Rest your eyes this week. You’ll need them.
Summer Gallery Night ‘09: So much art your head will spin
Sometimes, summer gallery night seems a little … well … uneventful. Like everyone’s skipped town and is off on a beach somewhere, wiggling toes in the sand and admiring the night sky instead of meandering in happy mobs from one gallery to another, seeking the constant stimulation of something new to peruse. But the tide has changed for this summer gallery night, and our fair city is bursting with a bumper crop of intriguing shows and promising installations.
For the sake of organization, I’ve taken the geographic approach. Galleries are listed loosely from north to south. Of course, there are other interesting things that I haven’t noted, and probably some renegade art popping up that is worth your attention. But here are some suggestions as you make your merry way through the diverse delectability of Gallery Night. Good luck.
Gallery Night is this Friday, 7/24, followed by Gallery Day, this Satudray, 7/25. You can find the official Gallery Night guide, published by the East Town and Historic Third Ward Associations, at many of the participating venues. The magic of the internet will work, too. Here’s the link.
Starting the southward drift from the East Side, Inova/Kenilworth hosts Roy Staab: Four Seasons/Four Corners. The main gallery is dominated by the eloquent and supple One sculpture, while other galleries display drawings and materials spanning four decades of Staab’s career. It’s a good place to collect yourself and take a deep breath. (See the TCD video interview here.)
As you head toward the bright lights and big buildings of downtown Milwaukee, stop in at the Peltz Gallery, housed in one of the fine old homes in East Town. Cissie Peltz, a dedicated long-time art dealer in Milwaukee, is hosting her annual Remarkable Women show, featuring significant artists such as Judy Chicago, Kara Walker and Judy Pfaff. On Saturday, July 25, help celebrate the Peltz Gallery’s 20th birthday with a French breakfast and much festivity from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Also in the neighborhood, the David Barnett Gallery opens Native American Art and Artists, showing paintings, photography, prints, as well as Iroquois Nation Brazilian soapstone sculpture. The gallery is housed in the historic Button Mansion and offers a distinctive spread: Dutch baroque paintings, African sculpture, contemporary Wisconsin artists and more live in disparate harmony.
Art takes a different turn beyond the gallery walls. One significant place not in the official guide is the new and developing project under the auspices of IN:SITE, a group dedicated to temporary public art in Milwaukee. Between the east side and downtown, you may have noticed that empty, liminal space known as the Park East Corridor, where a freeway spur used to be. For the remainder of the summer, IN:SITE takes it on as a blank canvas through a series of installations and artworks. The culmination of the project will happen August 23-30, but several pieces will be ready to go this weekend. It’s a pretty big space, so check the IN:SITE website for information about exactly what will be there and where things are sited.
Susana Raab, The Unfortunate Result of the Demise of the Public Phone Booth, Metropolis, Illinois. Chromogenic Print. Photo courtesy of Dean Jensen Gallery.
As you head into the valley of downtown, drop by Dean Jensen Gallery to take in the opening of Rank Strangers: Photographs by Susana Raab. Raab is a Washington D.C.-based photographer whose past accolades include two Pulitzer Prize nominations for photojournalism. Cutting and funny, clever and sharp, shades of Diane Arbus appear as Raab’s documentary-style images uncover the unflattering oddness of life. Raab’s eye for vivid colors and knack for outright humor take the sting out of such awkward appearances.
A jump to the west takes us to the campus of Marquette University and the Haggerty Museum of Art for Jump Cut Pop: Evans + Fukui + Hammond + Paolozzi + Rosler + Yokoo. This exhibition looks back at Pop Art in various manifestations from the 1960s to the present. (Artist Martha Rosler opens the exhibition with a talk on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 6pm.) Also on view are prints by art icon Robert Rauschenberg in the exhibition Whatever is There is a Truth. Work from his series Stoned Moon, 1969-1970, offers a visual response to the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, particularly poignant in light of the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing.
The Milwaukee Art Museum features their current major exhibition, American Originals (here’s my review), and has done some housekeeping with the permanent works. MAM’s substantial contemporary galleries have undergone the art-collection shuffle and open with a changed installation. (Chief Curator Brady Roberts gives a talk on the revamped arrangement on Thursday, July 23, at 6:15pm). Friday night is another edition of MAM After Dark, the multi-activity art party in Windhover Hall which runs until midnight. On Saturday, the 5th Annual Milwaukee Artist Marketplace takes over the grounds for a free event featuring the work of over eighty local artists.
The Historic Third Ward
Over the river and across the bridge, into the Third Ward we go. The first stop is the Marshall Building at Water and Buffalo Streets. Or, as my Portrait Society proprietor pal Debra Brehmer, says, the “Marshall Arts Building,” because you will find lots o’ art within these historic walls. Always a lively scene, some highlights include Grava Gallery and Elaine Erickson Gallery, both located in the first floor. Erickson is opening a rather unique show called 3-D, in which every work, as you might guess, is three-dimensional. Those who especially groove with sculpture and objects, take note.
Hop the elevator or climb the stairs to the second floor for more. CR Davidson Art presents the exotically named From the Land of OZ – A Journey to the Historic Third Ward. Are we going to see flying monkeys and frazzled scientists? Maybe not quite, as the OZ in this moniker stands for Ozaukee County. Also on the 2nd floor, stop by Gallery 218 to wish this long-lasting artist co-op congratulations on their 19th anniversary. Prominent gallery members will be featured, and yes, there will be cake.
Top off your Marshall Building tour on the fifth floor with a visit to the Portrait Society Gallery, which has expanded substantially from its original diminutive size. Work spills through three galleries plus the annexed hallway. The current show, Interior/Exterior: Home as Portrait gives various views on the domestic environment, and includes the unexpectedly captivating installation of plastic plate collages by Carolyn Gaska. Need to take a few minutes off? Relax a moment in the Rudy Rotter Lounge.
Artist Annie Lock plays her carved piano Friday at Katie Gingrass Gallery. Photo courtesy of Katie Gingrass Gallery.
Take a deep breath; we’re not nearly done in the Third Ward yet. Abstract Perspectives continues at the Katie Gingrass Gallery, and includes a little night music in the form of a piano-turned-relief carving by Annie Lock. And yes, it is playable, as will be demonstrated by Ms. Lock and musical friends on Friday. On the next block, Tory Folliard Gallery kicks off their Summer in Wisconsin exhibition with an opening reception.
Next door, the Anthony Petullo Collection opens to the public for the first time in a couple of years with a special exhibition featuring 10 artists. This event comes on the heels of the newly published book, Art without Category: British and Irish Works from the Anthony Petullo Collection.
There’s a whole ‘nother building of art to see in the Pritzlaff Project. The creative duo of Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg, in cooperation with students of MIAD, curate this large scale event featuring a lucky 13 installations throughout two floors. (Okay, so maybe all this technically throws off my list of “only” 19 galleries. Mea culpa.)
One more stop in the Ward is The Great American Kitchen at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. This exhibition promises to be far heavier on the design-side than the art-side, but if you’re interested in ancient appliances, the questionably fabulous color schemes of the 70s, or vintage aprons, mark this on your list.
Walker’s Point and Bay View
Decorative Directive, featuring work by Jennifer Harris (pictured) and Regan Golden opens Friday. Photo courtesy of Walker’s Point Center for the Arts.
If you’ve made it out of the Third Ward with your eyeballs intact, keep heading south to the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts and the opening of Decorative Directive, featuring industrial designer and metalsmith Jennifer Harris, and visual artist Regan Golden. This show promises to be a mix of contradictions – delicate but strong, monumental but intricate.
A final note (or middle, or first) to the Gallery Night extravaganza is a fleeting one, as BYO Studio and Why Not Gallery roll out Chalk Walk. A plethora of artists will come together to decorate the sidewalk on the 2200 block of South Kinnickinnic Avenue at Lincoln Avenue. The end result will be up-for-grabs, dependent on flashes of inspiration, artistic flourishes, and some fine, fine summer weather.
Gallery Addresses and Vital Info
Hours listed are for Gallery Night and Gallery Day as available (Friday, July 24 and Saturday, July 25).
2155 N. Prospect Avenue, 414-229-5070
1119 E. Knapp Street, 414-223-4278
Friday: 6pm to 9:30pm
Saturday: 11am to 4pm
David Barnett Gallery
1024 E. State Street, 414-271-5058
Dean Jensen Gallery
759 N. Water Street, 414-278-7100
Haggerty Museum of Art
13th & Clybourn Streets, 414-288-1669
Milwaukee Art Museum
700 N. Art Museum Drive, 414-224-3200
DeLind Gallery of Fine Art
450 E. Mason Street, 414-271-8525
The Marshall Building, 1st floor
207 E. Buffalo Street, 414-277-8228
Elaine Erickson Gallery
The Marshall Building, 1st floor
207 E. Buffalo Street, 414-221-0613
CR Davidson Art
The Marshall Building, 2nd Floor
207 E. Buffalo Street, 414-220-9389
The Marshall Building, 2nd Floor
207 E. Buffalo Street, 414-643-1732
Portrait Society Gallery
The Marshall Building, 5th Floor
207 E. Buffalo Street, 414-870-9930
Katie Gingrass Gallery
241 N. Broadway, 414-289-0855
Tory Folliard Gallery
233 N. Milwaukee Street, 414-273-7311
Anthony Petullo Collection
The Phoenix Building, 3rd Floor
219 N. Milwaukee Street, 414-272-2525
Pritzlaff Project – The Pritzlaff Building
N. Plankinton Avenue & St. Paul Avenue
(One block west of the Milwaukee Public Market)
Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD)
273 E. Erie Street, 414-847-3200
Walker’s Point Center for the Arts
911 W. National Avenue, 414-672-2787
Paper Boat Gallery space / Generate exhibition
2375 S. Howell Avenue
2200 block of South Kinnickinnic Avenue at Lincoln Avenue, Bay View
Sidewalk drawing begins at 3pm on Friday