Sculpture Milwaukee
Press Release

Sculpture Milwaukee’s 2020 Artworks Engage Urgent Cultural Issues


By - Aug 19th, 2020 10:04 am
"Within the Folds (Dialogue 1)," 2020, by Thomas J. Price, part of Sculpture Milwaukee 2020. Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki for Sculpture Milwaukee

“Within the Folds (Dialogue 1),” 2020, by Thomas J. Price, part of Sculpture Milwaukee 2020. Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki for Sculpture Milwaukee

[MILWAUKEE, WI, August 19th, 2020—] Nineteen works spread out over a mile and a half, the free, annual exhibition comprising international, national, and regional artists committed to engaging the cultural issues of our time is once again on view in downtown Milwaukee.

Overcoming significant logistical challenges and delays brought on by the global pandemic, the fourth edition of Sculpture Milwaukee features an expanded curatorial program. In addition to the artworks selected by Sculpture Milwaukee’s Founding Art Advisor, Russell Bowman and Marilu Knode, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Education, this year’s exhibition also includes artworks selected by guest curators Michelle Grabner, Senior Chair of Painting and Drawing and Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Mary Jane Jacob, Professor and Director, Institute for Curatorial Research and Practice, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Lisa Sutcliffe, Herzfeld Curator of Photography and Media Arts, Milwaukee Art Museum. Curatorial advisor Courtney J. Martin, Director, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven rounds out this year’s curatorial field.

Making its international debut in Milwaukee is a powerful new work by British artist Thomas J. Price titled Within the Folds (Dialogue I), 2020. The statue is a nine-foot bronze depiction of a standing Black man clothed in a hoodie, sport shoes and sweatpants. The figure is unyielding and stares resolutely over the heads of onlookers. Working within the tradition of classical statuary, Price’s idealized ‘everyman’ is sited against Milwaukee’s US Bank Center. Its bronze patina is in sharp contrasting against the white aluminum façade of the financial skyscraper, contributing boldly to the cultural discussions around race and equity. Sculpture Milwaukee’s Within the Folds (Dialogue I), is equal in impact and gravitas to Price’s other celebrated new sculpture Reaching Out, 2020 and installed this summer in east London. Here Price portrays a Black woman standing in contraposto and holding her mobile phone. Both works unambiguously implore viewers to deliberate on the subject and the form of public monuments, the history of memorializing, and the current role representational sculptures play in political debate.

The global pandemic has transformed the 2020 Democratic National Convention into a virtual event, fleecing Milwaukee of its host city status and the promise of an international stage. Nari Ward’s Apollo/Poll, 2017, a replica of the famous Apollo Theatre sign. The large scale sculptural emphasizes the word “poll,” in “Apollo” with red LED lights. This work is a testament to the foundation of American democracy while simultaneously evoking contemporaneous campaigns to disenfranchise the constitutional rights of many Americans.

Punctuating the east end of Wisconsin Avenue is Richard Wood’s pink cartoon Holiday Home (Milwaukee), 2019 and Roxy Paine’s to-scale reflective steel tree, Cleft from the series Dendroids, 2018. Alex Katz’s cut-out sculpture Park Avenue Departure, 2019 and Julian Opie’s double-sided LED monolith Natalie Walking, 2016, are juxtaposed with Tony Tasset’s multi-colored Blob Monster, a conspicuous apparition with menacing outstretched arms. The Blob Monster graces the corner of the Milwaukee Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, and brings a satirical juxtaposition to one of the last examples of Romanesque Revival architecture in the region.

The 2020 edition of Sculpture Milwaukee also expands on its downtown Wisconsin Avenue venue by offering work in the city’s Historic Third Ward. Here viewers can watch an ever-changing technoscape film by Leslie Hewitt, and video work by Sky Hopinka and Amy Yoes. These works explore the varied spatial and animated vocabularies, resulting in conceptually different narrative ends. The Third Ward also hosts Paula Crown’s JOKESTER, 2018, a colossal reproduction of a disposable red Solo cup that straddles the line between Claus Oldenburg’s vernacular Pop and urgent environmental critique. Works by Lawrence Weiner, Maggie Sasso, Jim Dine, Anna Fasshauer, Beverly Pepper, Carlos Rolón, and Paul Druecke are also included in the 2020 exhibition.

About Sculpture Milwaukee
Sculpture Milwaukee is an annual outdoor exhibition of public sculpture in downtown Milwaukee. The exhibit is free and open to all. Supported by Northwestern Mutual, The Black Box Fund, Irgens, and dozens of private grants, in-kind donations, and sponsorships. For more information, visit www.sculpturemilwaukee.

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