The full blown quakes shaking the current discourse surrounding Niki Johnson’s Eggs Benedict, reached me as a mere tremor aftershock, a rumor of spectacular occurrence. I witnessed the aftermath of Johnson’s creatively seismic work during the day session of Gallery Night Spring 2013. Astounded, I expected to like the piece not to have my afternoon taken over by it.
Debra Brehmer, gladly spending some time with her patrons, candidly observed of Johnson’s piece a quality indescribably awe inspiring, a gestalt nearly impossible to render in contemporary art. Brehmer, Portrait Society Gallery’s Director, profoundly noted that the weaving technique Johnson used to ensnare Pope Benedict’s image mimics fine needle point work made so often from women’s hands; an irony for a woman’s craft to have created an irreverent iconic reference to an institution women have been so systematically subjugated within.
Depending on which side of Eggs Benedict pedestal display you approach from, you either feel duped or immediately captured. The portrait’s verso is exposed, revealing the tied medial regions and exposed openings of the many contraceptives. They are so carefully secured on the wire grid, in appearance, sloppy and awkward with no semblance of the intended likeness; a vestige of the personal made uncomfortably public. This window into Johnson’s artistic process demystifies the piece’s craft work, increasing its power.
Eggs Benedict by Niki Johnson on display at the Portrait Society Gallery, 2013
I stood with a couple hand fulls of people for much longer than you may traditionally imbibe an artwork, contemplating whether on a metaphysical level the Catholic church could oppose condoms as a mere object if not used for a contraceptive. Upon further deliberation, given that the portrait of Pope Emeritus Benedict referenced in Eggs Benedict originates from a group of press photos associated with his now infamous statement that condoms help spread AIDS in Africa, and the unequivocal prohibition of contraceptives of all forms in Catholic dogma, it is absolutely impossible to parse the medium from the message. In fact, in no more certain terms could the adage “The medium is the message” hold true.
The stage of Eggs Benedict will always be heightened by Pope Benedict’s historic resignation, an eerie stroke fate for Niki Johnson. I sincerely hope they meet someday in some realm. Johnson has put Eggs Benedict up for auction, with proceeds going to benefit AIDS research. The opening bid came in at $20 thousand.
Johnson’s Eggs Benedict secures a moment in art history for Milwaukee; the Portrait Society Gallery serving as the vessel to bring this piece into the art world internationally; April 19, 2013 its semi-official first public opening.
Eggs Benedict remains on display at the Portrait Society Gallery through July 28th, Thursday – Saturday 12 noon to 5p. It will join a series of Niki Johnson’s work opening June 6, 2013 entitled Sourcebook: Martha Wilson and MKE.
Rains drenched the week leading up to this spring’s Gallery Night in Milwaukee and a tornado warning. No worries there are plenty of great place to get stuck in the Third Ward tonight. Cohesion, would be the word that best describes what the Third Ward has achieved in the arts and entertainment lobe of its identity. A permanent scene has undoubtedly formed there to support the City’s high-end fine artists, its cornerstone sits on the intersection of Water and Buffalo Street at the Marshall Building.
Once an informal stash of professional artists and collectors, the building now supports an evolved and varied ecosystem of art and design disciplines. Some are highly recognizable like Reginald Baylor/Plaid Tuba and the Portrait Society. Others like Katie Gingrass are synonymous with fine art galleries in Milwaukee. All of the residents of the Marshall Building deserve notoriety.
Look Who’s Looking
Spring Gallery Night 2013 at the Marshall Building will feature 26 studios and galleries spread about all 7 levels of the building, making it very nearly an informal Contemporary Art museum. One highly anticipated show in particular at the Portrait Society Gallery will feature Nikki Johnson’s Eggs Benedict, a pixelated portrait of Emeritus Pope Benedict made entirely of colored condoms.
Another effort to look forward to comes from recent resident Marlene Hecht Simmons who lower level gallery features her own original paintings ranging in style from pop to portrait to folk. Phil Saxon’s work is also displayed there, a mixed media set that distilled something potentially neo-movement-like.
Timothy Meyerring appears to have quite an experience formulating in his first floor space Timo Gallery. If you don’t like his paintings which is really hard to do, there should be a little revelry to go with them to keep you engaged too.
From the Bottom Up
Gallery Night Spring 2013 kicks off tonight April 19, 2013. Most galleries are also open April 20 as well. Here are the who’s and where’s:
Milwaukee Potters Guild
Marlene Hecht Simmons
Elaine Erickson Gallery
Grotta & Co.
Blustein Brondino Gallery
The Fine Art Gallery
J. Nikolai Art
Too Much Metal
Christine Plamann Photography
C. Harbeck Object Conservation
CR Davidson Art
Portrait Society Gallery
In a wily move, the Coalition of Photographic Arts (CoPA) took over a traditional second floor office suite on upper Mason Street and turned it into a a multi-room gallery space for their 8th Annual Member’s Exhibition. CoPA, a contemporary photography guild, showcases and supports fine photographic arts of all styles.
CoPA member Kelly Crandall expressed that CoPA exists to support the photographer community in the Milwaukee area, and although a membership organization, it is open to amateur and professional photographers. Crandall’s work for CoPA’s current exhibition focuses on landscape and street photography, much of her subject matter being people and architecture. With no less than 50 individual pieces on display from a couple dozen CoPA members, the photographic styles demonstrated encapsulate a wide variety of applications of the medium.
In this exhibition, classic portrait, landscape, and nature photographs accompany technologically driven examples of perspective, enhanced and digitally altered photography. Some less conventional styles like photographic canvas wraps can also be witnessed at the current CoPA exhibition. This will be truly one of the most diverse photography exhibitions around town.
CoPA’s Gallery Night opening is tomorrow night from 4p – 9p Friday, April 19 and Gallery Day 11a – 4p, April 20 on the 2nd floor of 600 East Mason St. The 8th Annual CoPA Member’s Exhibition will continue Thursdays through Saturdays 12p – 6p from April 24 – May 3, 2013.
Maybe because it happened to be Black History Month did the irony of Aaron McGruder’s talk at UW-Milwaukee’s most recent Distinguished Lecture Series evening feel even more striking. McGruder’s comic strip turned animated adult cartoon series, picked-up steam the past three years as one of the only televised young and flippant pop-culture outlets originating from the Black community (I really can’t name another).
As The Boondocks appeals to wider and wider audiences, let’s just forgo the conclusion of it reaching cult status. McGruder brilliantly channeled from the ages, angsty, disconnected and disaffected black male attitudes through contemporary cartoon caricatures, to populate his illustrated world. He’s completed 3 seasons on air, preceded by 20 years as a syndicated comic strip of critical acclaim. The Boondocks, in its relatively short television run, has pushed its cult meter dial to negative 270 degrees, aligning with the skull with x-ed out eyes if not now, yesterday.
A Scene from Academia
McGruder in pre-mortem fame commanded 7 bucks per eye, or ear, to catch a whiff of his brain in live action. Copious forward-thinking collegiate troves filed non-chalantly into the Student Union’s Wisconsin Room, eager to hear the words of an unlikely aspiring comic, turned comic strip author, turned television series producer. After laying some flags demarcating the invisible electric fence not to piss on, the fun could rush ahead. Posted were signs for no questions about Season 4, McGruder’s finances or personal life, etc…
As an appetizer, the moderator served McGruder some canned ham, allowing him to address his early influences of Doonsberry, Calvin and Hobbs, and Japanese anime. Social distiller extraordinaire, McGruder gave insight to his uncanny ability to deal satire with a beautifully stacked deck of current events, historical references and cultural archetypes. McGruder quickly addressed how his worldview gained bearing, influenced by voices in his family expressing clear skepticism to news and politics, and admitted his impatience and impudence for criticism (hold that thought). It didn’t take long for McGruder to bare his teeth.
The moderator advanced his inquiry, feigning subtly and nuance, postulating as to whether McGruder ever concerned himself with a segment of his audience possibly missing the point of his story-lines, particularly the satirical elements, because of their maturity as measured in years of age. A snidely understated quip to the effect of “Age has little to do with understanding my work,” left a scald mark on the moderator’s face.
As that question sailed clear over the center field fireworks at Kaminski Park like a screaming fly ball and rolled around on the Eisenhower getting hit by tractor trailers, you could see where McGruder was coming from. One of the inherent tensions in The Boondocks stays tightly focused on the main character Huey, a 10 year-old that consistently wields knowledge and reason in the face of adults and peers, which usually lays useless. His friends, family and neighbors blindly ignore Huey’s logical rationales in preference to being engulfed by their own personal dramas.
Q & A
McGruder also fielded the world’s longest prefaced question, nearly five minutes long, recounting his early childhood experiences gathered from extensive background research, including his love of water, and cheeseburgers, finally diverging into glancing remarks about McGruder’s early professional experiences and dreams of authoring action comic books for a living.
When the run-on question mercifully received punctuation, miraculously McGruder was able to track the woman for long enough to discuss candidly being in his early 20′s and realizing he just wasn’t a good enough illustrator to make it in the full-length comic industry. He refocused his passion to comic strips, a more manageable format, and placed greater emphasis on developing written content with steady punch. Gems often go uncovered in this format of discussion, but McGruder’s forthcoming remarks shone as a must have life hack. Separating pride from reality when detouring your passions, is essential to transforming dreams into something marketable.
The adoration ceded long enough for the moderator to ask pressing questions about criticism McGruder occasionally faces for his exaggerated and stereotypical depictions of African-Americans, particularly African-American women. Almost shockingly, given the underlying political and social charge The Boondocks maintains, McGruder absent any deliberation shrugged off the second-guess. He readily admitted that the show takes various African-American male perspectives, centers on their struggles and snags in the American social system, draws from the absurdities buried within those experiences to create comedy, not exempting African-American women from the shooting gallery.
Furthermore, he matter-of-factly expressed that The Boondocks never aspired to address deep social issues, particularly gender issues, as much as it needed to be funny, if not flat-out offensive, to maintain its standing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. McGruder implicitly kicked the noble-cause-trap of social justice obsessed “Race men” to the side, emphasizing that his personal responsibility lay with his creative vision, and not speaking for Black people in general or to taking on issues of oppression that he personally doesn’t see fitting The Boondock‘s premise.
Whoa! In a room full of a students mildly leaning social activist, with more Black women than I’ve seen in one place on the Eastside, ever, his nerve probably took most by complete surprise. You couldn’t help but notice one African-American woman get up immediately following his comment, as if she just remembered her laundry was done, leaving the auditorium with indignant purpose.
Follow the Parallel Tracks
If you need some light background on the show, McGruder’s masterful animated series hones in on two Elementary school kids, Huey and Riley, who live with their Grandad in Suburbs, after having been raised on the Southside of Chicago. Two other notable on-going characters are Tom DuBois, a very assimilated African-American man with a White wife, and Uncle Ruckus an old ornery Black man with an undying contempt for his own people and unrequited reverence for the “White man”.
McGruder nails it almost every episode lampooning the lamest of what NYC, Hollywood and cable motion picture and televised productions have to offer. Boiled down to its cultural relevance (not to be mistaken with content), The Boondocks is for Blacks young adults, what Family Guy and The Simpsons is for their White counterparts: make-believe mockeries of real social dynamics that glorify ignorant male perspectives. Thankfully for the Boondocks, McGruder at least partially jabs pertinent issues in the mouth regularly, rather than just maintaining ignorance for ignorance’s sake as a form of comedy.
Black nerdom vs. The World
Inevitably, at McGruder’s UWM talk all the elements melded for a explosive build-up: controversial subject matter, general appetite for sarcasm, activist energy, a successful author of exceptional intelligence with an axe to bare on his shoulder, and a mixed-crowd of all ages and backgrounds. Let’s add a bit of context, before jumping off of the diving board into the most thrilling exchange with McGruder that night.
Where a long exposition on hipsterdom, Black nerdom and everyone else may fit here, I’ll just bypass that trouble. Most would agree that despite efforts planned and unplanned to make it so, and not so, the prevailing social winds of today are much the same as they were 20, 30, 40 years ago, and in some ways worse and more insidiously socially divisive.
Despite legal enforcement of institutional racism and cultural reinforcement of injustice at every turn years ago, there was still some willingness of an eager few to engage, at least intellectually, people of different backgrounds even if just in curiosity. The best examples of this happened on college campuses.
Although they were most likely all Radical Chic posers, we can at least imagine every member of the 60′s youth counterculture had a profound cause back then, and it wasn’t just to get “Likes” on social media. In today’s “post-racial” world, a relatively miniscule band of anti-establishment provocateurs have a true sense of engaging in social causes as a matter of seeking common humanity and social justice, and when you see them you know it. That brings us to the conclusion of the DLS talk with McGruder. A woman approaches the microphone.
Silence of the Lamb
She explained her interest in revisiting McGruder on the issue of negative and dis-empowering depictions of Black women on The Boondocks as being particularly troublesome. Her phrasing of the problem, a carefully spun knit scarf of sincere consciousness, recognizing pervasive mass media exclusion and abuse of non-white cultures, compelled silence from the crowd, as she successfully began backing McGruder into a corner about his reprehensible complicity in this practice.
McGruder reiterated his points about his comedic reach, lack of venue and proclivity to incorporate gender issues and balanced representation into his show. Continuing down the scenic justification route, he cleverly reminding the audience that much of what happens on the show is possible, only in the absence of well-adjusted and intelligent Black women.
Persistently she tried another angle, asking of McGruder’s knowledge of the recent controversy of the HBO series Girls (link via Pajiba), and Lena Dunham’s attempt to be inclusive of other backgrounds and cultures. McGruder a formidable plaintiff turned prosecutor, darted that Dunham did so only because she was facing public criticism, after initially being dismissive of observations about her show (link via Mother Jones).
McGruder’s Hattori Hanzo followed with a shadowless arc, “Besides that You’re White”. Her mouth ceased to speak, head tumbling to the floor. The crowd about 50/50 Black and non-Black, half erupted into oooh-ed laughter. She came millimeters away from thrusting her Shaolin spear through his temple, but valiantly fell in rhetorical battle for taking the wrong shot. Comparing McGruder, and his 20 year-old body of work, to a HBO series about White girls was basically like falling in a hole covered with leaves. Did he have any choice but to brazenly dismiss her in front of a predominately Black audience from Milwaukee?
The Non Fall Out
A young Black man, stepped to the mic next, “Ahem, Yeah, uh 1-2, 1-2… Just wanted to snaaaw, shout out Skiiizy, whut up little Tone… McGruder ganstalicious love yaaao…,” He was hissed by everyone and verbally escorted away by the moderator. I looked around. The Black women I could see were not phased by what just happened, the call to arms from the cult of womanhood was not heeded and they let their White ally die an unwanted martyr. Not a single Black woman questioned McGruder, maybe that was the answer to so many questions. Ironically, I doubt any of it mattered to McGruder at all, on any level.
Unfortunately for her, this wasn’t a Tarantino movie and Beatrix Kiddo doesn’t always win in real life. This type of defeat is what turns good White young adults into apathetic hipsters, hopefully she didn’t take it personal. I’m sure he’d say otherwise but I’ll just chalk McGruder’s response up to being skeptical of her intentions. If she really believes in what she says, she’ll continue to be an advocate for appropriateness regardless of McGruder or anyone else’s attitude about it.
The Macro Chip
Speaking of Tarantino, an audience member did ask McGruder about his thoughts on Django Unchained and the striking similarities between a couple of Tarantino’s characters and McGruder’s long-running animated meme Uncle Ruckus and a particular episode about Grandad’s Grandad Catcher Freeman (via YouTube). Simply put, McGruder said he would not comment beyond asking the audience member if he thought there were any obvious similarities that would make him ask that question. Sounds like Tarantino might have pulled a move like Stallone with Rocky. In a fitting twist of fate, Django Unchained just won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Aaron McGruder is a giant who truly owes no one anything. He’s deserves a lot of credit for nurturing a creative concept into a marketable body of work and also for freeing people to recognize he is not just a Black man, but an individual and entrepreneur that had an idea and the guts to pursue it. Likewise, McGruder has to take the criticism for pandering to the worst to low-end of humor just like anybody else, hopefully he won’t cop out next time. Congrats to UW-Milwaukee’s Distinguished Lecture Series and SocioCultural Programming for nailing this selection.
Football dominates Sunday afternoons, especially in Packer country and especially when the hometown favorite makes mince meat morsels out of ancient rivals Chicago Bears. MOCT on Pittsburg has taken a different approach to Sunday funday, mixing an afternoon of sports and indy commerce. They’ve huddled with Wren Solares’ creative start-up Lost In Milwaukee to give a winter home to Solares’ venture the Sunday Up Market. The first installment of Up Market popped this past Sunday, scheduled to cycle in crafty inventories on alternating Sundays through the Spring of 2013.
Accommodating a couple of fists full of vendors, the Up Market gave opportunity to venerable makers-of-things of varying materials including Butterscotch Baby’s full line of Total Body Experience products, felted accessories by Jan Falk, repurposed and original nit designs by Zen Dragonfly, couture from BVEN Boutique on Brady, and some serious iron work from Historic Preservation Award winner Milwaukee Blacksmith Inc. Sunday Up Market’s selection of wares and accessories gave a swath of interpretations on winter favorites like hats, scarves, wrist warmers and some really nice mittens, and all season items like jewelry and resale vintage fashion from other sellers as well.
As craft and art fairs become vogue, mainstay outlets like WSME’s Buy Local Bazaar, Art vs Craft and Made in Milwaukee need company, its getting to the place where there are just not enough booths to go around. Even more intriguing, MOCT has the ability to host this event on a regular basis with a nearly ideal atmosphere for a local shopping experience: urban chic and niche. Once spring breaks, Solares, collaborating with the Walker’s Point Association and Alderman Perez, plans to move the venue of Sunday Up Market to an outdoor space that will accommodate 200 vendors. The Sunday Up Market spring kick-off is scheduled for May 5, 2013.
Even though the next Up Market is a month out, you may still have time to strike a deal with some of the vendors before Christmas by contacting them directly, online or by appointment. The next Sunday Up Market is January 20, 2013 at MOCT. You’ll find more information on the market and vending opportunities on Sunday Up Market’s website.
Cloaked and vaporous social commentary of unprecedented proportion masqueraded as wackiness in one of the best art installations of the year. Tremendous effort went into putting together The Skrauss’ latest exhibition Ascension into the Fiction at UWM Innova 3 Gallery. An illustrator and painters by training The Skrauss has more recently taken a dive of the deep end into video production. He’s compiled a series of vlogs entitled The Skrauss Speaks. For Ascension into the Fiction The Skrauss constructed an elaborate maze, with walls at least 10 feet high with blind turns and tight spaces, fabricated from discarded boxes and duck tape. Several rooms were set upon by projectors blasting the The Skrauss Speaks propaganda films onto the maze walls.
This once and life time experience closed December 8th unfortunately, it actually took me two weeks to find the Innova 3 Gallery, nestled unceremoniously in the Peck Arts building on UWM campus proper. Alas, The Skrauss is having an art open house and book give away today at 4:30p at The Skrap Haus Multinational.
I’ll never get used to the receding daylight suffered by fall changing to winter. The premature darkness did allow the new inhabitants of Truly Spoken’s old space to feature their fine vintage replacement framed window glass under studio lighting. There’s a market around here for that huh? That’s the kind ingenuity you expect to see these days unfortunately. Nice to see someone making lemonade out of it.
Keeping with its long-suffering reputation as the hotbed for everything an urban cross-roads should have, Riverwest proudly watched one of its more established artist venues, Jackpot Gallery, open a new show titled Nicotine Bliss. The Jackpot Gallery show opened November 9th and helped demonstrate the robust bandwidth Milwaukee’s art scene has achieved; The Portrait Society Gallery’s unveiling happened to be on the same night attracting a whole different crowd.
via AnthonyMikkelson on YouTube
Unsel Fish Guild
Headlined by no-one in particular, 14 artist shacked up on Jackpots’ walls for Nicotine Bliss. Pieces touched on traditional forms of painting and print-making, and went guerrilla, pop and re-purposed.
Anthony Mikkelson minds the design spaces ACME and Used Car Studios shared his insights on the sights from his world and beyond. Several of his pieces presented illustrations of characters, objects and street-scapes endemic to urban areas. Channeling folk-artsiness for a few pieces, ACME scrawled deliberately on reused objects such as wood board and LP liners, leaving urban artifacts and relics of this current age.
Gregory Martens went ballistic depicting the end of days in series of prints that stopped time in several locales spread far and wide across the continents. As the rapture occurs, the sights, sounds, and amazement of that moment culminate in natural, celestial and symbolic realms colliding with known and unknown forces amidst the final cataclysm. Martens brings this world to our un-believing eyes applying print-making techniques to oversized paper.
A Matter of Medium
As much about the final product, as the method of reaching the consumable image, the works comprising the Nicotine Bliss installation all share the desire to go new places, off-canvas, and away from acrylic paint. Paul Kjelland really stood tall applying hand cut paper techniques.
With a precise razor blade, Kjelland took two very pop images of youth doing youthful things and simulated posterizing effects on them, with cuts leaving only the essential details of the image, then coloring them with a glazes of spray paint until the images looked as if they could be stills from A Scanner Darkly.
Contributing healthily to the Nicotine Bliss show also were Lindsay Marx (a painter of growing infamy), Brad Warsh, Lois Galvez, Levon Turner, Ahmad Kearney, Ella Dwyer, Max Senesac, Kellen Kroening, Jenna Wilson, Joshua Carol and Kate Luscher.
Nicotine Bliss tears down November 27th.
via FritsisNietzsche on YouTube
Breaking in its newly reconfigured space, the Portrait Society Gallery’s latest opening went easy as a Saturday afternoon whistle Friday night at the Marshall Building. At least that’s the way feels when you just get to be one of the many enthused patrons.
An Enclave, Rarified
For several years prior, the Portrait Society’s raw 5th floor space stitched a hallway of individual offices into a quiet cave of high quality, highly focused artistic subject matter. Pieces hung in PSG’s noncontiguous display areas, for you to find. No longer the case, the space and its work now finds you.
Formerly, a plain-old door threshold lead to an makeshift office, slash 1 of 3 dedicated display areas, slash storage closet. The PSG said f-it and removed the entire corner of the hallway, replacing it with a very attractive, skillfully made glass entry way.
Inside they adjusted an interior wall to create a tangible but quaint division between three contiguous display areas, one capitalizing on existing exposed brick that will never get old. Studio lighting added, and action! A polished gallery space to suit the already exquisitely polished curating taste of PSG’s Debra Brehmer.
Viewing the Latest
Now showing at the Portrait Society Gallery, several exhibitors dual traditional photographic exposure techniques against those renegade ones. With Natural History ,Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lotham display series of enhanced silhouettes that retain some of the human subjects’ physical facial features and impose on to them others.
Nicholas Grider , in co-artistic display with the Portrait Society, delves into vintage photographic styles compiling a series of family mantle pieces and adding to them contemporary aesthetic appeal.
Taking center display space, with their installation Decay Utopia Decay, having used an oversized DIY camera and an improvised enlarger to muster 30×36 inch cyanotype exposures, hardcore photography virtuosos J. Shimon and J. Lindemann, draw out ambiguous and mysteriously staged photo frames that dramatically convey 15 thousand word statements.
The Portrait Society Gallery’s latest installments hit the wall November 9 and will hang there until January 5, 2013. The Portrait Society Gallery opens to the public Friday thru Sunday, 12 to 5pm, on the 5th floor of the Marshall Building in the Third Ward.
It’s her first, but highly unlikely that it’s her last. Nadia Smale has an art show coming up at Orcanine Abbey this Friday night titled Reincarnation. She has moxie and a proclivity for making cool stuff, as all artists do, with an eye for aesthetic and guts to take chances. How can you blame her? She’s not yet turned 18. Getting a few moments of pre-show reflection,artist and mentor Akua Oladunjoye shares this guest interview with Nadia for Local Trolley.
Akua Oladunjoye for Local Trolley: Thank you Nadia for welcoming this interview! It is a pleasure to sit down with you and hear your thoughts on your first upcoming art show: Reincarnation.
LT: Let’s dive right in. Why “Reincarnation” what does this word mean to you?
Nadia Smale: Everything needs a new start in life. People, art, music… why not it is a new generation.
LT: Did you ever think you would have this opportunity?
NS: It’s something I’ve always wanted. Down the line my first art [school] choice is MIAD. A special lady who was working with me took me to Milwaukee and I fell in love with the east side and saw their gallery and that was what I wanted [wink, wink], to have a show and be a part of their gallery.
LT: How long have you been doing art?
NS: Since kindergarten. It was required throughout elementary, middle and high school. I fell in love with it, that’s all.
LT: what motivates and inspires you to do art?
NS: I think of family members, friends, my cat and Akua who tags me along. My grandfather, dad and sometimes my mom inspire me to do art. My grandfather was a drawer. My dad likes to look at it and my mom thinks she is an artist, haaaa! I sent my dad a picture on his phone and that made me smile.
LT: Has art saved you?
NS: Yes, a lot. I had to keep a journal in school and when I wanted to write nasty things I didn’t. I would draw what I felt instead.
LT: What is your most enjoyable material to work with?
NS: Charcoal, it’s crazy but fun to work with. If it doesn’t work the way you plan it turns into something else. I enjoy that.
LT: What is the most difficult material you have ever worked with so far?
NS: Metal, when working on the metal rose it took a long time. Had to sketch it out then I worked with tin to make the petals using exotic curves, and I had to get the stem right. It took 3 months every day working on it to get it just right.
LT: What is your least favorite material to work with?
NS: Don’t have one, I wanted to get rid of a glass bowl [I made] that my mom has, but she loves it. I like working with all the mediums.
LT: You talked about your favorite bands and musicians, how do they, if at all, influence you and your art?
NS: Skrillex and other musicians can make the sounds flow in your body and you want to move, to take whatever is in your hand a paint brush or whatever and create, like water moving slowly when you actually do it, its maybe crazy just like you really are when you are listening.
LT: Is there something you want to add?
NS: I love doing art every single day, I create even if I am doodling in class. I like the tool in my hand, the smudges it’s life and nothing without it. Architecture, walls, roofs, food is culinary art outside the world everything is made of its own creation that’s what I like and want to do. That’s how I start something that matters… you know art.
Reincarnation, An Art Benefit for Jagged Edges by Nadia Smale opens Friday, October 26th at 6p in the Orcanine Abbey, 1718 N 1st Street, Studio 5N2. Free to the public, but donations are welcome to support Nadia’s pursuit of art education. There will also be a silent auction. Reincarnation is a participating exhibit of Tap the Potential, a series of art exhibitions to raise disability awareness.
Aircraft routinely claim the distinction of the only ones taking off at General Mitchell International Airport. Recently at Mitchell International, Tap the Potential lifted awareness of people that defy the laws of social gravity. Tap the Potential is a month long initiative of Milwaukee Public Theatre to give a platform to those that constantly face societal dynamics that designate them exceptional, and often excludable, on account of their physical and mental attributes. More commonly, we have learned to bind them with the concept of disabled.
Opening on October 4, General Mitchell Airport dedicated its concourse lobby to the visual art of a couple dozen artists with disabilities of all types. The carefully shaded color tones piqued canvases with images of all varieties, from exquisitely realistic to stirringly expressive. With it’s closing coinciding with the eve of Gallery Night and Day in Milwaukee, Independence First sponsored the Mitchell Airport show reception and invited travelers, family and friends to offer their written reflections on the artwork from the exhibit’s contributors, including thoughts on group submissions from Donna Lexa Community Art Center and Madison’s VSA Wisconsin.
On the Go, In Awe
Studying the Tap for Potential exhibit pieces, the breadth of styles and techniques wielded by the artists repeatedly strike me with their candor, thoughtfulness and proficiency. Reaching the corner displays, a painting titled Her Hacienda and another titled Her Lady stop me in my tracks, in a way the Spanish villa and Victorian mansion subjects likely would, if I tried to walk past them in real life. A quick note allows me not to forget their author, Jeff LaDow.
Continuing on, patrons gather timidly and some at a distance around an artist painting live. The work in progress gets a dose of precise and exactly blended oil strokes. The artist, Jeff LaDow, holds the brush nimbly with teeth using a device that allows his jaw muscles to exert finely calibrated pressure through the handle, his mark is true.
He meticulously works center stage in the concourse lobby, impervious, as travelers bustle about and reception goers peer over his shoulder. Experiencing an accident in his youth that strickened him quadriplegic, LaDow faces down this challenge by sharing his gifts with the world. When asked about his preferred medium, oil, LaDow states matter-of-factly “It’s easy to work with.” He attracts admirers with every touch of paint.
After October 19th, the Mitchell Airport Tap the Potential contributors’ work will find new space to hang out, possibly permanently with you. If you have interest in purchasing artworks that were a part of the exhibit, contact Jennifer Vattendahl (414) 847 – 1991.
Tap the Potential’s collaborators are VSA Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Office of Persons with Disabilities, Life Navigators, Independence First, Milwaukee Center for Independence, Curative Rehabilitation Center, and Goodwill Industries of Southeast Wisconsin. Learn more about talented artists who don’t use their hands at the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists site.
Tap the Potential sponsored art exhibits continue through the rest of October and include the first art show by aspiring artist Nadia Smale on Friday October 26 at 6:00p at Orcanine Abbey 1718 N. 1st Street Studio 5N2.
Boundless Bravery by Samantha Brody, Scholastic
Cramming activities into the last clement days of the year isn’t too difficult in Milwaukee and no neighborhood rises to the occasion quite like Bay View. There’s the South Shore Farmers Market and The Frolics. There was Pabst Fest and Bay View Bash, Art Beat, that other crap I’m missing, and now Bay View Gallery Night, which kicks off tomorrow night. Yes, a Gallery Night so cool it happens a full month before the rest of the City’s.
On the serrated butter knife’s edge of this madness, Made in Milwaukee and Alchemist Theatre safely press their pointy little teeth into Milwaukee’s penchant for creative to-do’s du jour. Bay View’s abundance of venues and pop-up cultural dioramas basically will allow you to just walk down KK without a plan. But here are a few places and artists to see.
They co-sponsor the night and will have photography of Shane Gardner on the walls and music of Todd Richards and the Surround Sound Experiment in the ether. What’s coolest about this stop? The Alchemist Theatre has a chic/cheeky dive concept lounge rarely open when no show is on-stage.
If you’re not sure about theatre, you can at least absorb one of the best social atmospheres Milwaukee has to offer without committing a couple hours to stage entertainment. If you like it enough, you can vamp back in for the Alchemist’s upcoming Hollowed Eve themed freak-you-out live theatrical production The Alchemist Eye.
Usually all sorts of craziness goes on at the Hide House like church services and improvised musical shows. Most of that will probably still be going on tomorrow night and among others Amanda Iglinski’s works will perch on the Hide House’s interior vertical planes as a part of the first floor display. She’s a tremendous pop artist with intriguing vision that melds social commentary to the craft of picking images, motifs and colors to blend.
Resident artist Jenie Gao will open her space to feature artwork of her contemporaries Steph Davies, Laura Macias Barrera, Zina Mussman, Rachel Quirk and live music.
Gao Gallery occasionally offers instructional art workshops. Stop by during Bay View Gallery Night and you’ll be able to screenprint a ready made design on one of your own garments or a T that you can purchase there. Jenie Gao’s star as a fine art purveyor is in full bloom and something to gaze upon for seeing what it looks like to go beyond just having talent in a particular medium.
Ink’s abound in this town, why stop now? I see calf tats are in. Shogun Tattoo & Body Piercing will wet their needles publicly for the grand ole’ first time, opening on BVGN’s expressive ocean swell. The Mil can’t get enough ink, how can you blame us, most of us live where our bodies are at the moment anyway.
The Rest Are The Best Anyway
If I were to drop a few more names for thirst quenching pit stops let’s jus throw Studio Lounge, Black Bird Bar, Boon and Crockett, Hector’s and Club Giribaldi out there arbitrarily. Bay View Gallery Night’s website has the full listing happenings complete with proper addresses and other vital information. I also hear that the new super brilliant Alterra will have a parking lot extavaganza of sorts to top it all with a mango.
In the Frederick Layton Gallery, propped up on a small shelf a couple of well-worn sketch books atypically invite peering. They appear weightless, floating with the levity of their contents. Next to them, a 11×17 or so framed movie style poster reads The Peeling, in thin modern san serif script, set on a putrid green gradient background ascending to off-tan.
As if chosen from a casting call staged in Danaya Khartcheko’s sketch book, a particularly oxymoron-ironic character plucked from an audition line of seductive to absurd beta anime illustrations poses shyly in the center of the poster, thick spiraled horns draping downward like pig tails, big innocent eyes gaping. It’s Twiggy. She’s the star of Khartcheko‘s animated mini-drama playing on a nearby flat screen.
Ripe Banana, opposite Twiggy in The Peeling, menacing, intensely yellow and obese, sits onerously on a table grimacing and grumbling. I’m fighting hard to continue discerning the plot, I think I am hallucinating at this point, but as I recall a powerful dandy of a man chose Ripe Banana as an ingredient for his next dessert. Twiggy, taken by the dandy’s influence, must do the peeling honors while the he engages in other worldly fancies.
Compelled and ready for action, Twiggy maintains her demure temperament a few unsuspecting moments before springing to the table, confronting Ripe Banana with a swift chomp to the skin. In the end, picking its own time to go, Ripe Banana gets peeled, smelly and wasted.
Short and enjoyable, Khartchenko’s animated piece falls somewhere between National Film Board of Canada and Tim Burton stylistically and tells a dark but humorous story accompanied by rhythms from The Scissors Sisters, proving traditional animation techniques are well worth staying around. Series in the making? Let’s hope so.
The closing of MIAD’s 2012 Juried Senior Thesis Exhibition coincided with the 25th Anniversary of Gallery Night in Milwaukee.
Two weeks ago I see this unruly event message from Milwaukee Alt about some month long gallery night. I go, miss mostly everything and have a great time anyway enjoying the wake of making. The taste that making makes, matters, it might not fit every flavor. In the glut of creativity Milwaukee produces these days, you can get disgruntled and caught in the affections of cynicism. Those feelings, give fad to critics. Commit to what you believe, Outer Inspirations does.
via Outer Inspirations
Proprietor and tattoo artist Mac MacDannald’s talents hang from the walls touching the 20 foot ceilings, with paintings of all sizes teasing the imagination in folk and pop art from. Presentation stands out in one set of works employing a primary color pallette incarnating shadily interesting illustrated characters, contrasting completely the deep stained wood tones of the backgrounds and frames.
Mac’s partner in the creative arts, Tarah Mueller contributes dearly to the Outer Inspirations gallery installation. Immense and majestic portrait images fusing fantasy and alternative aesthetics with traditional brush techniques cling to retinas through dilated pupils. Sullen and rich colors together subtly radiate to all corners of her canvases, giving immortality to highly seductive heroine subjects.
Milwaukee Alt’s, founder Ryan Laessig leaves his impression on the show as well with several portraits from his growing body of work in alternative fashion photography. Laessig’s work was recently featured in Gorgeous Freaks magazine, his lens challenging notions of traditional high end fashion beauty, and his models come as they are, striking in their appearance and attitude.
Outer Inspirations Closing Gallery Night, June 30th, 7p, 823 N 2nd, West Town, The Triangle featuring work by Milwaukee Alt, Outer Inspiration’s Mac MacDannald, Tara Mueller, Nick Kurszewski, Matt Nadolny, Juliet Jaeger, Damir Zoric, William Arthur and Amber Michelle Russell. Besides the obvious artistic viewing pleasure, there are many accessibly priced prints, original art, fashion clothing and accessories (including a nice selection of gauges) available for purchase.
Moving over dumb, Orcanine Alley, henceforth known as Orcanine Abbey, joined the motley gang supporting sell-outs, out-of-space pickers and desperate exhibitionist. In slacker-esque form, after Spring Gallery Night 2012 wrapped-up, Orcanine Abbey opened up dimly to launch its contribution to the mash-up Milwaukee’s art scene has coagulated.
Cool Art Please
Visually, varied and meticulous renditions of literal and figurative expression held a reflection of artist Lindsay Marx‘s mind on the wall-space. Spanning from realist plein air architecture to whimsical, and not so whimsical, contemporary projections of raw emotion, medium aside, Marx’s visual-points were made emphatically with several paintings and illustrations.
The Skrauss paints from a place seldom found by minds of ordinary cognition. Oversized canvases hold his broad but detailed brush-marks that leave deliberately gigantic comic-strip worthy scenes on a singular enlarged frame. A visual space left for blanks to be filled by your own personal dialog-ballons brings interaction to the otherwise stationary medium of painting.
Not On Mute
With music for manics, and fanatics in tow, The Manual Controller, offered a set of improvised blips and blaps live, with a sparsely lavish guitar escort.
Orcanine Abbey periodically opens to the public.
Secret Lover, Unpop Art Show, Orcanine Abbey, http://wp.me/p1hPwN-1lU
All those people who love mural style street art just got lucky. Sara Ede, Milwaukee-born photographer and bonafide globe-trotter, recently self-published a book capturing exceedingly impressive work of muralists in two of Brazil’s most glorious cities, Rio and Sao Paolo.
Brazilian Graffiti, Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paolo shows why the U.S. is falling behind globally. With urban officials there busy worrying about how to make cities livable, while growing their economies (rather than spending significant energy figuring out how to indiscriminately prosecute anybody carrying a spay-can), major metropolis’ in the Southern hemisphere like these bloom tremendous creativity, with no damage to the class or prestige of their communities.
Under pseudonym La Pajarita Frenetica, Sara Ede has displayed a tremendous eye for intriguing the lens with artistic landscape photography that picks out the scenes within a scene. If we keep getting lucky, maybe some of these works will eventually rest between bound pages as well.
Brazilian Graffiti, Rio de Janeiro & Sao Paolo by Sara Ede can be had in customizable 8.75″ x 11.25″ hardcover for a base price of $89 US.
We just got luckier, Sarah Ede also has available urban landscape and portrait photography projects entitled La Pajarita Frenetica, Retrospective 2010 and La Pajarita Frenetica (2011). Both works gorgeously share Ede’s ability to find highly attractive images and moments hiding within ordinary places and human experiences.
I could be really ticked at myself for missing The Skrauss’ gallery installation last fall or his Master’s thesis project this past winter; or I could be beside myself for not getting in line four hours early to catch Skrauss’ big screen debut in the Milwaukee Film Fest short The Wheel, or I could just be happy The Skrauss self-publishes a video blog now.
With MFA nearly under his belt (or pillow) Skrauss lately indulges himself mastering other gifts besides his obvious talents in painting and illustration. A hearty appetite for spoken prose and an unearthed alacrity for video production makes Skrauss an unlikely multi-media super hero on a plane with The Tick.
I got a chance to share a choice exchange with Skrauss, a few verses of quilled mental banter.
LS Trolley: So you’ve just got done selling out, with your big bad MFA, if you haven’t repressed it all already tell me about your work you’ve just completed… Time told with actions, a pity when words conjure, just a sound can provoke the wits of the ages, in envy do we begin again, do we find our way again?
The Skrauss: I am your master as of December and only later will master, in November, Fine art. Remember this footnote: I burn midnight’s embers toil for the F in the above designation. Then without hesitation I’ll move through Tomorrow’s history and obliterate the Art World. You’ll see, here in Milwaukee headlines read: “The Skräuss Decimates Modulation, Mighty-and_High Mediation. Unchains imagination. Adulation!”
Self-production: the new sustenance…
via The Skrauss Speaks, You Listen, Youtube
LST: The floor approaches my feet with ease, I stop so my fingers can curse the cursor, I will not point, worth your bid?
The Skrauss: I make it your bidzniz, my bids. They this: I snap my fingers, I prime the pump, I squirt some Lysol on my tongue. My life jumps not lingers. It leaps from the box, unsprung and breaking hinges.
LST: With freedom the mind wanders, how is it best served?
The Skrauss: Work out your freedom with fear and trembling. Take the fork in the road, make an absurd turn. Deny the mind mumbling, spiritus Mundi, the Cistern Chapel and
and her resigned grumbling.
LST: What else have you been up to, what’s next, lets just define art while we are at it. Feel free to drift off into some poetics. Tell me about your dabbling with the power of words and video images, as much as you have with traditional visual art mediums and technique… sort of in line with what seems to be distilling from your video blog…
The Skrauss: I’ve moved from comics to paintings to sculpture to video. I’m utterly time-based. A cartoonist hastening through the democratic matrix; that you call youtube and all of its individual moments beautiful and hideo. Next up, a schematic for the “Milwaukee2 Epic Cycle.” An info graphic, a map.
Formerly words did all the work cultivating culture, codifying our clamoring, the noise of civilization’s hammering. Then America mixed, from engraving’s catalyst, words and pictures creating comic’s first scriptures. I contradict high-brow strictures.
LST: Typical artist, can’t decide what talent to batter people with next… That’s good news, I wasn’t sure Milwaukee was even going to make ‘epic’ status before people stopped using that term… tell me why I’m going to the like this ‘Milwaukee2 Epic Cycle’ or did you just make that up? Growing in the time between now and when, places when just out of reach enough to keep exerting… exhorting…
The Skrauss: Milwaukee’s been epic since the first cataleptic foot down in the root, but we’re all separate, suff’ring like puffer fish, with our minds in the box, blinds drawn, buffering. The Milwaukee2 Epic Cycle, unicycle, 9 reels of treacle dubbed by Hitchcock, with Ed Wood on ballaleika. It’s a pocket full of rockets, a gun at a bottle fight, a nun rolling down a hill at night going, “Grey, grey, grey, spectrum!”
The M2 EC squared, cubed, hypercubed, I declare, it’s a package of delights a fountain of fireworks gurgling out your nightlight. A novel told out of order in the least efficient form or media possible. It’s inaccessible. It’s painting, comics, poetry, films. It’s all my whims, lassoed, hog-tied. Scarier than Grimm, I’m coming from mythology just like Icarus, just like a satirist. I’m a Chestertonian paradox. Milwaukee2 stuffs the ballot box, but rolls a harmonium.
LST: Hit me again…
The Skrauss: …Ectoplasmic retorting! Bend the rules of blues and create the sound of the screws in the clockwork. Accept it all, no matter how lame, cheesy, hackneyed, or corny. God is in the strings. Why not show them? We’re not rabbits in hats, we’re the kings, we go anywhere. One step. One step at a time…
The Skrauss recently smashed a couple of Milwaukee art venues over Spring Gallery Night, UWM’s Peck School of the Arts Annual Kenilworth Open Studios and outlet in development Orcanine Abbey.
If you’re in the mood for some disorienting audio/visual stimulation check-out Skrauss’s video blog The Skrauss Speaks, You Listen, which is pretty much poised to put Hulu Plus out of business. In print, Skrauss dabbles in poetry and other artistic and not so artistic muses on Phooey Gun Fight. In the mean time, let Skrauss demystify one of Milwaukee’s favorite holidays for you.
Do you know who you’re toasting on St. Patty’s Day?
via The Skrauss Speaks, You Listen, Youtube
Mason Street storefronts got a new neighbor last September, and that neighbor has a little moxie too. Just a door down from the Delind Gallery of Fine Art, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers stage vintage, couture and fine art for auction.
Prepping for the Summer auction season, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers hosted an opening reception last Saturday and has several previews, of contemporary art and prints that will also on be on the block, planned for the coming week. Hindman’s auction stock includes work of contemporary giants Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and some niche tastes with local ties that spotlight Francesco Spicuzza and work brushed by members of the Sister’s of St. Francis Assisi.
Controlled breathing may suite you well when entering the show room. Fragile and finely crafted furniture and housewares sit gingerly, made from precious and semi-precious metals, glass and porcelain. The array of rare items available through Leslie Hindman’s inventory even span ornately bound volumes of reference books and original manuscripts, and couture fashion (yes, original Christian Dior among the seams)
Although most of Leslie Hindman’s items price rather thick for the blood of common stock, many highly cherishable pieces fall well within the reach of a budding collector. Discerning taste catches quickly. As much about art as aesthetic, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ eye’s for design and decor prove contagious even for those who’s heels are a little worn, but have noses formed well enough to look down. Starring maybe be rude, but looking can create a quick and interesting stop on a leisurely early and stylish evening out in Eastown.
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers are based in Chicago, with Milwaukee as one of only four other offices in the United States. Previews of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers old, master, and contemporary art section, of the auction opening April 29th, commence April 25 and end May 1. Here’s what the full Spring and Summer auction schedule has in store.
A buzz always hits the entertainment world around this time of year, the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science rolls out the Red Carpet for the A-listers to shimmer, pop culture mavens to swoon, and buffs to admire from afar. This year a solemn hum vibrates the Milwaukee art news, as the Times Cinema, an independent cinema that made a tradition out of bringing a piece of Oscar magic to the area, prepares to transition into a new phase of its movie house life span.
The Times, and its sister cinema the Rosebud, continue their tradition of screening Academy nominated films in the weeks leading up to Oscar night. Tonight, as in years past, you can also watch the Academy Awards on the big screen at the Rosebud Cinema, possibly for the last time ever.
The Times will screen the Oscar nominated Animated Short Films at 4:30p today as well. Local Trolley checked them out yesterday and they were surprisingly gripping and thoughtful with short features that deviated from the Pixar-style films, and some that were equally entertaining done in the modern vein.
The Short of It
Wild Life in particular stands-out among the nominees, produced by Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby. For some reason Canadians have an amazing knack for adult oriented cartoons. The short story is told by a simplistic almost Impressionist form of animated illustration that strings together several accounts from towns people of an well to do Englishman settling in Canada for a chic cowboy adventure, set in contrast to the narration provided through the Englishman’s letters home. The Englishman’s life is subtly mirrored by a parable of the mysterious celestial Comet, and by the end of the short, likewise demystified.
The other Animated Short nominees the Times will show in about thirty minutes from now are Dimanche/Sunday, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, La Luna, and A Morning Stroll.
The Times Cinema is located on 59th and Vliet, and the Rosebud Theatre is located on 68th and North Avenue.
Glancing out the window while commuting down 35th Street, in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor, you might imagine yourself a red blood cell floating through plaque crusted arteries. The decay of weathered brick one-story machine shops, once churning with activity, appear largely abandoned and vacant. Some shops are now schools or churches, some shops maintained their industrial roots and continue machining, building and manufacturing. One shop in particular, Vanguard Sculpture Services, consummates ingenuity found in the neighborhood’s traditions and the creativity of craft and art culture smelting in Milwaukee’s niche scenes.
In the Guild
Since 1996 in the Vanguard space and for many years before that, Vanguard’s proprietor Mike Nolte has cast bronze sculptures ranging in size from house cat to adult human and beyond. His recent winter Gallery Night exhibit opening entitled Founders highlights his artisan craft, forging sculpture artists’ work into permanent fixtures of life expression. Inaugurating the new Vanguard Gallery space extraordinary bronze cast pieces, formed by nearly 20 different artists, pose virtually immortal on pedestals and rappel from Vanguard Gallery‘s walls. Among them a large spider gently claws the wall, and a cubist inspired cat prowls.
A Few Among the Sculptors
Bernard Roberts, Bountifully Shaped
Cindy Rust Saiia, Coded Panes
Don Rambadt, Flying Fairly
Care Ekpo, Of Topics Less Known
William Zweifel, Woven Glass
Laura Priebe, Fossils of the Present
David Aschenbrener, Fire and Ice
Charlotte Darling Diehl, A Mother’s Love
Art as Labor
Nolte offered tours of his bronze casting shop in conjunction with Vanguard Gallery’s recent installation opening. Explaining his modern application of the ancient lost-wax technique that brings bronze sculptures into being, Nolte’s overview revealed the tremendously time intensive process lending to the relatively high value bronze sculptures have given the relatively low value of the metal itself. Essentially, the bronze-smith replicates stone or clay reference sculptures, provided by the artist, using several successive molds made from plastic, plaster and wax before reaching the final stage of pouring liquid bronze into the ceramic cast.
“Freezing” at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit, the bronze form eventually cools to room temperature and can be handled. Larger sculptures are cast in pieces and must be welded together strategically like a 3-D puzzle. Nolte, in this final stage, may spend thousands of hours grinding and filing the sculpture’s welds and rough spots until every surface lays immaculately smooth. Color can be added to the bronze using the Patina process. The finished bronze is fired again to remove any moisture from the metal. Applying an extremely thin wax coating, adds a refined finish to the final product.
Bronze about Town
Vanguard’s work stands tall all over Milwaukee and the Country. Some of Nolte’s more famous works include the Mary Tyler Moore statue in downtown Minneapolis and the George Stephen (founder of Weber Grills) statue. His works can also be seen about town, notably casts of Gwendolyn Gillen’s ducks on the Milwaukee River bridge on Wisconsin Avenue, and less notably, the placards on the Walnut Street Bridge noting Halyard Park’s namesakes Wilbur and Ardie Halyard.
Milwaukee goes to DC
If you missed the State of the Union address last night the 30th Street Corridor, maybe one of Milwaukee’s most promising areas for development, made our fair city proud. The train manufacturer Talgo would have solidly anchored the Corridor with a long term commitment to occupy the Century City development (the former A.O. Smith site) until Wisconsin’s current Governor, in one of his first ill-advised acts, nixed State support of a Talgo‘s relocation to Milwaukee.
Despite this set back, President Obama pointed out in the SOTU (minute 11:30 if you search the video) that another of the Corridor’s residents, Masterlock, recently returned to full production capacity. Masterlock makes quality U-Locks for all you bikers out there, and they are made in Milwaukee. The good press is certainly welcome news for the 30th Street Corridor BID Executive Director Gloria Stearns, who has noted that in addition to manufacturing, her interests include attracting talent from the creative arts sector to the Corridor to compliment businesses like Vanguard and efforts such as IN:SITE.
Vanguard Gallery’s current installation Founders runs until February 17th. The closing reception will feature a live bronze pouring demonstration.
Vanguard casting extends services to HAAT project, Taki S. Raton, Milwaukee Courier
From stone Charlotte Darling-Diehl renders a caring figuring, a mother embracing her children in copious affection. An artist by trade, Darling-Deihl has sculpted folk art from stone since the 1960′s.
Back to Main Post, Bronze Age 2.0, Vanguard Sculpture Services, Gallery Night Winter 2012
Bernard Roberts, Bountifully Shaped
Cindy Rust Saiia, Coded Panes
Don Rambadt, Flying Fairly
Care Ekpo, Of Topics Less Known
William Zweifel, Vanguard Gallery
Laura Priebe, Fossils of the Present
David Aschenbrener, Fire and Ice
Charlotte Darling Diehl, A Mother’s Love
Getting on the elevator, I dodge a man dressed in chef’s garb pushing an overloaded cart of kitchen wares headed for Chin’s Restaurant. Journeying through the Third Ward’s Marshall Building up five floors to the Portrait Society Gallery space, you realize that part of enjoying any art destination comes with the trip there. Places that make you work a bit to arrive conjure much more moxie.
Closing soon at the Portrait Society Gallery, Jean Roberts Guequierre shares her masterfully brushed series Giotto’s Eyes. A small collection of illustrations and paintings, alluding to the work of seminal renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone, serenade the viewer in the Portrait Society Gallery‘s stillness. Especially true of Roberts Guequierre‘s work in oil, detail resounds in each composition with velvety fury, easily lost in cursory glances. Intent gazes bring you in contact with her subjects emotions, circumstances and purposes.
Full of Hue
In Giotto di Bondone’s pieces like many others dealing in Medieval and folk art subject matter, imagery and symbolism stands central to conveying meaning. Roberts Guequierre spares none of these artistic languages as some pieces in the Giotto’s Eyes exhibit remain curious even in their apparent explicitness. Meanwhile four of Roberts Guequierre‘s pieces in particular tell a complex tale(s) involving several reoccurring character presences veiling copious religious symbolism held within seemingly absurd people and scenarios.
Striking in manner, Roberts Guequierre capturing a tender interaction between companions leaves a notable tidbit buried for those with religious furor. The cheek to cheek moment seen in the painting setting an older man and woman mutually beloved, recreates the exact moment Anna whispers to Joachim that she conceived a child after being barren for 50 years. The child bears a familiar name, Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
In Adjacent Galleries
Every Day presents photo montages prepared by 13 Milwaukee personalities, including recognizable names like Julia Taylor. Tasked with taking a series of photos during a 24 hour period over the course of a typical day, a variety of interpretations arise as vertical wall space supports groups photographic portraits.
Giotto’s Eyes displays until January 14th at the Portrait Society Gallery <(hours), a missed opportunity for serious art collectors when the closing passes. Every Day closes on the same date.
Portrait Society: Three shows change your outlook, by Kat Murrel, Third Coast Digest
Guequierre’s Beautiful ‘Eyes’ at Portrait Society Gallery by Judith Ann Moriarty, ExpressMilwaukee
Oh yeah it’s 2012! That means it’s time to quickly look back at 2011 before speeding off into the night of the New Year. I’ve been blogging for about 3 years now, and the new year also brings us closer to Local Trolley’s one year anniversary! Before I go on posting, I want to acknowledge my most popular posts from 2011. Even though I don’t know how I will honor my most popular post subjects, I still want to give them the desserts they deserve!
Here are the five Local Trolley topics receiving the most page views in 2011!
#5 Vision Noir, Ryan Laessig, Milwaukee Alt (posted August 19, 2011)
Meeting Ryan Laessig was an unexpected jolt of freshness. A photographer and avid re-branded clothing maker, Laessig taps into the alternative fashion scene with a couple of location based themes titled Milwaukee Alt. and Capital Alt..
Laessig published a book photography this past summer entitled Milwaukee Alt. featuring men and women’s fashion styles and aesthetics. His efforts engage sexuality, seductiveness and pleasure, hanging out in area between tasteful and taboo.
#4 Breaking Beats Down, Miltown Beat Down Rd. 1 (posted May 12, 2011)
Generating much hype over the past 5 years or so the Miltown Beat Down has provided and outlet for not just aspiring rappers but music producers. The past three years the Miltown Beat Down has featured music producers exclusively. In 2011 hip-hip producer Reason took the title, on the precipices of one of 2011′s top underground collaborations UniFi Records’ release Know Flight Zone with Dana Coppa.
The Miltown Beat Down featured a lot of other independent efforts like Audio Pilot, Sam Winters, Luxi, Mark V, and White Russian, and approximately 36 other talented hip-hop musicians. DJ Madhatter and Kid Cut Up, two hip-hop mainstays in Milwaukee (minus Kid Cut Up now who left Milwaukee to spread his wings this past fall) mastered the ceremonies last year, no telling what in store this year. In the wake of Andrew Tyler’s murder, the only thing the hip-hop community can do is keep striving for higher ground and efforts like the Miltown Beat Down humbly keep the culture ascending.
#3 Making the Mold, Northern Chocolate Co. (posted April 8, 2011)
Filling a need to associate people we know with established type cast, takes a little bit from Jim Fetzer‘s natural mystique. None the less people seek his chocolate desperately and I definitely noticed that as the winter holidays approached, views of my post on Northern Chocolate Company trickled up.
He’s an alum of the old Ambrosia chocolate factory workforce and has kept busy making chocolate on Martin Luther King Drive well before urban renewal took hold in Brewer’s Hill. If you made a Milwaukee Pabst-Can-list, tearing-off and devouring the head of one Northern Chocolate Co‘s famous chocolate bunnies would settle in the top ten must-do’s.
#2 Talent transplant: Riverwest a Rhapsody! (posted March 12, 2011)
Riverwest, ah Riverwest. Some love it, some get broken by it, some thrive in its rubbery stew. Riverwest is kind of like Milwaukee’s City of the Lost Children and playwright Eric Theis wound his experiences there into a theatrical ditty entitled Riverwest: A Rhapsody!.
Ironically, Theis produced his musical in Madison at Broom Street Theater. Despite the play’s, geographical limitations, Theis masterfully transformed his Madisonian cast into a band of gypsies worthy of a inhabiting a Polish flat on Weil Street.
Fearless of difficult topics, Theis’s other projects include an original script about the Reconstruction Era South titled The Temples of Nadir. Crafting intelligent, poignant and nuanced dramatic prose, Eric Theis falls into the category of extremely talented young risk-taking writers to support.
#1 Pt. 2, Art Opulence, Mike Maegestro (posted September 1, 2011)
On a very indiscript late summer day in August, an art show gracing several store fronts in the Plankington Arcade section of the Grand Avenue Mall had just underwhelmed me. Having heard about another lightly promoted art show, I decided why not check it out, I never go to Avenues West.
Milwaukee artist Brittany Farina pulled a few fellow artists together for one of the more unsung event of 2011, an art night at the Brumder Mansion. One of the artists, Mike Magaestro, strung together a tremendous series of paintings centering on the most difficult subject matter to make interesting: flowers. He’s nearly a landmark unto himself in the Milwaukee design world, it seems that visual arts just add to the proficiencies that Magaestro nimbly executes.
Congrats Mike on being Local Trolley’s #1 post for 2011!
At the Milwaukee Art Museum, an intense collection of photographs that bring to life still images contained in Taryn Simon’s three major book releases hangs quietly. An absolute gem and highly recommended to photographers Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts closes tomorrow on New Year’s Day, luckily the Milwaukee Art Museum is open all weekend.
In her first work The Innocents (2002) Simon takes acquitted defendants back to key places cited during their trials, all of whom spent significant time in jail until DNA or other evidence uncovered their innocence. The portraits displayed from this project are as big as life and the moments they represent in the lives of the accused and the victims, both of who ironically were victims to the American justice system.
An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2007) and Contraband (2010) are two series of photographs that mostly speak for themselves. Contraband is particularly mind boggling in the post 9-11 world as Taryn Simon craftily convinced some U.S. Customs officials to let her photograph confiscated items that were on there way into the US, before being nabbed. The range of items makes you wonder why everyone does not get a psychological exam before getting their boarding pass. This installation also gives you another way to gauge just how big the world we live in is.
The display of scale-models for all-the-Calatrava’s-that-weren’t entitled Building a Masterpiece: Santiago Calatrava and the Milwaukee Art Museum also closes in the Galleria New Year’s Day. January 1st an all day event will honor the exhibit.
Not many Milwaukee-based film efforts have maneuvered to that corner seat at the bar ready to be dubbed instant cult-classic, the way Frankie Latina slid his production Modus Operandi on to the screen in 2009. Although for many different reasons, pretty much the only other film (documentary) of like birthplace I can think of doing this was American Movie (1999 according to IMBD, but I’m certain it was out before that locally). Just so happened that Frankie actually cast Riverwest’s Emperor Mark Borchardt in Modus Operandi and landed perpetual film villain Danny Trejo as well.
This past weekend, Frankie Latina hosted a one night only gallery showing of Modus Operandi inspired art including the master painting of the movie poster and portions of his photo journal from travels in South America. Intentionally a crude mock up of the simplistic grind-house action genre invented by Russ Meyers in the 1960′s perfected in the 1970′s, until Motus Operandi the genre in it’s purest form had been mostly lost to the world.
Dare I say some self-indulgently nibbled on it, namely and most infamously a winy movie-store clerk turned cult-puba named Quentin Tarantino with Pulp Fiction and more explicitly in Jackie Brown. On the other side of the hive-five, when Frankie went back in time to revive his version, he skipped the nylon era of the 1980′s, and dressed his piece in torn fishnets, trashy and hot, unapologetically and exceedingly melodramatic.
Rumor had it that Frankie nearly scored Pam Grier to co-star another flick called Skinny Dip that was in the works this past summer. Hopefully, Frankie will muster another effort on par with Modus Operandi in the future, even if not, if nothing else it was surely a wonder.