Earlier this month, in observance of the new school year, we read a poem called “Giant Machine,” which details the ins and outs of a fanciful “masturbating machine” for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The 44-year-old poem was written by the late Bob Watt, a Milwaukee artist, poet, shit-starter, and self-styled “dirty old man” who once announced his candidacy for Milwaukee mayor in front of a Wisconsin Ave. Hooters. Watt died in 2012 at the age of 86, but his “so bad it’s good” art will live on in “The Last of the Bohemians,” a retrospective exhibit coming to the Grove Gallery October 21.

Here’s the press release:

“The Last of the Bohemians”
Bob Watt (1925-2012)
Grove Gallery
Opening October 21, 2016; 5-9 pm
October 22, 2016 12-4 pm

“The Last of the Bohemians” features a suite of ten Native American landscape paintings from the private collection of Jimmy von Milwaukee. This is the first public thematic exhibition of Watt’s works since his death in 2012.

“The Last of the Bohemians” showcases Watt’s signature style of Native American Chiefs in repose on appropriated sofa-size commercial art landscapes.

In Watt’s playful style, chiefs are “photo-bombs” that lurk in the background, dominate the composition, or meld into the picture like a double exposure in the wasteland of commercial kitsch.

Sampling the facial masks of modern art masters, 19th century portrait photography and the whimsical three-dimensional play of mobiles, Watt creates images that are haunting and haughty totems signifying the clash of the natural and manmade world that requires the viewer to question what is and what isn’t art.

Bob Watt was a Milwaukee poet, artist and provocateur. He was considered the most published Wisconsin poet. At his passing, Watt had produced over 400 canvases. His artwork is in numerous private and public collections including Jimmy Carter Library, Hugh Hefner, Jack Nicholson, John Shimon and the Vatican.

Grove Gallery
832 S. 5th St.
Milwaukee WI 53204
Gallery Hours: Saturdays 12-5 pm and weekdays by appointment.
Show Runs through Saturday, December 17th, 2016