Catherine Jozwik
Art Scene

The Never Dull Life of Anna Rodriguez

Artist, poet, curator, more. New show: ‘The Monotonous Life of Roy G. Biv’.

By - Sep 3rd, 2019 02:39 pm
Anna Rodriguez. Photo courtesy of Anna Rodriguez.

Anna Rodriguez. Photo courtesy of Anna Rodriguez.

Since moving to Milwaukee about a decade ago, versatile artist and poet Anna Rodriguez has been involved in a number of solo creative projects and collaborations with local artists and musicians.

She’s worked as a photographer for soul singer Abby Jeanne, organized a holiday arts and crafts show at the Pfister Hotel with artist Timothy Westbrook, and published Gold Leaf Bones, a book of poetry with her own illustrations, and Eden and the Eastern Glow, a young adult novel. Rodriguez has also donated her work, time and talent to several community organizations and events, including radio station 91.7 WMSE, and a Planned Parenthood fundraiser.

These days, Rodriguez serves as head of the illustration department at Crawford Collective (formerly known as Gold in the Fridge), an art gallery and studios space which opened in January at 2525 E. Crawford Ave. in St. Francis. She and artist Amanda Stein are currently curating The Monotonous Life of Roy G. Biv, a conceptual exhibit featuring 10 Milwaukee artists, including Rodriguez, Cassie Genk, Cecilia Palacios, Milan Zori (aka Dwellephant), Gregory Rodriguez, Wazaloo, Tom Stella and Matthew Bailey. According to a press release, these artists’ works “encompass a vivid appreciation for delicacy in color.”

Stein, a 2015 MIAD graduate, has curated several Milwaukee exhibits, including The Red-Light District at Shaker’s Cigar Bar in 2016 and Abby Jeanne’s Cosmic Weekend in 2018.

Roy G. Biv will be held October 18 at the Crawford Collective from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. The exhibit will explore the relationship between the colors of the rainbow and human psychology, creativity and identity. “We assign seven of the artists a single color to be inspired by, and we will personify the moniker of Roy with an actor that will be present at the show,” Rodriguez explains. The press release adds that “The Monotonous Life of Roy G. Biv personifies the whimsical imagination of a man who never was.”

Long a champion of the work of fellow artists, Rodriguez feels that although Milwaukee’s arts scene is vibrant, it’s often the extroverts who are rewarded. “If you hustle and have a large personality, you’ll probably do well and be recognized. If you’re a deeply anxious and wounded artist who can’t put your art out there, you’ll struggle to find your place amongst the scene,” she said, adding that many artists in the city “might benefit from artist representatives and managers.”

Besides co-curating Roy G Biv, Rodriguez has a few creative plans in store. “I’m excited to do some Beardsley-style illustrations for a friend’s poetry book, and I hope to start designing my own tarot deck,” she said.

Art News

-A mural commemorating internet sensation Grumpy Cat has been receiving lots of local attention. The cranky feline may have passed away last year, but her memory is now immortalized in paint on the Schuster Metals building, 2230 N. 30th St. The mural, created by Chicago group, It’s Mathematical, and installed earlier this month, features Grumpy Cat scowling away in kitty heaven.

Bay View has added another colorful mural to its neighborhood. Artist Natacho Lopez recently announced on the Bay View Town Hall Facebook page that he painted the mural, which features a young girl sitting next to a German shepherd and looking through a magnifying glass, on the Koncept Studios building, 2400 S Logan Ave. several weeks ago.

Art Events and Gallery Openings

Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.:

The Milwaukee Art Museum will celebrate the acquisition of Robert Indiana’s 1970 “American LOVE” sculpture with a community celebration. The event will begin with a talk in the Lubar Auditorium by Joe Martin Lin-Hill, deputy director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, followed by the grand unveiling of the sculpture on the museum’s east end at 6:45 p.m. The ceremony will also feature live music, a DJ and food vendors.

Thursday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.:

MKE Scapes, a new photography exhibit by artist Jason Carter featuring Milwaukee landscapes, will open with a reception at Inspiration Studios, 1500 S. 73rd St. in West Allis.


-Two new exhibits, Portrait of Milwaukee and James Benning and Sharon Lockhart: Over Time will open at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

-The Harley-Davidson Museum, 400 W. Canal St., opens Building a Milwaukee Icon: Harley Davidson’s Juneau Avenue Factory.

Friday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.:

Polished, the latest exhibition at Scout Gallery featuring a number of artists including Caroline Liu, Willow Bayer and Sara Risley, will open with a reception.

-An opening reception for Dreamboat, an exhibition featuring three Brooklyn, New York artists—Justin Liam O’Brien, Colin J. Radcliffe and Mark Zubrovich–and curated by Kate Mothes will be held at Real Tinsel Gallery, 1013 West Historic Mitchell St. The exhibit will be on display through October 12.

Friday, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.:

An opening reception will be held for Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee, the latest exhibit at the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Grohmann Museum, 1025 N. Broadway.

Saturday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.:

Purgatory Misplaced: New Work By Rob Neilson will open at the Frank Juarez Gallery with a reception. 

Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mount Mary University will hold its 50th annual Starving Artists’ Show at its campus, 2900 Menomonee River Pkwy. The event will showcase more than 200 artists working in a variety of mediums, including pottery, fiber arts and painting.

Last Chance: Exhibits Closing This Week

 -Nature Morte: An Exhibition of Contemporary Still Life will close Saturday at the Tory Folliard Gallery, 233 N. Milwaukee St. See our review.

-The 2019 Members’ Show will close Sunday at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, 205 Veterans Ave. in West Bend. See our review.

-The MOWA DTN-Downtown exhibit, located at St. Kate Arts Hotel, 139 E. Kilbourn Ave., will close Sunday.

Chagall’s Le Cirque will close Sunday at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee, 1360 N. Prospect Ave. See our review.

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