• The Soap Factory opens the exhibition Three Artists: Guo Gai, Meng Tang, Slinko Saturday night. Beijing-based Guo Gai's politically charged large-scale photos will be on view, and his chorale work "Lament" will be performed live by a local choir. Gai was detained by Chinese authorities for a month this April for his involvement with the pro-democracy movement; he is prohibited from traveling outside China and won't be attending the opening. Minneapolis-based Chinese artist Meng Tang will present her projection/installation piece Impression: Babel, and Ukrainian-born, New York-based sculptor Slinko will present the work-in-progress Make-Believe, which explores "the poetic possibilities of a physical object, its cultural role, the artistic labor invested in its materiality and its place in the contemporary circulation of immaterial commodities."
Mark your calendar: I'm part of a panel discussion on "the interlocking issues of art, politics and censorship" on Sept. 17 with sculptor and exhibition co-curator Tom Rose, University of Minnesota China historian Edward Farmer and Rain Taxi editor Eric Lorberer.• The Future Presence Gallery, an occasional gallery at 1126 2nd St. NE, Minneapolis, presents Future Presence 3, a group show featuring works by Bryant Locher, Nathaniel, Austin Swearengin, Justin James Sehorn, Joshua Wilichowski, Hannah Hall, Russ Olson, Danielle Voight, Gregory J. Rose, Ben Lansky and Andy Shannon. Aug. 26–28.
• Hopsack Painting Co. is redoing the Dressing Room. Named after Valspar Paint's most popular color, Hopsack is the brainchild of Broc Blegen, whose inflatable George W. Bush monument I featured awhile back. His team of artists will unveil their creative use of the bland color at the Dressing Room, the residence/gallery of former Art of This Gallery head David Petersen and Crystal Quinn. Recepti0n Saturday night.
• Saturday afternoon sculptor Aaron Dysart embarks on the maiden voyage of the S.S. Soap Boat, a seaworthy vessel made from 550 pounds of soap -- a metaphorical probing into the question of what it means to clean up the Mississippi. Launch starts at 1 pm at Boom Island in Minneapolis.
• And going on now at the Minnesota State Fair, the Giant Sing Along. Step up to one of 32 microphones to sing along with karaoke favorites presented on a giant LED screen. Shy singers, fret not: the mics are auto-tuned to disguise voices. A project by Montreal-based artists Mouna Andraos and Melissa Mongiat, the project is put on by Northern Lights.
• Also from Northern Lights, Andréa Stanislav's Nightmare, a public video work that creates the illusion of a white horse galloping on the Mississippi, at night, and in slow motion:
Nightmare makes its much-anticipated debut launch from Harriet Island in St. Paul, MN, on Friday, August 26, 2011, at 9:00 pm.
Nightmare will initially travel downriver past the Wabasha Bridge toward Lowertown Saint Paul after the launch, visible only from the Harriet Island side of the river till it turns around. Once Nightmare turns around, it will head upriver toward the High Bridge and Minneapolis, visible only from the downtown Saint Paul side of the Mississippi. It is anticipated Nightmare will be visible from downtown Saint Paul with views of the Mississippi between approximately 9:30 and 10 pm, passing by Upper Landing Park (across Shepard Rd from the Science Museum at Chestnut St.) at approximately 10 pm.