Jeramey Jannene

Massive Bubbles Coming To Downtown In July

Promoter promises 'the most Instagrammable moment of the summer.'

By - May 22nd, 2023 12:09 pm
Evanescent installation. Photo by Martin Ollman, provided.

Evanescent installation. Photo by Martin Ollman, provided.

An international art exhibit will land in downtown Milwaukee this summer.

For one week in July, the newly-renovated grounds at the Marcus Performing Arts Center will host “Evanescent,” an installation of lighted, large plastic bubbles.

An event series, dubbed HIGHLIGHT, will pair the 12,600-square-foot art installation with live music, a vendor market and food trucks.

During the day, a film on the bubbles is intended to reflect sunlight into a rainbow on the ground. At night, the pieces will be lit in a way the Australian artists say captures the concepts of “ephemerality and transience.”

The Marcus Center’s Rainbow Summer music series will take place every evening of the exhibit, July 18 through July 22, with free performances.

Event co-host Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21 is billing the experience as “the most Instagrammable moment of the summer in Milwaukee.”

The traveling art piece was created by Sydney-based Atelier Sisu, a partnership of Peruvian sculptor and industrial designer Renzo B. Larriviere and spatial architect and artist Zara Pasfield.

The artwork, according to the artists, was inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic “when the world stopped and everything we took for granted started to disappear.” It is designed to communicate a feeling of transient beauty and the need to live in the moment.

Free performances will start each night at 7 p.m., with an earlier family-night start time of 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 22.

“This is the first large-scale public activation of our newly renovated outdoor space, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to enjoy and experience this exciting summer event,” said Jared Duymovic, Marcus Center vice president of programming and engagement, in a statement.

The grounds are located along E. Kilbourn Ave., just west of N. Water St.

“’Evanescent’ by Atelier Sisu will be the premier public art installation this summer in downtown Milwaukee, and undoubtedly a highlight for everyone’s Instagram feed,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown. “We’re proud to partner with the Marcus Performing Arts Center to bring even more public programming to downtown’s communal spaces this summer.”

The installation is just the latest such partnership for Milwaukee Downtown. Earlier this month, it bid farewell to a seasonal installation known as “Lightfield” in Cathedral Square Park. That exhibit featured eight, glowing ground sculptures and 16 hanging lanterns. In 2021, it hosted “Massimals MKE,” an artistic depiction of a series of bears, in the park.

The Marcus Center grounds were rehabilitated following the controversial removal of the Dan Kiley-designed garden, which featured a grove of Chestnut trees. Center officials said the trees had outgrown their intended size, were dying and were an impediment to accessibility, while preservation advocates said it was an important space designed by a famous landscape architect and was worthy of historic protection.

A large lawn is now at the center of the space, which can be used for its own events or as an extension of the adjacent Peck Pavilion amphitheater. A new war memorial, which debuted in November, serves as a nod to the building’s history as part of a war memorial for Milwaukee County.

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