Some Assembly Required


Some Assembly Required: A Storefront Art Installation (2016)

Featuring New Works on Paper by Erik Farseth: Relief Prints, Collage Art, and Screen Prints

This exhibition ran from: October 1 – October 14, 2016

Opening Night Reception and Zine Release Party:
Saturday October 1st from 7-10 pm

The Minnesota Building
330 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55101

  • Free copies of the art zine Some Assembly Required will be distributed on the night of the event.

Gallery Hours: The pop-up gallery will be open for viewing on Saturday October 8th from 12:00 Noon – 4:00 pm, or by appointment.

Click here for a map:

Coming on the Green Line? -the Minnesota Building is located one block south of the Central Light Rail Station and Platform in Downtown St. Paul.


For two weeks in early October, a vacant storefront on the ground floor of the historic Minnesota Building will be transformed into a temporary pop-up gallery.

This public art installation will feature screen prints and linoleum block prints by Erik Farseth, together with a new series of the artist’s distinctive cut-paper collages.

In conjunction with this exhibit, the artist will be distributing copies of a full color 20-page art zine, featuring many of the images from the show.

“Some Assembly Required” features three dozen new pieces created over the past six months, between March and September of 2016. This same period coincided with a tumultuous year in American life, in which the headlines were dominated by news of bombings and police shootings, political extremism, and the sudden resurgence of atavistic nationalisms as a political force throughout the world.

Created against the backdrop of a nation that seems to be tearing itself apart, “Some Assembly Required” channels that same feeling of global insecurity into topsy-turvy landscapes, baroque machine art, fragmented fairy tales, pharmaceuticals, and nightmare visions of a world gone awry; images that are offset by the artist’s graphic prints of endangered species, lonely owls, and mythological creatures.

Coming out of the zine scene, Farseth has always been interested in wordplay, and the juxtaposition of images and text. His increasingly abstract collages are peppered with references to political speeches, cultural icons, and historic events, a breadcrumb trail leading back to the precursors of today’s cracked visions of American exceptionalism.

The featured postcard design, “Free Enterprise Painting” is neither a painting, nor a celebration of car culture (despite the rubber tires). It takes its title from words spoken by Nelson Rockefeller, who equated the spirit of action painting (ultramodern, individualistic, apolitical) with that of American capitalism. Indeed, artistic experimentation was so crucial to America’s conception of itself as a “free republic” that the CIA provided covert funding for Abstract Expressionism as a form of anti-communist propaganda art. This was a policy that came to be known as “the Long Leash.” Artists were free to push the bounds of good taste, so long as they didn’t stray too far.

These hidden histories and forgotten by-ways form one of the underlying threads that connect Farseth’s dense, multilayered collages to his work as a printmaker with an interest in dynamic visual storytelling.

Cold War culture informs Farseth’s artistic practice, but the viewer need not be aware of any of these underlying elements in order to appreciate the art. It would be easy to spell it all out, but the artist would rather invite audiences to grapple with the images and arrive at their own conclusions.


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Erik Farseth is a fiscal year 2016 recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.