Saturday night marked the grand opening of CO Exhibitions, a new gallery space in Northeast Minneapolis helmed by the folks at Burlesque of North America, the local design company responsible for some of the coolest screenprinted posters to come out of our fair state, and Joseph Belk of the design collective Permanent. For their premiere, CO served as a space for the rap outfit Doomtree to showcase their artistic output over the last nine years, filling the walls with show posters, album covers, T-shirts, set design for live shows, and numerous images from the crew’s hard-won history in the local scene.
The notorious local hip-hop group is comprised of nine artists (P.O.S., Cecil Otter, Mictlan, Dessa, Sims, Paper Tiger, Lazerbeak, MK Larada and Turbo Nemesis), most of whom pull double-duty to some extent. Beyond crafting beats and writing rhymes, many of the musicians contribute drawings, prints, calligraphy and other art to their projects, and their first ever show devoted to their art showcased Doomtree’s strong visual element in conjunction with their sound.
The event went from 7 til 10 PM, with the last half devoted to a performance from rappers Sims, Dessa and Mictlan, backed by DJ Paper Tiger, whose solo debut album is set to drop next month. The MCs pulled out an impressive stage show as usual, and it was nice to see them perform in a little bit more of a relaxed atmosphere. Sims was in rare form, having stayed up for a few days setting up and preparing the show, and took an audience member up on his suggestion to freestyle about “magic machines”. Dessa showed off her polished road-tested chops, and Mictlan ended the night with his show-stopping closers “Game Over” and “Prizefighter”, both clear crowd favorites.
The Doomtree Art Show was unique and interesting in terms of gallery shows, and CO Exhibitions is bound to be a place to see some engaging displays of local art. Keep an eye out for future events at the Northeast Gallery, including a Spinal Tap-themed show called “Smell The Glove” headed up by illustrator and musician Michael Gaughan. If you missed the opening, the show will be up for a few weeks. CO Exhibitions can be found at 1101 Stinson Blvd in NE Minneapolis.