Art Gallery

Now On Display

Twigs & Twine - by Rick Brown


Artist Reception:  Friday, January 27 from 5:30 - 7:30  pm. Reception is free of charge and open to the public.

On Display:  January - February 2024

This show is available during business hours (Tuesday – Friday from 10 am – 5 pm) or on weekends by advance appointment only.


Five years ago I moved into a former meth house on the northern edge of Kearney, a stone’s throw from the landfill. After refurbishing the main house, I began to explore the outbuildings on the property and discovered a series of barns housing a collection of artistic objects of a curious design. Constructed entirely of twigs and twine, the structures suggested that they promoted a certain healing property.

Upon further exploration, I found a series of journals, diaries and musical scores hidden behind loose boards in a building I instinctively called The Winery. An individual known simply as Atlas authored the texts. The entries detailed the mystical powers of each structure without revealing any information about this person known simply as Atlas.
During the next five years I painstakingly refurbished the structures, researched the life of the hermit who lived in the buildings prior to my arrival and used a complex and arcane set of musical notation to realize a 25-hour musical score, originally sketched out by Atlas during the 1981-83 economic recession popularly known as the Mini Crunch. During a time of high unemployment, increased wealth inequality, increased divorce rates, urban decay and exacerbation of the Savings and Loan crisis, Atlas used economic data points to build a score of deeply emotional ambient music.

Firmly rooted in the division of art called Pholkistic Mockism*, this exhibit brings to life the work of Atlas and the structures he called Whimzies. Although the efforts of modern science has disproved any healing or mystical powers of the structures, I still believe they resonate beyond the limits of known science. In an effort to allow future generations to make decisions based in the exacting discipline of pseudo science, I present this body of work lovingly called Twigs & Twine, in honor of the vision of Atlas, and in honor of those who hold on to the slimmest threads of hope in mystical things during these darkest of dark times. Enjoy.

THE EXHIBIT:  Twigs & Twine gently jabs at Outsider Art, Anti-Art, the Folk Art Movement and the kind of visual artifacts that promote process over product, experience over meaning — in a branch of art known scholarly as Pholkistic Mockism. Consisting of a series of free-standing mobiles, the work, conceived and executed by non-artist Rick Brown, also includes a 25-hour ambient musical soundtrack designed so patrons can return at the same time each day for a month and hear a different segment of the music while enjoying the artwork. None of the art is for sale. As part of the artistic process, at the end of the exhibit, the artwork will be destroyed and deposited in the nearest dumpster.

Patrons are invited to attend an opening reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. Jan. 27, 2024 to meet the non-artist, listen to a lecture on Pholkistic Mockism, ask questions and view a mockumentary on the life and work of Atlas, the supposed originator of the work in this show.

*PHOLKISTIC MOCKISM: An obscure branch of Maximalism, Pholkistic Mockism features the work of smug and insecure artists who express meaning and value through mocking the work of others less fortunate or gifted artists who are usually employed at minimum wage jobs.

About the Gallery

The Minden Opera House Gallery is pleased to display the work of a variety of artists from Nebraska or have a connection to Nebraska. Artists are selected by committee. If you are interested in displaying at the Minden Opera House Gallery, please submit 5-7 digital samples of your work and complete the following forms and return them to: Minden Opera House Gallery, PO Box 1, Minden, NE 68959

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