BY STUART DREDGE The economy of internet cat videos? Yes, it’s a real thing. The Internet Cat Video Festival? Another real thing. A “meme manager” whose job is to build online brands for Keyboard Cat, Nyan Cat and Grumpy Cat? Oh yes, he’s real too.

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Glory Days: Six Gen X men revisit their adolescence

Bored and Old

SOUTH BEND — How are the boys of Generation X doing now that their adolescence is over? Based on the works in the exhibition “Arrested Development,” adolescence isn’t necessarily a distant memory for some of them. Nor is it a cause for nostalgia. The exhibition, which continues through Friday in the Little Theatre and Sister Rosaire Galleries in the Moreau Center for the Arts on the Saint Mary’s College campus, contains works by six male artists whose teenage years encompassed the 1980s and ’90s. In one way or another, all six artists appropriate pop culture images in their work, some at an ironic detachment, others more warmly and intellectually.

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The Internet is Cats: A Dispatch From The Chicago Internet Cat Video Festival

Illustration by Emily Haasch.

Illustration by Emily Haasch.


There is something inherently voyeuristic about watching the cat videos that populate our social media feeds, YouTube favorites and email chains. Cats are private creatures by nature, but to show their antics (or lack thereof) can be a budding filmmaker’s chance to courageously tackle the trickiest kind of film: home movies.

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ARTINFO/IN THE AIR: IMA Names Scott Stulen as First-Ever Curator of Audience Experiences and Performance


The  Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) has tapped Scott Stulen to be the museum’s first-ever curator of audience experiences and performance. Created by IMA Director and CEO Charles Venable, the position “will develop a strategic vision for innovative public programming” in the museum’s galleries, theaters, and nature park.

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INDYSTAR: Scott Stulen’s love of cat videos made him an art museum sensation, but he’s no one-trick kitty.


Scott Stulen’s love of cat videos made him an art museum sensation, but he’s no one-trick kitty.

Newly hired as the first-ever curator of audience experiences and performance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Stulen’s assignment is to attract attendees to the museum’s galleries as well as 100 Acres art and nature park, Tobias Theater, outdoor amphitheater and Lilly House and gardens.

His track record at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis includes the surprise success of the Internet Cat Video Festival, which brought 10,000 people together in a field in 2012 and then 11,000 paying customers at the 2013 Minnesota State Fair.

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Scott Stulen Appointed as Curator of Audience Experiences and Performance at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Scott Stulen and Team

Newly Created Position at the IMA Will Create New Programming in Collaboration with Curators Across Departments 

February 10, 2014, Indianapolis, IN— Dr. Charles L. Venable, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, announced today that Scott Stulen has been named the Museum’s first curator of audience experiences and performance—a brand new position at the IMA developed by Venable to foster innovative and expanded opportunities for audience engagement. Stulen will begin on March 17.

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The Internet Cat Video Festival

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Isn’t not about watching cat videos, it’s about watching cat videos together

The world’s first Internet Cat Video Festival at the Walker Art Center in August of 2012 was an unparalleled and unexpected success. Crowds flocked to the lawn of the Walker to watch a curated selection of Internet felines with fellow cat lovers. The New York Times reported: “You could hear the meows nearly a block away, and also the “awwws.” The laughter too…An estimated 10,000 people turned out for an event that was, from its inception to its closing credits, an online meme made flesh (and fur).”  Since its stunning debut, the festival has inspired hundreds of news headlines worldwide, launched international tour and has become the premiere festival for Internet Cat Videos. The second edition of the Festival, in August 2013, drew over 11,000 to the Minnesota State Fair and launched a second tour including sold out stops in Brooklyn, Chicago, Oakland, Portland, Memphis and overseas to Vienna, Athens, Jerusalem and Northern Ireland. 

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DESK: Revolver + Paper Darts at Soo Local

Scott Stulen: Desk

Ten artists and writers attack the same desk*. One attack per hour. Each a construction/deconstruction/reconstruction/resurrection & palimpsest. Anything goes**.

It is a place of toil: bills paid, taxes prepared. Across the desk people are hired, fired, told they have cancer. The lives of millions have been signed away on desks.

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WACTAC: Don’t Sleep on It

Eight groups of artists in a 24-hour art-making marathon surrounded by Minneapolis Art-A-Whirl madness. Participating artists include Burlesque Design, Erik Burke, Mike Fitzsimmons, Andy Ducett, John Grider, Hardland/Heartland, Liz Miller, Kristina Mooney, Chris Pennington, Brett Smith, Erin Smith, and Scott Stulen.

Co-presented by the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council and mnartists.org.

Every Hole’s a Piece of Art In This Mini Golf Course

18 Holes in One


In their own way, a lot of miniature golf courses—with their twisting layouts, devious obstacles, and over-the-top designs—can be considered art. Even if their sole purpose is to encourage tourists to pay to knock a ball around. But this spring the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden decided to join forces to take the idea of minigolf as art even further by hiring artists, architects, engineers, and students to design the museum’s annual artist-made minigolf course, Walker on the Green.

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mnartists FIELD DAY


After last year’s rousing success, mnartists.org Field Day returns!  This year promises a fresh slate of events and activities celebrating local artists and art supporters. Join the fun after work, or better yet, take the day off: Everyone is welcome, and mnartists.org members receive free gallery admission all day. In a summer bursting with exciting, intriguing and unexpected events on the Walker Open Field…..Field Day is sure deliver something for everyone.

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Nancy Rexroth: Iowa

Nancy Rexroth
Rochester Art Center – M
arch 10 – April 29, 2007

Curated by Scott Stulen

First published in 1977 Rexroth’s Iowa is a series of small black and white photographs shot between 1970 and 1976 using a cheap plastic “Diana” camera. Titled Iowa, though shot mostly in southern Ohio, Rexroth’s work recalls childhood family trips into Iowa and her mistaken assumption that the whole Midwest was called Iowa. Filled with a feeling of unmistakable familiarity her hazy tinted images capture universal themes of place and time far beyond the Midwest of the early 1970’s. Purposely nostalgic, thou never sentimental, Rexroth’s work reveals the deeper psychology within her simple subject matter. Now over three decades later, Rexroth’s photographs continue to resonate, influencing generations of photographers.

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That’s The News (and I am out of here)

nelson 2

Jonathan Nelson
Found Sound Collage (3:47), 2007
Curated by Scott Stulen

I had fallen asleep watching Saturday Night Live. The year was 1991. I was around sixteen years old and had come to identify with that year’s cast for some reason. It was not the first time I had dreamt about the show.

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Music for Parking Garages


Part of a two week residency by Los Angeles based Machine Project, Music for Parking garages teamed Los Angeles and Minneapolis musicians to create site-specific sound works for the Walker Art Center’s parking garage. The pieces created a warm ambient environment for visitors as they parked their cars, stopped in to listen, or even napped to the music. The audience lounged in bean bag chairs, backseats or strolled through the space experiencing the acoustical charm of the parking structure.

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SXSW 2014: Cat Cash. The Economy of Internet Cat Videos


Saturday, March 8 
5:00PM – 6:00PM

Austin Convention Center
Room 12AB

Cat videos are no longer just an entertaining distraction between emails and facebook posts; they are now an economic force. In just the past year cat video “cat-lebrities” have inked movie and book deals, inspired touring festivals and are charting out new territory on web TV. What makes cat videos different from other YouTube sensations? Feline flicks transcend language and culture and have demonstrated an unrivaled traction with audiences; with many cat video stars moving successfully from fleeting meme to established brand. This panel of experts and entrepreneurs will discuss how cat videos are making the leap from YouTube to becoming an effective and genuine vehicle for fundraising, marketing, commerce and audience engagement. This session will include cat videos. The track is sponsored by the Knight Foundation.

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SXSW 2013: #catvidfest Is This the End of Art?


On August 30th, 2012 over 10,000 people gathered at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis for the first Internet Cat Video Festival (#catvidfest). What began as a social experiment testing the boundaries of online communities and crowd-sourcing content resulted in attention from local, national, and international audiences and press and raised public debate around the role of museums in an internet culture. Fractious questions were raised about the relevancy or ridiculousness of the event and the role of the curator in a crowd-sourced environment. Using #catvidfest as a case study, we will question what it means for a museum to reflect contemporary culture in the era of YouTube, explore the challenges traditional institutions face engaging online audiences and share what we learned from transforming a solitary online viewing experience into a real world social event. This session will include cat videos.

FLUX / Art+Music

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The Rochester Art Center is home to Flux, a music, art and performance happening featuring house DJ Scott Stulen along with monthly guest artists. For each Flux a new music, art or dance performer opens the evening followed by music spun by house and guest DJs. Enjoy the views of downtown while meeting with friends and experiencing exciting new music and performances.

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A 3 day live action role playing event. Local artists and players from across the state come together to participate in the Corporate Wizard’s weekend adventure.


Working closely with Minnesota LARP-ers, artist Erik Ullanderson and The Soap Factory present a weekend of adventure, The Amazing Adventures of the Corporate Wizard in the Land of LARP. The Soap Factory comes to life as LARP-ers unfold their quests in the vivid environments designed by local and national artists.

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Analog Tweets



Interactive technology that takes it slow and fast at the same time – The Walker Art Center created analog tweets for the 2012 American Association of Museums Annual Meeting & Museum Expo in Minneapolis.

The idea – You write it, we tweet it. The analog tweet system was created in partnership with Lunalux’s Jenni Undis. It’s a system for connecting with people but done on two very different scales – There is an in-person one-to-one exchange of hand written messages with lovely letterpressed card. Those notes then get sent out to the great wide twittersphere of Walker’s twitter & facebook followers. So that’s one in-person smile and a message out to roughly two thousand people at the same time.

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Northern Spark: Nightshift


Walker Art Center and Open Field
10pm June 4th – 6am June 5th, 2011

The Walker Art Center’s contribution to the Northern Spark Festival explores quiet, intimate experiences and nocturnal activities within public and communal space.  Nightshift presents a range of activities spread throughout the Walker Art Center and Open Field including live headphone concerts in the James Turrell SkyPesher, bedtime stories with local writers, stargazing, choreographed and impromptu sleep position performances and many more surprises.  The Walker galleries and building amenities will be open for late night viewing and relaxation. The programming will close with fresh donuts delivered at sunrise.

Nightshift is presented partnership with mnartists.org and Rain Taxi Review of Books.

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Tuckunder Projects: Afternoon Delight


Afternoon Delight/Curated by Jehra Patrick & Scott Stulen. 
Featuring work by Alexa Horochowski, Andy Messerschmidt, Jason Pearson, Neal Perbix, Erika Ritzel, and Kurtis Skaife.  
Thursday, September 20 – October 21, 2012.

Afternoon Delight explores the aesthetics of the domestic, collective experience and the lingering memories attached to personal possessions.  The six artists included in this exhibition subtly reference the site, a white-wall gallery space situated in a SW Minneapolis garage. In this context homogeneously suburban objects take on a new symbolism: A crocheted brick wall juxtaposed with a drawing on wood paneling suggest the intimate environ of a family rec-room; stacked porn resting on doilies at an estate sale elude to delicate line between public with private lives; square serial paintings become stand-ins for album art and the iconic decoration of tall ships suggesting both kitsch and hipster irony. Much like the melodrama and psychology of browsing personal effects at a garage sale, Afternoon Delight positions the viewer as a tourist, both creating personal association and repulsion through intimate household objects and domestic voyeurism.

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The Bearded What

The Bearded What

In the summer of 2009, five artists from the Midwest formed a collaborative art group called “The Bearded What.” This collaborative is based on a combined interest in popular culture, art making, and Heavy Metal music.  According to critic Jon Pareles of the New York Times, “heavy metal is a major subspecies of hard-rock—the breed with less syncopation, less blues, more showmanship and more brute force.” The lyrical themes often address dark and depressing subject matter, death, occult references, and Nordic myths through aggressive lyrics and imagery.  Similarly, the artists of “The Bearded What” share a graphic and aggressive approach to art making.  Though the work of each artist gravitates toward different categories of Metal, tight connections remain within each member’s production.  Whether directly borrowing from Metal song lyrics, logos or bands, or more broadly from themes of the counter culture, death, and decay, each artist merges their influences in a richly layered and visually saturated style.  

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Scott Stulen | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 11

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

“I give my parents credit. They would always be supportive of my work even if they didn’t understand it.”

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ARTNEWS: Now Putt This: Artists’ Mini Golf at the Walker


BY  POSTED 06/11/13

Carefully putt your golf ball around two massive wheelbarrows and then, using lifesize foosball players dressed as garden gnomes, guide the ball down the green and into the hole. This set of obstacles, designed by artistsBryanSusanne, and Nicola Carpenter, is one of 15 playful, funny, and even interactive holes constructed for this year’s mini-golf course in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center. Titled “Walker on the Green,” the course is open through September 8, and local artists and architects conceived each hole.

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Scott Stulen: New American Paintings

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Region: Midwest

I work within the space between memory and the patterned landscape of popular culture. Emerging from a foggy haze of childhood memories, my work is a delicately woven fabric of images, associations, and stories, a reconstruction of faint memories filtered through the “cabin culture” aesthetic of my childhood home and the landscape of the Midwest. My work is a reconstruction of memory, and the awkward, often false, associations within. I investigate fictitious memories often substituted for actual experience. For example, a memory based not on a pure recollection but derived from a photograph of a place or event. 

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Interview with Internet Cat Video Festival’s Scott Stulen

Lil Bub will be just one of the many celebrities on hand for this years Internet Cat Video Festival. (Mike Bridavsky)

  1. LISTEN 

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Catalog Projects: Fire Works (2012)


Minneapolis based Catalog Project’s (Scott Stulen and Ruben Nusz) debut event titled Fire Works. For this exhibition and performance, six established Minnesota artists were asked to sculpt three-dimensional wooden objects, which will be unveiled in the Cargill Lounge of the Walker Art Center to kick off the evening.  Then, in the spirit of Alan Kaprow, the art objects for this one night exhibition and performance will not be accumulated by the institution but rather liberated by a sacrificial act of burning. Thus providing an opportunity to investigate our cultural tendencies toward acquisition while emphasizing a visceral experience of the present moment. The action begins at 11pm with a single sculpture removed from the exhibition, broken down and burned in the campfire on the Walker Open Field.  Over the next four hours all the remaining pieces will follow, leaving only the documentation and the memory behind.  To follow the projects evolution throughout the night follow us on twitter @openfield

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For immediate release: April 15th, 2009

Studio #456

Northrup King Building

1500 Jackson Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413


“Artists should never compromise their integrity, morality and principles in exchange for money, success or personal gain” states Wikipedia or as conceptual artist Jenny Holzer cynically states “money creates taste”. At SELLOUT gallery we believe that artists can sell art without compromising their vision. Seriously.

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DJ Black Lacquer


DJ Black Lacquer (Scott Stulen) is a Minneapolis based DJ and artist who spins tracks you didn’t even know you love….but you do. He specializes in electro-pop, indie rock, 80’s synth and anything by New Order. He is a co-creator of FLUX and performs regularly throughout the Upper Midwest.

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Objects For Consideration

photo 2

Saturday, February 8, 2014-6-9PM
Show Runs: February 8 – March 22, 2014
Soo Vac, Minneapolis, MN

Co-curated by Chris Larson and Chris Groth

The 44 small objects in the exhibition “Objects for consideration” are not works of art and should not be confused as such. They are important objects that live in artist studios, often collected or found but not made by the artist as works of art. They hint at a process, give only a glimpse of reference and linger in our periphery. These peculiar objects are typically small, picked up, studied, saved for reasons of curiosity or mystery and placed on a shelf in the artist studio.

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NEW YORK TIMES: Cats Are Works of Art (but You Knew That)

Rolling out the (yawn) red carpet: The Internet Cat Video Festival, created by the Walker Art Center, has its New York debut on Friday. (Above, a screening at the Minnesota State Fair in August.)

Published: October 24, 2013

THE video reel opens with a big cat squeezing itself into a narrow-mouthed urn, a miniature comedy that ends with the cat’s tail poking sinuously out the top. Later, there is a poignant encounter between ahair dryer and a blind kitten, which flails its paws at the heat, wind and noise. Elsewhere, a black cat plays the villain, rudely swatting a pill bottle off a dresser, then turning to the camera to deliver a contemptuous yawn.

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#BIKEVIDFEST: Bike-In Video Festival (2013)

Bike-In Video Festival(#bikevidfest)
Co-presented by Aurora Picture Show in collaboration with Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Curator Scott Stulen of Walker Art Center
Saturday, November 2nd, 6:30PM
Sesquicentennial Park, Houston TX

Tighten your helmet straps, oil your gears and add some more bike lights for the “Bike-In Video Festival” at Sesquicentennial Park.  Presented by Whole Foods Market, in partnership with Aurora Picture Show, with collaboration by Buffalo Bayou Partnership, this free outdoor film screening will feature artist-made short-length films and videos celebrating bike culture curated by Scott Stulen of the Walker Arts Center.  Inspired by the popularity of the 2012 Scoot-In and 2009 Junkyard Drive-In, Aurora Picture Show has organized this “wheels to reels” presentation in a communal setting to create both a social experience and a film festival. All two-wheel loving Houstonians are invited to bring their ride (scooters, bicycles, unicycles, and tricycles) to the 500 Block of Preston (between Bagby and Smith) at 6:30PM for a one-of-a-kind film screening experience along the bayou.

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Stuff I made in my couch fort and my continuing obsession with Bridget Riley



Cultural or shared memory, based on relationships specific to images, politics, texts or other popular media, has the distinct capacity to develop into fiction or fabrication, eschewing an impartial “truth” and creating subjective narrative forms.  Based on these conditional cultural creations, how does one differentiate between an “authentic” memory and the “constructed,” and recognize the impact this consideration has on our reading of history and understanding of the individual’s place within?  In the text Postproduction: Culture as Screenplay/How Art Reprograms the World, author Nicholas Bourriaud states: “ It is no longer a matter of elaborating a form on the basis of a raw material but working with objects that are already in circulation on the cultural market, which is to say, objects already informed by other objects.  Notions of originality (being at the origin of) and even of creation (making something from nothing) are slowly blurred in this new cultural landscape marked by the twin figures of the DJ and the programmer, both of whom have the task of selecting cultural objects and inserting them into new contexts.” 1

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Artist Designed Mini Golf

artist designed mini golf


To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Walker delivers a fresh round of mini golf. Garden gnomes masquerading as foosball strikers, a scale model of a French chateau, mazes, gopher holes, and contours mapped from the course at the legendary Augusta National Golf Club are just a few ingredients going into the 2013 edition of the artist-designed course. And purists, worry not: at least one hole includes a kitschy, oversize watering can.

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MN Original: Scott Stulen

Visual artist Scott Stulen gives MN Original audiences the lowdown on being a creative person and someone who encourages others to be creative on the mnartists.org website. Scott talks about his inspirations, his love of pop culture images, his passion for music, and DJ’ing.

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Scott Stulen – Department of Art Alumnus

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Community Supported Art (CSA)


I helped develop and implement the Community Supported Art Program. Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy seasonal food directly from local farms. With the same buy-direct, buy-local spirit in mind,mnartists.org and Springboard for the Arts created a similar endeavor to support local art, artists, and collectors. Community Supported Art is an exciting new model of art support and distribution that supports artists in the creation of new work and establishes relationships with local collectors and patrons.

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Artist Statement

My work explores the fleeting nature of memory through painting and sculpture.  I am interested in personal and shared cultural memory; the repetition and meditation involved in nostalgic remembering and partial truth recalled as authentic experience.  The sources for my work come from film, photography, video clips, interior design brochures, album covers and fragments of borrowed visual culture from endless Internet searches.  The resulting work flips between materials, genres and styles, to create pieces, which are simultaneously alluring, yet at odds with popular ideas of “good taste”.

A Theory of Values


Theory of Values

Featuring: Ute Bertog, Jennifer Danos, John Fleischer, Isa Gagarin, Caroline Kent, Chris Larson, Dustin Larson, Kirk McCall, Megan McCready, Andy Messerschmitt, Lester B. Morrison, Jesikah Orman, Joe Smith, Bruce Tapola, Karl Unnasch, Aaron Van Dyke.

Curated by: Kris Douglas and Scott Stulen
This exhibition will present a focused survey of Minnesota’s most innovative contemporary visual artists. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from a short story written by Minnesota-born author Sinclair Lewis, in which the protagonist initially wants not to “rot away in this dull, little town and die unheard of” but instead aspires to transcend his surroundings and “do something in and for the world.” In the story, Lewis considers notions of “value” as related to personal and cultural conditions surrounding place and location. The works selected for this exhibition similarly explore place, yet are not bound by regionalism. This exhibition further attempts to define commonalities in critical artistic practice at the particular time. Consequently, this exhibition includes a tightly focused group of artists working within a similar conceptual framework. In keeping with the mission of The Soap Factory, this exhibition promotes experimentation and risk-taking, offers audiences a real and immediate experience of the arts, and encourages a wider understanding of and appreciation for artists and their work.


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Open Field Drawing Club

of2011ns0604_002The spirit of Drawing Club is built on sharing, collaboration and social experience of art making.

Here is how it works: Drawing Club meets every week under the trees outside the Bazinet Lobby in the Open Field Grove. Members of the public are invited to join with local artists, grab a pencil and share their contributions. All supplies are provided. The center of each table will contain the working pool of pieces (including works in progress from prior weeks). You can start a new drawing, slide it back into pool, pass it around, alter, edit, and amend it until the group declares each piece complete. The finished works will be collected and displayed throughout the summer in our completed portfolios. What can beat making art under a grove of trees with a cold drink!

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Acoustic Campfire (2011)

Acoustic Campfire01

A great way to wind-down after Target Free Thursday Nights. Close out the evening with local musicians performing intimate acoustic sets. Join in a sing-along or just take in the music while savoring a summer sunset.

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Headphone festival is shared, but isolated. experience



by Sea Stachura, Minnesota Public Radio

It isn’t often that you need to bring your own equipment to an art gallery. But headphones are required for the Sound Art Festival Friday at the Rochester Art Center.

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Well, what can I say more in praise of this artist than these images have not already told you? It’s clear that something is still true about painting – and was used successfully by the likes of Warhol and Rauschenberg: – it can create a vivid, true overview of our society.

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Local Artist Interviews: Scott Stulen


Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I am working on several new projects related to how mythologies are constructed and disseminated and the manufactured memory. This has taken the form of a new series of monochrome paintings, both abstract and figurative based on found snapshots, death metal, 80’s baseball cards and houseplants. I am moving into more nuanced approaches to painting than some of my more graphic and cartoon-ish past work. My newer work is less “bright” in palette and tone than my past work. Less Arturo Herrera and more Luc Tuymans.

I have also been very interested in the connections between “art work” (the labor and need to make a living) and “artwork” (the objects created and exhibited). The current upcoming exhibition (Hot 3-way Action) speaks to this in a way by exposing the artists studio as both a place of production and business office.

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Pitfalls of Parenting


Scott Stulen, painter, writer, sculpter, dj, and father talks about how being a multidisciplinary artist who thinks about creating experiences for audiences informs the kind of experiences he wants to create for his son. Scott shares how teachers have shaped his art practice and career starting with a 3rd grade teacher and about how being the director of mnartists.org influences his work and home life. Also, Scott shares how the often narrow fine arts career tracks can push an artist in impossible to plan for directions.

Listen to the Podcast here »

A Theory of Values



The Soap Factory’s 2010 biennial show, “A Theory of Values,” is all about place, states co-curator Scott Stulen.

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MN Original to throw launch party in Mears Park


​In celebration of their first run of episodes, MN Original is hosting a launch party next month in Mears Park that will feature (naturally) great music and art from the community. Three bands that have been featured on the series — Nachito Herrera, Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps, and the Mad Ripple Hootenanny — will perform, and local artists Mary Griep, Scott Stulen, Calpurnia Peach, Andy Ducett, Doug Padilla, Graham Petersburgh, Melba Price, and Bruce Tapola will set up a “Drawing Club” during the event and invite attendees to create art alongside them.

Source: CityPages.com

The Critics’ Show

By Jessica Armbruster Wednesday, Jan 14 2009
It’s true that outlets for art criticism around town may be dwindling, but that doesn’t mean that art itself is, nor does it mean that there is a dearth of art critics. “The Critics’ Show” demonstrates precisely that where there is art, there also a critic ready to expound on it in the most poetic and enthusiastic way possible.

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Internet Cat Video Film Festival purrs into Minnesota

Cat-meme lovers unite for a meowing—or wowing—first-ever event
By Erika Wolf Wednesday, Aug 29 2012


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Curator and Artist Scott Stulen Appointed Project Director for Online Resource mnartists.org

Scott Stulen Artist

Rochester Art Center curator and artist Scott Stulen has joined the Walker Art Center staff as Project Director for mnartists.org, an online database of Minnesota artists launched in 2001 by the Walker and the McKnight Foundation. Read the full story »



Minnesota Stories presents mnartists: Scott Stulen

897c00b1bda6f4001df0f8217be33f12 mnartists.org and Minnesota Stories (mnstories.com) have collaborated on a video series profiling Minnesota artists in all disciplines. Click here to view Minnesota Stories present mnartists Scott Stulen.

Scott Stulen: Kool Aid Drunk



Scott Stulen’s paintings and sculptures investigate how shared cultural memory, in particular memory based on specific images, texts, and popular media, can slip into fiction or fabrication, creating a partial truth recalled as authentic memory or experience. Stulen is fascinated in how familiar, yet isolated references can be combined to create a new experience, which is both personal, yet foreign. Stulen views his role much like a DJ, sampling fragments of pop culture, personal and collective histories and false memories and combining them into a singular work. The key is in selecting, remixing and dropping of the appropriate sequence of samples, thus leading the audience to find meaning in unexpected places. Kool-Aid Drunk is a new body of work, which speaks to issues of failure, loss, hope and anxiety through Little House on the Prairie, family vacations and Midwestern passive aggression.

Open Field: Conversations on the Commons



Read Open Field: Conversations on the Commons »

In the spirit of public exchange, the Walker presents Open Field: Conversations on the Commons, a book examining our three-year experiment in participation and public space. In the hope of giving each piece of content new life, we’re sharing links to every chapter of the book—updated as they are published on various Walker and non-Walker websites—below. These illustrated essays and interviews address the possibilities of a true cultural commons, both within the context of a contemporary art center and beyond.

Skyspace/Soundspace (2009)


Five-part free concert series featuring local musicians performing within (and responding to) James Turrell’s Sky Pesher, 2006 on the grounds of the Walker Art Center. The performers played live within the confines of the sculpture while their performance was projected on the side of the museum. The audience was seated on the hill surrounding the sculpture. The program resulted in a cinematic live concert experience and a unique separation between performer and audience.

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New City Art – Review: Scott Stulen/Ebersmoore Gallery

New City Art - Scott StulenMinneapolis artist Scott Stulen’s paintings and installations rely on the juxtaposition of form, technique and material to elucidate and focus tensions between individual experience and the shared memory of a certain not-so-distant era awash in cultural detritus.

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Get Lucky


By Scott Donaldson Wednesday, Jan 25 2012

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