Sculpture Milwaukee announces additional artists for 2018 installation
Biggers, Capote, Friedman, Hume, Jackson Hutchins, Smith and Sodi join this year’s confirmed list of artists
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (April 20, 2018) – Earlier this month, Sculpture Milwaukee, a free outdoor urban sculpture experience that debuted in downtown Milwaukee in 2017, announced it would return to Wisconsin Avenue in 2018 with 20+ works by internationally, nationally and locally renowned artists. Joining the list of eight previously released artist names are: New York-based artist Sanford Biggers, Cuban artist Yoan Capote, Massachusetts-based artist Tom Friedman, British artist Gary Hume, Portland-based artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins, American artist Kiki Smith and Mexican artist Bosco Sodi. Sculpture Milwaukee will be on view from June to Oct. 21, 2018.
“We’re excited to once again make world-class art accessible to the Milwaukee community and beyond,” said Russell Bowman, art advisor to Sculpture Milwaukee. “This year’s featured artists represent a broad scope of styles and practices, ranging from abstract to figurative, combined with both older craft processes and more modern computer-aided techniques. We look forward to engaging the community with programs and events around this new installation of public art.”
Led by Steve Marcus, chairman of the board of The Marcus Corporation, Sculpture Milwaukee is an annual gift to the community, bringing world-renowned works to an accessible and approachable environment for all to enjoy. From art connoisseurs and collectors, to school children and office workers, the installation will spark imaginations and activate Wisconsin Avenue. Sculpture Milwaukee 2018 is curated by Russell Bowman, an art advisor based in Chicago and former director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, and Marilu Knode, Sculpture Milwaukee’s project director and former director of Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis.
Drawing inspiration from the Underground Railroad, Rastafarianism, Zen Buddhism, ancient Egypt, and 19th and 20th century African sculpture, Sanford Biggers utilizes various art forms to create multi-faceted works that collaborate with the past to help us understand our present. In BAM (Seated Warrior), 2017, Biggers casts a life-size Warrior by marking and mutilating a small wooden “power” figure, cast in bronze, to expand the size and both hide and exaggerate the violence done to the original. The piece references the history of killings of unarmed civilians in America. The serene pose of Warrior contrasts the violence done to its body; this jarring juxtaposition is at the heart of Biggers’ work. The artist sees himself as a collaborator to the African and African American artists, and artisans who came before him, borrowing, enhancing and memorializing their work and struggles through his own object-making. BAM (Seated Warrior), 2017 is on loan courtesy of the artist and the Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen.
Yoan Capote balances a broadly conceptual, experimental artistic practice with the realities and histories of his native Cuba. Using different materials to express different ideas, Capote searches for intellectual, and perhaps physical, freedom from a culture isolated by the sea. He is part of a new generation of artists, testing the limits of the changing political atmosphere of Cuba, and of the changing attitudes towards Cuba in the world. His sculpture, Nostalgia, 2013, embodies the situation of travel for immigrants. Our bags can contain memories and bare necessities, as well as loss and longing for what was left behind. While many look at travel as providing life-changing adventures, for many, the suitcase may carry the weight of a lost past. Nostalgia, 2013 is on loan courtesy of the artist and the Jack Shainman Gallery.
Tom Friedman is both a minimalist, using common materials simply, and a maximalist, creating
exuberant and improbable art works from everyday materials. Since 2007, Friedman has been creating
sculpture and sculptural environments made of aluminum foil, roasting pans and baking tins. The supple, yet durable, materials are easily shaped and keep their edges and finger-print divots when cast into the high-gloss modern material of stainless steel. Hazmat Love, 2017 features two men in protective hazmat suits wrestling. The viewer is left to decide if they are trying to save themselves or each other. Hazmat suits are designed to protect humans from our own disasters – in the environment and perhaps in the kitchen. In the labor-intensive work, Friedman shows the paradoxes of the life we humans create. Hazmat Love, 2017 is on loan courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.
British artist Gary Hume is known for his cheerful, candy-colored paintings made with household paint
and, more recently, over-sized sculptures that recall the flora and fauna around us. In each distinct body of work, Hume abstracts the forms of recognizable objects, creating elegant symbols of his world. The scale of Bud, 2016 is playful, standing as tall as any adult. The plant is both wondrous, the miracle of life that returns after a long Wisconsin winter, and monstrous in its size. The piece comes off its pedestal and roots directly to the ground, its natural material appearing unnatural in the landscape. Bud, 2016 is on loan courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery and Sprüth Magers.
Jessica Jackson Hutchins is known for her paintings and ceramic sculptures, but in the last several years, has begun to create architectural insertions using fused glass. Made from cut and carved pieces of glass melted together, this process allows Jackson Hutchins flexibility in creating quasi-narrative panels that mix shapes and words drawn from contemporary culture. In her re-purposed bus shelter, Reason to Be, 2017, Jackson Hutchins replaces the functional glass walls with baroque decorative panels, some with phrases and words that recall the advertising function of these public shelters. She has also replaced the bench with a hammock, taking participants from the fast pace of downtown’s business environment, giving them a place to rest, and perhaps dream. Her work embraces issues of public citizenship and personal spirituality. Reason to Be, 2017 is on loan courtesy of the artist and the Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen.
Kiki Smith was part of a generation of artists who in the 1970s and 80s carved out new arts spaces in former industrial buildings in downtown New York, reviving neighborhoods through their activism and social engagement. She began exploring the human form in the 1980s, using the female figure to comment on global issues that affect human life. Smith then turned to fairy tales and myths, using historical female characters as alter egos of transcendence and transgression. Smith’s Alice (Seer II), 2005 is part of a broad body of work in sculpture, painting, drawing and prints based on Lewis Carroll’s book of drawings that accompanied Alice’s Adventures Underground (otherwise known as Alice in Wonderland, published 1865). In it, the hierarchy of humans and nature, adults and children is up-ended, the scale of the characters changing to suggest their role in the story. Like Alice in Carroll’s story, Smith’s Alice is enormous for a little girl, perched next to her imaginary pool of tears. Smith weaves a web between animals and humans, blurring the psychological and physiological. Alice (Seer II), 2005 is on loan courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery, New York.
Mexican artist Bosco Sodi creates paintings and sculptures using materials from the earth. Deeply influenced by the Japanese interest in the beauty of imperfection, Sodi sees aesthetic value in the disarray of everyday life. Over the past several years, he has been building stacks of cubes made from earth. These elemental building blocks, which have built cities around the globe throughout human history, take on new meaning at this scale. Out of the clay, the artist coaxes a shifting palette of earth tones, which shift on each side of the cubes. These works suggest the ancient ambitions of civilization, and how our modern world dwarfs those worlds. By placing Sodi’s Untitled, 2017 on Milwaukee’s main street, the juxtaposition of nature versus culture, modern versus ancient becomes apparent, and asks questions about the shifting urban landscapes that we create today. Untitled, 2017 is on loan courtesy of the artist and the Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.
Installation of Sculpture Milwaukee 2018 will begin on May 10th along Wisconsin Avenue from 6th Street to O’Donnell Park. All of the 20+ art works, with the exception of one borrowed from a private collection, are available for purchase with a percentage of each sale going toward Sculpture Milwaukee’s future installations. An extensive range of tours, hands-on workshops and additional “avenue activation” activities will be held throughout the summer and fall. Additional info on Sculpture Milwaukee 2018 can be found at www.sculpturemilwaukee.com.
2017 Sculpture Milwaukee Gallery
About Sculpture Milwaukee
Debuted in 2017, Sculpture Milwaukee is the vision of Steve Marcus, a local philanthropist and chairman of the board of The Marcus Corporation. Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21, a 501(c)(3) organization, serves as the administrative arm of the project with many Milwaukee organizations and institutions lending their support. This tremendous gift to the community is made possible through grants, in-kind donations and sponsorships.
The exhibition’s inaugural year was organized by advisor Russell Bowman, former director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, and included 21 regional, national and international artists – Donald Baechler, Lynda Benglis, Chakaia Booker, Deborah Butterfield, Santiago Calatrava, Saint Clair Cemin, Tony Cragg, Jim Dine, Paul Druecke, Michelle Grabner, John Henry, Sol LeWitt, Dennis Oppenheim, Tom Otterness, Will Ryman, Alison Saar, Joel Shapiro, Jessica Stockholder, Tony Tasset, Manolo Valdes and Jason S. Yi. Sculpture Milwaukee 2018 is curated by Russell Bowman and Marilu Knode, Sculpture Milwaukee’s project director and former director of Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis. For more information, visit www.sculpturemilwaukee.com or call 414.220.4700.
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