Stella Cretek
Around Town With Bones

Gallery Night & Day April 2009

By - Apr 16th, 2009 07:07 pm
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bones-header-300x2251There’s no pulling punches when Milwaukee Magazine editor Bruce Murphy writes his weekly “Murphy’s Law” column. A recent one gave a full and lucid explanation about the Janet Zweig saga, i.e., how ideas for that particular public sculpture evolved and where (more or less) the project is going, if anywhere. I laugh when writers “take ownership” of what they deem to be hot stories, and laugh even more when readers are laboriously reminded that a particular writer developed (you read it here first folks!) a particular story. Murphy was correct when he compared much of today’s journalism with kudzu growing rampant. All surface and no depth, with windbags, bozos (Murphy’s word) and other folks who like to see their name in print checking in!

And now, wow! A star is born, courtesy of the Haggerty Museum, which put the eccentric works of Peter Bardy on display in Current Tendencies, running through June 14. Eccentricity isn’t a bad thing. In fact, we have several locals who fit that mold: Bob Watt and Jimmy Von Milwaukee are two, but they’ve been stars for years. Bardy shot himself dead last summer, leaving behind a west side home filled with items he’d fashioned from scavenged stuff, and voilà! The formerly unknown is now known. Is the Haggerty making a run to roust the rather exclusive territory carved out by the Kohler Museum in Sheboygan, the realm of Outsider Art? (But don’t call it that, because actually Outsiders are more Insiders these days.) The curator of the Haggerty exhibit, Lynn Shumow, came to Milwaukee from the vaunted Kohler. Every curator loves a good back story, and Bardy’s is apparently hers. But does that make it “art?” Stella thinks that of more import is the possibility of the green ash borer decimating the green ash grove on the north side of the Haggerty Museum itself.

It’s frightening to imagine, but a group of In:Site artists (including Mike Brenner) are preparing to present plans on temporary art for the Park East land, long vacant and more or less a cause for concern. This may be an even bigger boondoggle than the Zweig flap and the Lincoln Park sculpture madness, whose flames were fanned by Pegi Taylor, noted for nay-saying everything and everyone but herself.

Shameless self-promotion: Stella has a feature story (“Fleecing”) in the current issue of INFO magazine, about how American taxpayers are getting shorn. It looks pretty cool alongside all those hot shots of babes and studs. The taxpayer is wearing a barrel. And as the grandkid of a major rancher of sheep, she’s an expert on the subject.

John Riepenhoff and a host of other young artists and Milwaukee-based gallerists are in Cologne, Germany for an exhibition. Painter Peter Barrickman’s work, installed in a booth, made the trip packed in a big suitcase which Riepenhoff lugged along to its final destination. Meanwhile, Green Gallery East and West remain open for action.

My personal pick for this weekender, Gallery Night and Day, is a small installation of works by Angel French. You’ll find them discretely displayed in an exhibit at Soup’s On… Take the time to find them. The work is beautifully constructed. It’s Ms. French’s debut and wow, she deserves a big solo show based on what I saw. The other hot spot in the Third Ward will be in the Marshall Building on floor five. Deb Brehmer’s dual galleries are pretty reliable when it comes to quality…

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