Ask A Midwesterner: Andy DuCett, Minneapolis Artist Extraordinaire


Photo credit: Eric Melzer

From performance to drawing to installation, Minneapolis-based artist Andy DuCett does it all. And we really mean it all. In a storefront window in Scotland, DuCett held up different signs such as “Want to see a semi-decent magic trick?” to encourage passersby to break their routine. His “Mom Booth” featured real-life mothers dolling out hugs and laundry to fold. You know. Mom things.

But, our favorite piece from DuCett is a recent commission from the Indianapolis Museum of Art. DuCett designed 50 limited edition certificates reading “Please mow my lawn or, other acts of neighborly kindness” that were handed out to willing participants. A certificate is meant to be passed from one person to another when a favor is requested. For example, if you were going out of town and wanted to have your neighbor water your plants, you would present them with the certificate, sign the back, along with what was requested, and date it. The certificate then transfers to the plant watering neighbor until he needs someone to, let’s say, feed his dog while he’s on a business trip. The cycle of neighborly kindness continues until the slots on the back are filled, and then it is mailed back to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Other work from DuCett can be seen in the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s permanent collections as well as other galleries and museums in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Honolulu. When he’s not inciting neighborly goodness through art, he’s a Visiting Faculty member in the M.F.A. program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

We put this Minneapolis artist to keep on your radar through our 18-question ringer to see where his Midwest roots (and tastes) lie.

Favorite place in the Midwest?


What temperature is considered warm enough for no coat?
It depends on the season. If it’s fall, when it hits the 50’s you probably reach for a coat. If it’s spring, as soon as it hits 40. That’s a little after the first “guy wearing shorts” sightings happen on college campuses throughout the Midwest.

Favorite meal to cook?
Pasta Puttanesca. It’s one of the things I can make from memory, but it also allows for lots of simmering, stirring, and waiting, which is great for listening to a few records and relaxing while cooking.

What’s a hidden gem in your city?
David Fong’s on Lyndale and 94th.

Local coffee shop of choice?
I don’t go to coffee shops all that often, I’ve got a good Thermos that holds my supply for the day. But if I do meet up with someone, Spyhouse is close to where I work and has a great atmosphere.

Go-to pizza toppings?
Pepperoni and green olives. Also, square cut pizza is the best.

Soda or Pop?
Pop. C’mon.

Duck Duck Goose or Duck Duck Grey Duck?
The eternal question! Grey Duck all the way. What’s a Goose doing there in the first place? Grey Duck allows for style, creativity and false starts. Really keeps the excitement level high. When you’re walking around you name colors: “Blue Duck, Yellow Duck, Orange Duck, GRRRRRR….EEEEEEEN Duck…” Gets them every time.

Favorite condiment?

Favorite local brewery?
For breweries that also sell outside the brewery: Surly. “Darkness Day” in October is really something special. For places that you have to show up to get your fix: Dangerous Man.

Can you name all the ingredients in puppy chow?

How many shovels do you own?
Eleven. Three for snow, two that are foldable for camping, four for the garden, and two in my studio that are just great looking shovels.

Favorite food on a stick?
The Pork Chop across from the MPR Booth on Judson Ave. A Classic.

Skiing or wakeboarding?
Skiing, but if someone would like to take me wakeboarding, I’d love to try it.

Signature drink order?
If I’m in a nice restaurant, a Single Malt, neat with a side of water, preferably from Islay. If I’m in a bar and it’s cold out, a Manhattan or White Russian. If it’s warm out, a Gin and Tonic. If I’m about to get on a plane, it’s two Vodka Martinis, filthy dirty. If I’m in Wisconsin, it’s a Brandy Old Fashioned. If I’m in a canoe, Hamms or Schmidt (the wildlife can if it’s available). If it’s breakfast, a spicy Bloody Mary with all the trimmings and it had better come with a beer back. (Side note: I’ve never found anyplace outside the Midwest that knows what a beer back is. They think I’m trying to scam them into getting free beer. Apparently we’re the only place that knows how to drink a Bloody.) If I’ve just mowed the lawn and it’s hot out, a “shower beer” is in order: a tallboy of Schlitz usually does the trick. (For those of you who have never tried this one out, you’re welcome. You’ll mow the lawn 5 times a week. Beach rules apply though, no glass, just cans.)

Mississippi River or Great Lakes?
I grew up in Winona along the Mississippi and have lots of great memories. The drive along Highway 61 from Red Wing to La Crosse is incredible in the Fall. But once you feel the space and temperature of the Great Lakes… well, they’re called the Great Lakes. They’re the best.

Favorite Midwestern artist?
Bob Dylan. Favorite artist anywhere.

Favorite building in the Midwest?
1265 Lombardi Ave, Green Bay, WI.

Connect with Andy DuCett
Instagram: @cettdu