Pardon Their Dust

Portrait Society Gallery reopens

Director Debra Brehmer on the renovations and origins of the Third Ward space. Video by Val Danculovich and Breanne Brennan.

By - Nov 9th, 2012 04:00 am
Get a daily rundown of the top stories on Urban Milwaukee

The Portrait Society Gallery, started in 2008, underwent remodeling over the summer that converted it from three separate gallery spaces into one large one divided into three sections.

When Debra Brehmer opened her Portrait Society Gallery at the Marshall Building in 2008, she started with a tiny space on the fifth floor. When the tenant next door left, she drifted into another room across the hall. As the gallery grew, she kept on drifting.

Before she knew it, Brehmer had three distinct gallery spaces and two storerooms. She says it was “awkward but interesting … a homespun conception of a gallery, but it worked.” Over the years, she grew comfortable in the flexible, redefineable space. So when the owners of the Marshall Building offered her a new, renovated space this year, she found herself wanting to stay put but reshape her gallery.

After a summer of construction, Brehmer and her Portrait Society Gallery have transformed their once-modular environment into a larger, subdivided gallery space. She can still show three exhibitions at once, as she could with the original, found floorplan. TCD visited the gallery to capture the construction process as Brehmer and her staff prepared for the first series of shows in the re-imagined space and to interview Brehmer about the origins of the gallery and her plans for the future.

The Portrait Society Gallery reopens tonight (Friday, Nov. 9), with three new exhibitions: Decay Utopia Decay, shot with a giant, hand-built camera by collaborative team J. Shimon and J. Lindemann at their Wisconsin farm; Natural History, portrait busts of women overlaid with plant forms, by Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman; and Absence Makes, created by Nicholas Grider with the Portrait Society, which pairs vintage portraits with photo derived word images. The grand re-opening runs from 6 to 9 p.m. The three exhibitions will run through the November. For more information, visit the Portrait Society Gallery website.

0 thoughts on “Pardon Their Dust: Portrait Society Gallery reopens”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! You guys did a fantastic job on this. Come back and see the finished, installed space.

  2. Anonymous says:

    […] Portrait Society Gallery has been closed since the end of July for major reconstruction. The Grand Opening of the new space was Friday, November 9, FIFTH FLOOR, Marshall Building. Watch this video! […]

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us