Judith Ann Moriarty
Summer Scenes

Stick It

By - Aug 30th, 2011 04:00 am
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A few years ago, I wrote a story about the Milwaukee Art Museum’s stickers that I noticed stuck everywhere. At that time they were plastered big time on the traffic signal lights at the intersection of Lincoln Memorial Drive where you turn left (or right) in order to access the museum. You couldn’t miss ‘em.

The stickers were (and are) the little gems you remove from the museum’s entry “ticket.” Designed to be displayed on the front of whatever you are wearing, they are known to dwell on purses and bags and clothing, so the MAM staff can identify you as one with permission to enter where Art Lives.

But it’s when you exit that museum that the inner life of stickers really gets going.

When I wrote the “sticker” feature, in pursuit of a fun story I followed the little devils
across Lincoln Memorial Drive and into the parking structure, then on to Wisconsin Avenue and points west. I tracked them for blocks — in fact, way west almost to Marquette University. Eventually my feet gave out, but not before I noted their little round selves clinging (sometimes in clumps) on buildings and other places stickers like to inhabit. They certainly aren’t picky.

So dedicated was I to the sticker saga that I even chatted up a chap in charge of removing the devils from various interior sections of the parking structure. He told me they were terrible to remove (tenacious!), and though he didn’t disclose the cost to taxpayers, you can bet it doesn’t come cheap.

While writing this, I remembered I had just such a sticker stuck on the taillight of my car, and I put it there after visiting MAM on August 12, 2011. It is about the size of a fifty cent piece, with the famous logo (in blue) of the “wings.” Below that is writ “Member Adult, 7/12/2011, 1293241,”which may or may not signify that over one million plus of the things have been issued. Currently, I have the sticker stuck on the glass top of the desk that holds my computer.

If you think about the clingers in terms of being wee advertisements for MAM and then subtract the cost of removing them, it still remains unclear how much it costs MAM to produce them. The whole thing could be a wash, as they say on Wall Street.

As proof of my attachment to this sticker thing, here’s an image of a “No Parking” sign at on the driveway fronting the entrance.With just a wee bit of red and black peeking through, you could almost call it contemporary…

(A Note from Photo Editor Brian Jacobson: I was serendipitously in tune with Ms. Moriarty in my amusement in visitors’ disembarking habit of leaving behind their sticker post-MAM.  When I went down to take pictures, however, it seems the art museum is not so amused.  While the light poles and other locations still have spots, the “Tow-Away Zone” signs have been replaced since last week.)

Categories: Art

0 thoughts on “Summer Scenes: Stick It”

  1. Anonymous says:

    gee whiz Brian. Where do you think they’ll pop up next? It’s unlikely that they won’t stick somewhere…judith

  2. Anonymous says:

    How about strategically placing art items that will be the place where the stickers go…I can see some sort of “Beastie” paper mache art piece or the “Sticker Monster” outside of MAM, where everyone sticks their stickers….that would save the cost of removal and would become an attraction in and of itself….
    Maybe the beast would start out naked and the patrons would have to “dress” him?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I hate Beasties and was thrilled when one was seen floating south on the Milwaukee River, but that said Missy, your “sticker monster” idea
    sounds like a winner, but only if a local artist produces it. There are a few problems: theft (Beasties were purloined!)and vandalism (Beasties were scrawled upon)…and face it, the Sticker Monster would also have problems. I’m still wondering where all the stickers are going to stick! Report back if you spot any…

  4. Anonymous says:

    judith see above this…where i replied by accidentally hitting the wrong key…

  5. Anonymous says:

    why not have the art piece moved inside at closing time? its only purpose it to be there during mam busisness hours.

    also, area youth could volunteer to man the monster stations eleciting patrns to stick their sticky for a cause.

    a local area buisness could pledge ten cents for every sticky returned to a local area charity.

    whole foods does this:


    “One Dime at a Time Fundraising Program

    Whole Foods Market offers 10¢ per bag to customers who reuse their own bags. Customers can accept their refund, or direct the cashier to donate the cash to the store’s chosen non-profit – through the One Dime at a Time (ODAAT) program. This program reduces our impact on the environment & supports a local nonprofit. If your non-profit organization would like to apply to be an ODAAT partner, please come by the store to pick up our One Dime at a Time Application.
    2011 One Dime at a Time Recipients

    January, February & March: School on Wheels
    April, May & June: Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside
    July, August & September: Jameson Camp”

    instead of s bestie, how about a local artist create something out of recycled material, and a contest for naming the piece be held?

    it wont have any problems…put it outside and take it inside….so much easier than cleaning it…

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