Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Downtown Sculpture Project Being Installed

Massive sculptures being installed on Milwaukee's main street.

By - May 16th, 2017 11:55 am
Immigrant Family Under Wraps. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Immigrant Family Under Wraps. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Wisconsin Avenue is getting a big shot in the arm and Milwaukee is getting another marquee art destination.

Installation work for the Sculpture Milwaukee project, which will display great art works on the city’s main street, began Monday in front of the 875 East office building. Artist Tom Otterness’s sculpture, Immigrant Family, first displayed in Toronto in 2007, was lifted off a semi-trailer and installed on to a carefully selected space on the sidewalk. Joining it was Reina Mariana (2005) by Manolo Valdés

Another 20 sculptures will be installed on Wisconsin Ave. at selected sites on the 16-block stretch from the N. 6th St. on the west to O’Donnell Park on the east. The entire installation should be completed by May 31st and will be on display from June 1st through October 22nd. According to a release “The installation will include internationally renowned artists such as Santiago Calatrava, Tony Cragg, Alison Saar, Joel Shapiro and Jessica Stockholder, as well as three Milwaukee-based artists: Michelle Grabner, Paul Druecke and Jason S. Yi.”

The idea for this remarkable project comes from Steve Marcus, chairman of the board at the Marcus Corporation, whose headquarters is on Wisconsin Avenue. Marcus first publicly floated the idea almost four years ago and was on hand Monday to watch the first piece get installed.

The project is being curated by former Milwaukee Art Museum director Russell Bowman. Milwaukee Downtown, business improvement district #21, is managing the program through a newly-formed non-profit Sculpture Milwaukee.

The program is intended to run every year, with the idea that it may help these artists to sell the works, with a portion of the sales price for any art work displayed then going to help support future years of programming.

Milwaukee Downtown, a 501(c)3 organization, derives the bulk of its funding through a special tax levied on commercial properties. However, the installations are not being directly funded by the quasi-public organization. Support for the project comes from grants, in-kind donations and sponsorships which are expected to be announced next week.

Milwaukee Downtown is also working on another project for Milwaukee’s main street. The business improvement district is coordinating the painting of ten utility boxes by artist Mauricio Ramirez.


Immigrant Family Installed in Toronto

Immigrant Family by Tom Otterness. Photo by Alexandre Moreau.

Immigrant Family in Toronto by Tom Otterness. Photo by Alexandre Moreau.


#1 – O’Donnell Park
Paul Druecke (American, born 1964)
Shoreline Repast, 2017
double-sided aluminum, paint, steel, recycled wood, hardware
72 x 78 inches
Courtesy The Green Gallery, Milwaukee

#2 – 875 E. Wisconsin Avenue
Manolo Valdés (Spanish, born 1942)
Reina Mariana, 2005
98 ½ x 78 ¾ x 47 ¼ inches
Courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York

#3 – 875 E. Wisconsin Avenue (just west of building)
Tom Otterness (American, born 1952)
Immigrant Family, 2007
bronze, ed. 1/3
129 x 121 x 108 inches
Courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York

#4 – Planter at 777 E. Wisconsin Avenue
Jim Dine (American, born 1935)
The Heart Called After the Flood, 2011
Bronze, ed. 2/6
89 x 78 x 36 inches
Courtesy Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago

#5 – 777 E. Wisconsin Avenue (west side of plaza deck)
Will Ryman (American, born 1969)
Rose #2 (Icon Red), 2011
painted aluminum, ed. 8
74 ¼ x 100 x 57 inches
Courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York

#6 – 517 E. Wisconsin Avenue
Tony Cragg (British, born 1949, lives in Germany)
Mixed Feelings, 2010
216 1/2 x 92 7/8 x 88 3/16 inches
Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

#7 – 500 E. Wisconsin Avenue
Deborah Butterfield (American, born 1949)
Big Piney, 2016
cast bronze with patina
93 x 112 x 50 inches
Private Collection, Courtesy Zolla Lieberman Gallery, Chicago

#8 – 312 E. Wisconsin Avenue
Lynda Benglis (American, born 1941)
Pink Lady (for Asha), 2013
cast pigmented polyurethane
95 x 30 x 27 inches
Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read Gallery, New York

#9 – 411 E. Wisconsin Avenue
Tony Tasset (American, born 1960)
Mood Sculpture, 2017
fiberglass and paint, ed. 3 / 1AP
240 x 48 inches diameter
Courtesy Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago

#10 – 333 E. Wisconsin Avenue
Chakaia Booker (American, born 1953)
Holla, 2008
rubber tires, stainless steel
96 x 60 x 48 inches
Collection of the artist, New York

#11 – 301 E. Wisconsin Avenue (planter at Wisconsin Avenue & Broadway)
Michelle Grabner (American, born 1962)
Untitled, 2017
72 ½ x 25 ½ x 4 inches
Courtesy The Green Gallery, Milwaukee

#12 – 111 E. Wisconsin Avenue (east side of building)
Santiago Calatrava (Spanish, born 1951)
S2, 2015
painted, welded plate aluminum and stainless steel, ed. 1/3
197 x 179 x 18 inches
Courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York

#13 – 111 E. Wisconsin Avenue (west side of building)
Joel Shapiro (American, born 1941)
Untitled, 1985-86
bronze, ed. 3 + 1 / AP 2/3
168 x 145 x 130 inches
Courtesy Pace Gallery, New York

#14 – RiverWalk Plaza of 648 N. Plankinton Avenue
Dennis Oppenheim (American, 1938-2011)
Safety Cones, 2017
blaze cast fiberglass, steel, acrylic
216 x 86 x 86 inches
Courtesy the Dennis Oppenheim Studio / Archive, New York

#15 – Planter at 116 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Donald Baechler (American, born 1956)
Plant, 2003
bronze, ed. 8 / 2AP
85 x 67 ½ x 12 inches
Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read Gallery, New York

#16 – 176 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Tony Tasset (American, born 1960)
Arrow Sculpture, 2016
car paint on aluminum
117 x 195 x 39 inches
Courtesy Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago

#17 – 310 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Sol LeWitt (American, 1928-2007)
Tower (Gubbio), 1996
concrete block
225 x 112 x 112 inches
Courtesy Pace Gallery, New York

#18 – 4th Street & Wisconsin Avenue (southwest corner)
Jessica Stockholder (American, born 1959)
Angled Tangle, 2014
steel, aluminum, auto paint, plastic bollards, wood chips
480 x 240 x 144 inches
Courtesy Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago

#19 – 4th Street & Wisconsin Avenue – Wisconsin Center (northwest corner)
Saint Clair Cemin (Brazilian, born 1951)
Vortex, 2008
hammered stainless steel, ed. 3 / 1AP
472 ½ x 122 x 122 inches
Courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York

#20 – 400 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Alison Saar (American, born 1956)
Summer, 2011
96 x 28 x 30 inches
Courtesy L.A. Louver Gallery, Los Angeles

#21 – 5th Street & Wisconsin Avenue (southeast corner)
John Henry (American, born 1943)
Zach’s Tower, 2007
painted steel
312 x 168 x 144 inches
Courtesy the artist and WORKS A Gallery, Chattanooga

#22 – 580 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Jason S. Yi (American, born South Korea, 1963)
Legend of the White Snake, 2010
PVC tubes and connectors
144 x 264 x 108 inches
Courtesy the artist, Milwaukee

3 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Downtown Sculpture Project Being Installed”

  1. Andrew says:

    Nice, I will plan to head down may 31st and take the art walk through downtown.

  2. Christina Zawadiwsky says:

    No doubt Immigrant Family Under Wraps will receive many (both pro and con) comments, as did the large orange prisoner painting in Black Cat Alley! It’s a great project, all in all, and I wish that these Wisconsin Ave. sculptures could remain there permanently, enhancing everyone’s appreciation of our wonderful City of Milwaukee!

  3. Dave says:

    Does anyone else think the Otterness statue looks like it was inspired by a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation?

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