Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

See Downtown’s Big, New Sculptures

Sculpture Milwaukee is open for the season.

By - Jun 7th, 2019 03:05 pm
"Hot Dog Vendor" by Red Grooms. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

“Hot Dog Vendor” by Red Grooms. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Sculpture Milwaukee is back for its third season and the sculptures are bigger than ever.

Twenty-two sculptures line Wisconsin Avenue, running from N. 5th St. east to the street’s terminus near the Milwaukee Art Museum. In the middle of it all is a massive piece by artist Carlos Rolón, custom made for the exhibition, that is installed directly on the two-story lobby of Chase Tower.

Beyond Rolón’s eye-catching piece, a number of other large pieces command your attention including Red Grooms‘ “Hot Dog Vendor” and “Tango Dancers” located at opposite ends of the exhibit.

As with any exhibition that involves shipping pieces weighing multiple tons across the country and displaying them open to the elements on city streets, challenges were encountered. A piece by Sean Scully weighing 12,000 pounds was planned to be installed out of the recently completed St. Kate The Arts Hotel, but the surrounding sidewalk can’t support the structure. Underneath the hotel and surrounding office complex, including the sidewalk, is the Milwaukee Center parking garage. The piece will now be installed in front of the Wisconsin Center at W. Wisconsin Ave. and N. Vel R. Phillips Ave. in the coming weeks.

An oversized sculpture that doubled as a functional oven was planned by Wisconsin artist John Riepenhoff, but didn’t come together in time for the exhibition and has been delayed until next year.

All of the works are available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds going to sustain the annual sculpture exhibition. The majority of the exhibit is financed by local sponsors. The non-profit endeavor, created by Marcus Corp. chairman Stephen Marcus, is being curated by Marilu Knode and Russell Bowman.

The pieces will be on display through October.

You can see them all in our photo gallery below, but if you want to see the actual sculptures and learn the stories behind them join Urban Milwaukee’s guided tour on June 12th.


If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.

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