Can’t get to Palm Springs? Take a trip to Minneapolis’ Gamut Gallery instead and enter the vibrant, midcentury-modern world of “AstroTurf.” The multi-media exhibition, which runs through March 18, takes inspiration from “architecture, pop art, and post-painterly abstraction” of southern California. Curated by gallery director Cassie Garner and Siobhan Mallory, the show features work by Minnesota artists, Genie Castro and Nicole Mueller, as well as returning SoCal artists, Human Shaped Animal (Rachel Barnes) and Neal Breton.
The “cherry on the sundae” as Garner says? Furniture on loan by BluDot. “We were creating a Palm Springs kind of mod environment and thought how perfect it would be if we could connect with BluDot,” Garner says. “They were on board.” While selecting pieces for the immersive exhibition, “We were like kids in a candy store.” The pieces in the show include a sofa, lounge chair, dining chair, lamp, and three bar stools—all of which are for sale through the BluDot outlet.
While the furnishings might be sleek and understated, the art is not. Castro’s “Lily” positively pops with colorful exuberance, while her abstract pieces are jazzy jangles of color and line. Mueller’s photos of Palm Springs are saturated with vintage allure. Breton’s bold geometric abstractions reduce color, line, and shape to their essence. Barnes’ work as Human Shaped Animal is a series of vessels that double as wall works in which the collage of elements includes live plants.
The artwork is for sale, ranging in price from $20 to several thousand. “Gamut wants to be accessible, with affordable art for everyone,” Garner says. And the show’s title? “Installed in place of grass from as early as the 1950s, AstroTurf forgoes naturally growing grass for the carefree ease of owning an evergreen front lawn,” Garner writes. “In midcentury America, the synthetic material was marketed to homeowners as a means of signaling status to their neighbors through perfectly manicured landscaping year-round.”
So, “you don’t have to travel to Palm Springs to have a vacation,” Garner argues. “We’ve put together a perfect aesthetic—a space you can walk into and want to live there. And it can all be yours.”