Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Sculpture Milwaukee to Transform Chase Tower

Two-story lobby will become a beacon at center of annual sculpture exhibit.

By - May 7th, 2019 03:54 pm
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Carlos Rolon's Gilded Lilly sculpture plan for Chase Tower. Image from Sculpture Milwaukee.

Carlos Rolon’s Gilded Lilly sculpture plan for Chase Tower. Image from Sculpture Milwaukee.

Sculpture Milwaukee will attempt to merge sculpture with an International-style office building for its 2019 installation.

Chicago-based artist Carlos Rolón will transform the large, glass lobby of the Chase Tower at the intersection of N. Water St. and E. Wisconsin Ave. into a diorama of tropical flowers.

The site-specific piece, commissioned by Sculpture Milwaukee, “will be like a flame that attracts us to a key city intersection, where east meets west, north meets south, and where water meets street,” said curator Marilu Knode. “Rolón’s installation will turn the transparent lobby into a glowing cube, or jewel box, both day and night.”

The third annual exhibition breaks new ground for the non-profit. A number of new pieces have been commissioned, often by Wisconsin artists, for the summer sculpture series, but this is the first piece that will be affixed to a building.

Rolón will clad the inside of the lobby at 111 E. Wisconsin Ave. with his piece, known as “Gild the Lily (Caribbean Hybrid I, II, III),” made from vinyl decals. The 22-story tower and its parking structure were sold for $30.5 million in 2016 to Michigan-based real estate investor Andy Farbman and his firm, the Farbman Group. The large plaza in front of the tower has been home to a number of temporary sculptures every year, but none that directly interacted with the building.

Sculpture Milwaukee will be on view from June 7th through October 27th along Wisconsin Ave. Twenty-three sculptures are planned for installation starting in late May.

The pieces, all of which are installed outside with the exception of Rolón’s, are free to view. The installation will run from E. Mason St. and N. Prospect Ave., around the bend on E. Wisconsin Ave., and then west along Wisconsin to N. 6th St.

For the first time, the event, created by Stephen Marcus, will include a piece of art located off Wisconsin Avenue. Artist Sean Scully‘s “Black Stacked Frames” sculpture will be installed in front of Marcus Corp‘s soon-to-open Saint Kate Hotel at 139 E. Kilbourn Ave. Walking from Wisconsin Avenue to visit the piece, visitors will also be able to see the former Sculpture Milwaukee installation “Mixed Feelings” that is now permanently installed in front of Milwaukee City Hall thanks to an anonymous donor.

Milwaukee-native John Riepenhoff will install a functional oven outside of the Wisconsin Center near N. 5th St. and intends to host cooking events on the street.

All of the works are available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds going to sustain the annual sculpture exhibition.

A full list of artists and locations is available on the Sculpture Milwaukee website.

Sculpture Milwaukee 2018 Photos

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