Rifle Sport Gallery

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The building housing Rifle Sport gallery can be seen in this photograph from 1973, when the space was still occupied by the Rifle Sport arcade.

Rifle Sport Alternative Art Gallery was an underground art space open from 1985 to 1988 in the Block E segment of Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.[1] It was an important and groundbreaking venue for non-mainstream and punk-rock art in the Twin Cities.[2] Writer Andy Sturdevant has noted that the gallery's memory and influence have lasted among Twin Cities artists long after its closure, "like it might have happened in a Jacques-Louis David painting."[3]

The gallery was founded in September 1985 by artist Colleen Barnett.[4] It was named after the defunct arcade (whose signage remained) which had previously occupied the space. [5][6][7] The neighborhood around Block E attracted a broad cross-section of punks, artists, and musicians, and, because of the infamous bar Moby Dick's next door, was also notorious for attracting criminals, vagrants, and alcoholics.[1]

In the three years it was open, around 130 artists, musicians and performance artists used the space. Artists who exhibited work at Rifle Sport include Shannon Brady, Phillip Johnson, Michael Joo, Ross Knight, Ruthann Godollei, Jan Elftman, Frank Gaard, Melissa Stang, W. Joe Hoppe, Julia Scher, The Slime Clowns (Zingo & Bloppo), Steve Grandel, Mann Hawks, Robert Grassel, and Ken Avidor.[1] Bands that performed at the gallery include The Slime Clowns, The Swabs, Ting Kong, Lies Inc., and Chris Strouth's King Paisley and The Pscho-del-ics. [5]

The building that housed Rifle Sport was demolished with the rest of Block E in 1988, the victim of downtown redevelopment.[2] The gallery lived on after the demolition, moving near Loring Park, but closed after a year. Its final show was a dual exhibition by artists Stuart Mead and Dean Lucker. [8]

An unrelated local band, Rifle Sport, also named after the arcade, established their name before the gallery in 1981.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Aamodt, Britt (2010). Superheroes, Strip Artists, & Talking Animals: Minnesota's Contemporary Cartoonists. Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 17. 
  2. ^ a b Myrdahl, Tiffany Katherine Muller (2008). Contested Spaces of Women's Sport (Ph.D.). University of Minnesota. p. 75. 
  3. ^ Sturdevant, Andy (2013). Potluck Supper With Meeting to Follow: Essays. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-56689--337-4. 
  4. ^ "Ruthann Godollei: An Inventory of Her Rifle Sport Alternative Art Gallery Collection". Minnesota Historical Society. Retrieved 2014-09-15. 
  5. ^ a b c Scholtes, Peter S. (9 September 1998), "Bring in the Noise - From Wrong's free-improv chaos to Savage Aural Hotbed's circle-saw precision, a disparate local noise scene maps the sound of modern anxiety", City Pages 
  6. ^ "Coinmen You Know: Twin Cities", Billboard, p. 117, 1 April 1950, retrieved 22 April 2015 
  7. ^ "Invoke Old Law Against Minneapolis Arcade Op", Billboard, p. 43, 12 December 1964, retrieved 22 April 2015 
  8. ^ "Minnesota: Stuart Mead, Dean Lucker". New Art Examiner. Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.: New Art Associations. 17: 52. 1989. 

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