Last month, we reported on an intriguing and conversation-inspiring idea Milwaukee artist Jeff Redmon had to “improve” Bay View’s highly-debated and critically-panned “Art Stop.” As a response to a recent rash of graffiti the public art piece—actually called “Urban Counter-Pose”—incurred, Redmon proposed a project in which a different local artist would be commissioned to contribute a mural to the structure’s blank Lincoln Avenue-facing façade every six months. Redmon volunteered to curate the concrete canvas, and asked the Kinnickinnic Business Improvement District to pay artists $1,000 for their work.
In April, Redmon met with members of the KK BID to formally present his idea. However, Redmon—Artist in Residence at RedLine Milwaukee, a co-organizer of Arte Para Todos and Bay View Gallery Night, and a Bay View resident since 2009—was told final approval for his idea was ultimately in the hands of Art Stop’s creator. As a provision of original artist Román Montoto‘s contract with the city of Milwaukee, any proposed modifications to “Urban Counter-Pose” must be approved by the Idaho-based architect himself.
Thursday, Redmon learned his mural proposal would officially not be happening. A KK BID member told Redmon that Montoto declined to have his 2014 piece modified. Redmon says Montoto also contacted him personally to decline the mural proposal. Barring a change of heart, “Urban Counter-Pose” will remain the way it is.
“I still feel that the sculpture-slash-bus stop is problematic for a number of reasons, but I guess it’s not my problem anymore, except for the fact that I have to see it every single day,” Redmon tells Milwaukee Record. “I was surprised to learn that the creator was able to get absolute power over the structure forever in his contract. That was a mistake.”
Though disappointed by the outcome, Redmon has shifted his focus to other endeavors, including the organization of Bay View Gallery Night, which will come to the neighborhood Friday, June 2. Redmon says he would like to create public art anywhere in Milwaukee. He now has one less location to consider.