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    Aug 08, 2016

A Different Way of Seeing

MINNEAPOLIS, MN A Different Way of Seeing is an exhibition spanning more than a century of distinctively Swedish art, highlighting oil paintings, lithographs, watercolors, sculpture and mixed media works from 1877 to 1990, that reflect the era’s and Swedish society’s shifting values and perspective. On loan from the prestigious Sam and Ann Charters Collection of Swedish Art housed at the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, with support from Julie Hohman. The exhibition is on view August 27–October 30, 2016, at the American Swedish Institute (ASI). The ASI is located at 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis.  For more details, visit or call 612-871-4907.

A Different Way of Seeing features thirty, 19th- and 20th-century Swedish artworks installed in ASI’s Osher Gallery that reflect significant art moments: Return to Sweden, the Nationalist Landscape, Early Modernist Currents, Naivist  and Late Modernism In Sweden.  The exhibition showcases artists that paved the way for the incredible work coming out of Sweden and the Nordic region today, including such masters as modernist Lena Cronqvist, Sven "X-et" Erixson, Oscar Keen, Nils Kreuger, Ruth Milles and Georg Pauli. In the 1880s, many Scandinavian artists descended upon Paris and later returned to Sweden to form an ‘Association of Artists.’ They used their new technical skills and understanding of the avant-garde movements to fire a commitment to renew Swedish art.

The Charters were expatriate Americans who began exploring Stockholm’s world of art galleries and museums shortly after they moved to Sweden in the 1970s.  When they began collecting, some works came directly from the artists, but most resulted from gallery visits and auctions. Together, they amassed an impressive array of art that represented Sweden’s new values and aesthetics. For example, the works reflected the era’s interest in rural traditions contrasted with rising industrialization, and the belief in the positive influence of the natural environment. Much of the artwork was new to an international audience.  The Charters’ planned to eventually donate the collection to a U.S. institution with strong connections to Swedish-American communities, like Augustana College in Illinois where it is currently housed, to inspire engaging and enriching learning experiences.

The Charters, celebrities in their own right, were Civil Rights activists and ardent critics of the Vietnam War who became disillusioned with the U.S and relocated. Sam Charters, who remained in Sweden until his death in 2015, was a music producer whose books and field work were influential in launching the U.S. blues and folk music revival of the 1960s and ’70s.  His first book, “The Country Blues,” was published at the end of the 1950s and later caused a sensation among college students and aspiring folk performers, like Bob Dylan. Charters and his research helped created a tradition of blues scholarship.  A musician, Charters also played with Dave Van Ronk and produced albums by Country Joe & the Fish.

Ann Charters, who will visit ASI on October 2 for an exhibition party, is a teacher and a professor of literature at the University of Connecticut. She is internationally recognized for her scholarship and multiple books on the Beat Generation.  She also worked with Jack Kerouac on his bibliography, was the first person after his death to write his biography and the only biographer who had access to Kerouac. She is also a published Coffee House Press author as a contributor to the Beats at Naropa anthology, highlighting the luminaries of Beat literature.



Collectors and Cocktails: A Different Way of Seeing Exhibition Party

Sunday, October 2, 2016, 6:30-9 p.m.

This Exhibition Party celebrates the art of collectors and collecting with special guest and commentator Ann Charters, the co-founder of the collection featured in this exhibition and an internationally renowned scholar of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation. The evening’s other activities include Beat Poetry Sessions with project partner Coffee House Press, Portrait Sketches of guests by student artists from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Art Appreciation studios throughout the night and performances by Adam Conrad’s Improvestra Music Project. The party is organized by ASI in collaboration with Augustana College in Illinois, who will be represented by President Stephen Bahls.

Tickets: $30 (members); $35 (non-members). Includes admission to the exhibition, entertainment, hors d’ourves and a cash bar.

Related activities, tours and workshops will continue throughout the exhibition. For more information, visit or call 612-871-4907.


THE AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUTE (ASI) is a vibrant arts and cultural organization, museum, and historic home located at 2600 Park Avenue near downtown Minneapolis.  ASI serves as a gathering place for people to share stories and experiences around universal themes of tradition, migration, craft and the arts, all informed by enduring ties to Sweden.  The Wall Street Journal called ASI “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming.” For tickets, visit or call 612-871-4907.


ASI MUSEUM HOURS:  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday:  Noon–5 p.m.; Wednesday, Noon-8 p.m.; Saturday. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon-5 p.m., closed Monday.

Museum Admission: $10 adults, $7 ages 62 +, $5  ages 6–18 and full-time students with ID. Free for ASI members and kids ages 5 and under.

FIKA, ASI’s award winning café, is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday:  8:30 a.m. –5 p.m.; Wednesday, 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m.  Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The ASI MUSEUM STORE is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10 a.m. –5 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. –8 p.m.  Sunday,  Noon-5 p.m.



The Different Way of Seeing exhibition project is presented by the American Swedish Institute in collaboration with Augustana College/the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art in Rock Island, Illinois, with selections from the Sam and Ann Charters Collection proudly presented by Julie Hohman, with additional support from the Swedish Council of America. Support is also provided by the Anne Ray Charitable Trust, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Karin L. Larson, and ASI contributing members and donors.  

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota.  

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