The Ever-Busy Life of Shane McAdams
Artist, art critic and gallery owner impacts local scene in many ways.
Shane McAdams wears a lot of hats. Since getting his masters in fine art from Pratt University in Brooklyn in 2005, he’s been artist whose work has been exhibited at galleries in New York City, Philadelphia, Portland and also in Wisconsin galleries and museums since moving to this state about five years ago. He lives in Cedarburg.
McAdams has also been writing about art for more than a decade, for publications ranging from the Brooklyn Rail to the Daily Beast to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He now writes for the Shepherd Express.
And since May 2018, he’s been a gallery owner. “I’ve wanted to open a space since I was in graduate school,” McAdams said. Along with Milwaukee artist Keith Nelson, McAdams opened the Real Tinsel Gallery at 1013 Historic W. Mitchell St. The gallery features contemporary, socially relevant art, and strives to make work by local artists accessible and affordable to the public.
Recently, McAdams and Nelson opened The Grotto and Flat Files, a space in the gallery’s lower level dedicated to The Wisconsin Flat File Project, a large file cabinet which contains drawings, prints and other works by more than 70 Milwaukee area artists. Works are available for purchase, and visitors can enjoy a complimentary drink, listen to a record, or sit and chat with friends in a comfortable lounge area.
McAdams says the response to Flat Files has been “incredibly positive” so far. “I think people see it for what it is: as a kind of public art service to gather local artists in a context in which people could see work in a setting which feels un-oppressive,” he added.
In addition to the upstairs gallery, Flat Files and The Grotto, Real Tinsel also houses Chamber, a small gallery on the lower level operated by Kyle Seis.
In the future, McAdams and Nelson are considering establishing a Real Tinsel artist residency program or possibly an exchange with artists from cities outside of Milwaukee. For the most part, however, the gallery owners “aim to do quality programming within the structure we’ve worked so hard to create,” McAdams noted.
“I think it’s important for the community to recognize our commitment, and to know we’re here to be a champion for Milwaukee indefinitely,” he says of Real Tinsel. “I love the Milwaukee art world, and think it’s doing great things. I support it with every extra hour of my time.”
This Week’s Art Events, Gallery Openings
-Indiana Green, an annual exhibit celebrating Wisconsin artists who have provided support to gallery owner Frank Juarez, including Reggie Baylor, Dara Larson, Allison Wade, Jenie Gao and Tony Conrad, opens this week and will run through Aug. 25th at the Cedarburg Cultural Center, W62N546 Washington Ave. in Cedarburg. Now celebrating its 10th year, the exhibition will include an artist reception Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.
-From 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) will host a Sculpture Milwaukee Trolley Tour, a mobile tour of the 22 outdoor sculptures lining Wisconsin Avenue. The tour will highlight works by 20 artists, among them Max Ernst, Roxy Paine and Green Gallery owner John Riepenhoff.
-Thursday is Meijer Free First Thursday at the MAM. Museum admission is free all day, beginning at 10 a.m.
-Thirty-minute Express Talks in conjunction with the MAM’s Nares: Moves exhibit will be held Thursday at noon and 5:30 p.m.
-The Wisconsin State Fair, August 1 through 11, will feature several art displays and activities. New this year, the Fair will host “Autism, Arts and Animals,” animal-themed works created by youth ages 8 to 18 enrolled in Islands of Brilliance, an area nonprofit organization offering support to children and young adults living with autism.
-The Cow-Temporary Art Walk returns to the Wisconsin State Fair for its second year. Cow-Temporary will feature sculptures, paintings and other works of art dedicated to Wisconsin’s beloved bovines.
-Fairgoers can meet award-winning Milwaukee artist and Fairtastic Poster creator James Steeno Friday, August 2 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Monday, August 5 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Official FairWear Store, located in the State Fair Exposition Center.
-Plein Air artists will be at the Fair August 5 and 6, capturing painterly snapshots of the event in all its glory. Beginning Tuesday, fair visitors can purchase artwork in the Plein Air Art Gallery, located in the the State Fair Exposition Center lobby.
-The lobby of the State Fair Exposition Center will also display the Young People’s Art Exhibit, which features artwork by youth in grades 6 through 12. Now in its 51st year, the exhibit’s 2019 theme is “Sowing Creativity.”
-A docent-led tour of the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Road., will take place Sunday from 2:30 to 4 p.m. The tour will highlight the museum’s 50 large-scale outdoor sculptures and the garden’s scenic grounds. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for students, children 6 to 17 years old and active military members with ID.
Closing This Week
This week is your last chance to catch four shows:
-A closing reception for Rafael Francisco Salas, “For God and Country,” will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at the Portrait Society Gallery, 207 E. Buffalo St., 5th floor. The free event will feature an artist talk, food and drinks.
–Ode to Tazz, artwork by Dominique Knowles, will close Saturday at the Green Gallery, 1500 N. Farwell Ave.
–Sara Cwynar: Image Model Muse will close Sunday at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
-The Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists 2018 exhibit will close Sunday at the Haggerty Museum of Art, 1234 W. Tory Hill. on the Marquette University Campus.
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