Kat Murrell
TCD’s 2013 Countdown

Visual Art

Kat Murrell counts down (OK, counts "up") her must-see visual arts exhibits for the first four months of 2013.

By - Jan 3rd, 2013 04:00 am

As we settle into the fresh newness that is 2013, let’s look ahead at the Milwaukee art scene for this spring, one month at a time.

Milwaukee hosts the 2013 SGC International Conference this March at MIAD and UWM’s Peck School of the Arts. Photo courtesy Print MKE Facebook page.

The big news in the first quarter of the year is that Milwaukee will soon host the 2013 SGC International Conference, a major gathering of artists, instructors, and other university affiliates connected with printmaking. The influence of the conference will soon be felt with many galleries’ winter and spring programming focusing on prints and works on paper. TCD will have plenty of coverage on this in upcoming weeks, including a primer on “What is a Print?”. Meanwhile, here are a variety of exhibitions and events to whet your artistic appetite.

1. January 

MIAD and Inova will host group exhibitions by international printmakers. The joint shows will include artists from six countries (South Africa, China, South Korea, Poland, Mexico and Argentina) and be on view in conjunction with Gallery Night, January 18.

This print by Uriel Martin is a part of the WPCA’s “La Ceiba Gráfica” exhibition. Image courtesy WPCA.

One notable Gallery Night opening is at Peltz GalleryTop Drawer Prints I, curated by the illustrious Warrington Colescott, will focus on artists from UW-Madison, and Top Drawer Prints II, curated by Cheryl Olsen Sklar, will emphasize Milwaukee-area printmakers, plus SGCI conference participants.

2. February 

Opening February 1 at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts is La Ceiba Gráfica, a group show featuring prints from the workshop of the same name in Veracruz, Mexico. The exhibition will include over 30 pieces showcasing a variety of print techniques. La Ceiba Gráfica has been acclaimed as a “Mexican Print Paradise” not only for the beauty of its studio location, but for their innovative practices and use of locally sourced and reclaimed materials.

One February exhibition eschewing the print-focused trend is Modern Rookwood: 1918-1933 at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. Rookwood has enjoyed a great reputation in American pottery, and a long history as it was established in the late 19th century as “an artist’s studio, not a factory.” This exhibition, curated by Annemarie Sawkins, opens on February 8.

Need to get outdoors for a bit? The Lynden Sculpture Garden will host its 3rd Annual Winter Carnival on February 9. The day of activities will feature art-making indoors and outside, with events planned by the Milwaukee artist groupAmerican Fantasy Classics. An outdoor gallery curated by Ashley Janke will be part of the festivities, along with an installation by Jessica Meuninck-Ganger and Nathaniel Stern.

William Eggleston’s “Huntsville, Alabama, 1978” is one of the numerous images in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s “Color Rush” exhibit, documenting the evolution of color photography. Image credit: Efraim Lev-er.

Photography aficionados will especially look forward to the February 22 opening of Color Rush: 75 Years of Color Photography in America at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The exhibition explores color and the camera, bookending the works on view between the advent of commercially-available color processes in 1907 and the unquestioned absorption of color pictures into the fine art firmament by the early 1980s.

3. March

The Charles Allis Art Museum opens Michael Kutzer: Etchings and Woodcuts on Friday, March 20, a solo retrospective of the German-born, Milwaukee-based artist with works from a variety of Kutzer’s series.

The 2013 SGC International Conference takes place March 20-23, and is expected to bring in 2000 attendees from across the country. MIAD and UWM are primary hosts for the event, but exhibitions and gallery tours will take place throughout the Milwaukee art community.

4. April 

Coffeehouses are now an established feature of modern life, from the mega-chains like Starbucks to locally flavored venues like Alterra, Fuel, and Sven’s – but historically, they’ve also been places to consider and exchange ideas, fueled by delicious caffeinated beverages. In the 1960s, the Avant Garde Coffeehouse on Prospect Avenue was just such a locus for music, poetry, and countercultural art of many kinds. Inova opens The Avant Garde Coffeehouse Project on April 5, with an exhibition run that includes multimedia works and collaboration with UWM’s Peck School of the Arts Music and Theatre Departments.

5. And behind-the-scenes…

The Milwaukee art scene has a lot happening under the surface, but some of the biggest shifts that’ll impact 2013 come because of new curators on board at some of the city’s most prominent institutions. The Haggerty Museum of Art recently welcomed Emilia P. Layden as their associate curator. Layden had been serving in the position in an interim basis, but moves forward as a permanent member of the Haggerty staff.

This month, Dr. Sarah Anne Carter begins her position as curator of the Chipstone Foundation, leaving behind her teaching position in history and literature at Harvard University. Also joining the artistic community is Lisa Sutcliffe, the new curator of photography at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Sutcliffe comes to Milwaukee from the San Francisco Museum of Art.

The new Museum of Wisconsin Art building. Photo credit MWA website.

Laurie Winters may have departed the Milwaukee Art Museum last summer, but the former director of exhibitions certainly hasn’t left the area. As executive director of The Art Consortium, a think tank on museum practices with headquarters in Milwaukee, she is involved with an international roster of art and museum professionals. Winters is also the new executive director of the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, which is looking forward to relocating to its newly constructed building in April.

Cover photo by Brian Jacobson.

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