I'm just keeping half an eye on the old Shinder's facility. I'm not a fan--I have a grudge against them on my sister's behalf. She tried to order a game through them and they failed to inform her when it came in; when she stopped by to check on its progress, they had sold it to another customer though it was clearly on hold for her. Additionally, there was an awesome Death stand-up display (from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series) and she offered to purchase it, as a gift for me. The store employee told her it had to make the rounds to the other outlets but he'd reserve it for her. Predictably, somewhere along the way another employee decided he wanted it and so it was lost.
Various friends of mine have similar stories about poor service and questionable business practice at this news/comics outlet. When Swindler's announced it was going out of business, I felt a sense of satisfaction rather than mourning the loss of some Minneapolis tradition. I don't mourn the departure of something simply because it's been around for a long time: I mourn when something valuable has been lost.
Now I work kitty-corner from it and enjoy a bird's-eye view of what goes on in its discarded husk. I posted pictures of when the umbrellas were mounted all over the building and shots of the gradual departure of those umbrellas. For the past couple of weeks only four umbrellas remained, mounted on the name of the store, but now they are altogether gone.
Today, however, in passing I noticed some artsy installations inside the building. I'm guessing it's being converted into yet another art gallery, because we don't have enough of those. I mean, it's great that we have a thriving artistic community around here (there's precious little else to do once the snow quilts us down), but... I'm personally not impressed with a lot of the art I see. There's another gallery a block or two south on Hennepin, prominently featuring a large Photoshopped hand made into a poster.
Observe the picture above: spray-painted logs. It's like Jasper Johns but without the budget. I'm one of those unlikable curmudgeons who feels there has to be an original concept behind concept art. It's not enough to put a small slit in the middle of a canvas, or to collect a lot of one thing and stack it all together. That latter would be awesome if it were illustrating some kind of statistic, like, all the non-recyclable trash generated from a year of family picnics, but it's not. It's just a big "look what I did, Mom" rainy-day craft. It's not even as interesting as if someone draped the upper floors of the IDS Tower in the world's largest macaroni-necklace. And I don't mean a hundred thousand little pieces of macaroni strung together, I mean individual noodles as large as a metro transit bus, strung on a rope suitable for mooring a ship. That is challenging concept art, not "oh look, I stacked a bunch of cups and it kinda looks like a cup itself."