Kat Murrell
TCD Art Date

A bright weekend ahead

Kat's top pick of the week is a soon-closing show at Art Bar; Lynden readies for a Winter Carnival.

By - Feb 6th, 2013 04:00 am


Overpass Light Brigade: The People’s Bandwidth 

  • Art*Bar, 722 E. Burleigh Street, 414-372-7880 
  • Exhibition closing (and Beer Bong Bingo Night)

Photographs by Christina DeSpears on view at Art Bar. Photo by the author.

Thursday marks the last night to catch Overpass Light Brigade: Say it in Lights at Riverwest’s Art*Bar. This exhibition features photographs documenting and aesthetically expanding on the activities of Milwaukee’s Overpass Light Brigade. These images capture recent history, from the political fervor of the Walker recall protests to statements against gun violence.

The Overpass Light Brigade raises public consciousness by raising signs, one letter at a time. The line of lighted letter-carrying bodies appear on freeway overpasses, along the side of a busy street, and on the grounds of the state capitol, among other locations. Their work is part public art performance and part social protest. Shades of Jenny Holzer, who gained fame for her billboards of lighted text in late ’70s New York City, can be subtly detected.

In a more benign and nostalgic way, the simplicity of their phrases, spelled out in something like a giant Lite-Brite design, cannot help but demand attention. The Overpass Light Brigade is like a modern-day Greek chorus, interjecting words into a crowded, crass, media-filled landscape. By appearing in visually simple. luminously sharp form, and silently speaking on matters of poignant significance, they are heard.

Like performance art, the actions of the Overpass Light Brigade are temporary and experienced in the moment. Photographs preserve their words, and some images, particularly those by Wendi Kent and Christina DeSpears, melt into aesthetic wonder. They reveal unexpected atmospheres and behind-the-scenes sensations of the  Brigade’s nighttime maneuvers.

It’s a wonderful display of work from a group that consistently shakes up the ordinary landscape of media saturation and compels us to consider significant messages in the most unexpected times, even in the most mundane places.


Vases with Seven Nudes, decorated by Jens Jensen. Courtesy Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum.

Sewing Day for Amanda Browder’s Chromatic Hi-Five    

  • Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Road, 12-5pm 

Calling all fabric aficionados, and then some! The Lynden Sculpture Garden is preparing for their third annual annual Winter Carnival Saturday, and artist Amanda Browder will be installing her large-scale fabric sculpture Chromatic Hi-Five. Volunteers are welcome to help out with the sewing and cutting of fabric; sewing machines are provided.

Modern Rookwood: 1918-1933     

  • Villa Terrace Art Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Avenue
  • Opening reception, 6:30-8:30pm

This exhibition brings together approximately 30 examples of renowned Rookwood pottery showcasing various modern techniques and tastes in decorative design. The exhibition is augmented by earlier Rookwood pieces, illustrating trends from the late nineteenth century into the twentieth.


3rd Annual Winter Carnival 

  • Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Road, 10am-4pm 

The Winter Carnival includes a variety of events and art exhibits, including Amanda Browder’s Chromatic Hi-Five, an outdoor installation from nAbr gallery, scavenger hunt, parachute games, tree walk, studio art activities, and more. Free to members or with admission to the sculpture garden. Family passes are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.

Amanda Browder will create her installation “Chromatic Hi-5” as part of the Winter Carnival. Image courtesy Lynden Sculpture Garden.

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