Are you familiar with the style of maximalism? The opposite of minimalism, maximalism is the aesthetic that teaches us that less is never more. Actually, more is more. In a world of HGTV gray on gray, maximalism embraces color, pattern, shine, and decadence. What some would dare call “tacky” or “over the top,” maximalism declares “just right.”
When it comes to maximalism, Hunt & Gather gets it. Located in Minneapolis, Hunt & Gather is an antique mall, but it is also an experience. It is an ode, a near-holy shrine to everything maximalism. Located on Xerxes Avenue South, Hunt & Gather is a luxurious feast for the eyes as well as a fabulous shopping destination. It preaches a lavish, celebratory way of life and was recently voted Best Antiques/Collectibles in Minnesota by readers of The Star Tribune for its efforts.
Hunt & Gather crams two floors full of kitschy delights and curiosities from 15 different vendors. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for someone special in your life, there is no better place to start your quest. Unless of course you are a minimalist, in which case you had best stay home and save yourself the heart attack.
Entering Hunt & Gather is more like entering a carnival than your run-of-the-mill antique store. Here the music is always loud and the colors are often bold. The constantly changing shop displays are flamboyant, stacked high to the tall ceilings. More like artistic assemblages made from bits and bobs of the past – such as a bathtub of porcelain doll arms or layers of paint-by-number canvases – each display seems like a precariously stacked monument to days gone by. Take your time to wander around to soak up the inspiration, available in droves, but be careful not to knock anything over in the process.
It is worth noting that Hunt & Gather is not primarily a spot for bargain shopping. While there is the odd steal to be found, as a shop it celebrates the thrill of sorting through old loot and is clearly intended for the treasure seeker over the bargain hunter. It is a store to find items you won’t find anywhere else, whether that be a Victorian mourning shawl, a mounted deer’s head, or a half of an arcade game. For a successful shopping experience, you need to be open to what you may find and ready to pay what it’s worth. Maybe you didn’t know you needed a day-glo patio umbrella or box of preserved butterflies, but now that you’ve seen it, how will you live without it?
Many shoppers are surprised to learn there is an entire bottom floor. As the ceiling is less high down below, it makes for a more accessible (or at least familiar) shopping experience. It is also more clear in the basement that booths vary by each vendor’s specialty. If you are seeking vinyl records, ’70s duds, mid-century barware, antique textiles, dusty pharmacy bottles, or even old license plates, there is a corner for you. You won’t want to miss the special, hidden thing you were meant to find. After all, there is a certain feeling of destiny found only when buying items second hand.
Hunt & Gather does have a few new items for sale as well. These are mainly French triple-milled soaps, Mexican oilcloth fabric, and an array of beautiful coffee table books on subjects ranging from punk rock to taxidermy. The selection of artsy and irreverent greeting cards certainly adds the cherry on top to complete any funky gift. You can also pick up a Hunt & Gather branded T-shirt or, if you are feeling indecisive, a gift certificate.
There is only one Hunt & Gather. Don’t miss out on the shopping bacchanal that has already delighted so many. Small businesses such as this are a large part of what makes Minneapolis fun, vibrant, and never, ever boring.
Located at 4944 Xerxes Ave S in Minneapolis, Hunt & Gather is open daily until 6pm. For more information, please visit huntandgatherantiques.com.
By Liz Walker