The sculptures are back.
Works from Sculpture Milwaukee‘s 2023-24 season, Actual Fractals, Act I, are now on display in and around downtown Milwaukee. Green Gallery owner John Riepenhoff is the curator for the seventh installment of the popular outdoor public art exhibition.
We’ve already told you everything you need to know about one of the pieces, Nicole Miller’s Michael In White. Below is a press release with everything you need to know about the rest of the season, which runs through October 2024. You can find the locations of this year’s sculptures HERE.
SCULPTURE MILWAUKEE 2023-24 SEASON
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (July 12, 2023) – Sculpture Milwaukee is an annual outdoor exhibition of contemporary world-class sculpture that places engaging and thought provoking art throughout the city of Milwaukee, free, public and open 24/7. In 2023, Sculpture Milwaukee will have a total of 39 works on view with their 2023-24 exhibition Actual Fractals, Act I curated by John Riepenhoff, Nature Doesn’t Know About Us guest curated by Ugo Rondinone, and Dear Nature an indoor exhibition featuring the works of students and faculty from four esteemed institutions in the city of Milwaukee.
Sculpture Milwaukee prides itself on their free annual exhibition, allowing the public to access museum-quality public art by a diverse group of esteemed artists, both locally and internationally renowned. In its seventh year, Sculpture Milwaukee continues to push towards the boundaries of what is possible and inspire those within the Milwaukee community and beyond.
Actual Fractals, Act I Curated by John Riepenhoff, 2023-24 Exhibition
Of the exhibition John Riepenhoff says:
“There are many Milwaukees within this single city. While our parts can appear, and be, disjointed, there are also patterns that play out in our experiences across communities, generations, and public and private spaces, connecting us intricately.
“Actual Fractals, Act I brings together the work of seven distinguished artists from diverse backgrounds whose sculptures touch on concerns, pastimes, and pleasures that shape contemporary life, here and in the world beyond. The exhibition features artworks in a range of mediums that can rescale our expectations of contemporary sculpture. They also help us to see what we share by existing in the same time and place—and to see each other with delight and renewed empathy.”
Actual Fractals, Act I exhibiting artists feature Katy Cowan, Lars Fisk, Pao Houa Her, Nicole Miller, Mary Miss, Isamu Noguchi, and Erika Verzutti
Katy Cowan’s suns fall, 2021 is on view at Northwestern Western Mutual Gardens in vicinity to Sculpture Milwaukee’s most recent legacy work, Roxy Paine’s Cleft from the series Dendroids, 2018. Cowan’s suns fall, composed of common studio objects, will demonstrate how the passage of time transforms our perspective of the natural landscape and the way one interacts with the world around them. Lars Fisks’s Tudor Home, 2019 located at the US Bank Tower appropriates the beloved 15th century European architectural style characterized by half-timbered exteriors, steeply pitched terra cotta roofs, and stucco or brick finishes which provide ample protection from cold, wet climates. Like tudor style homes, the US Bank Tower features trusses that serve both structural and aesthetic purposes. Pao Houa Her Untitled, 2021-23 comprises three light boxes featuring four scenes from her family’s native lands and home in Laos. Pao Her’s evocative photographs illuminate the diverse experiences of Hmong-Americans and invites us to celebrate diversity, embrace the richness of different cultures, and forge meaningful connections that transcend borders. Her work will create centerpieces of lush environments in Milwaukee Downtown’s East and West Town neighborhoods, as well as the Historic Third Ward.
Nicole Miller’s, Michael In White, 2018 is on display inside the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Miller’s sculpture is a bronze cast of Michael Jackson’s kneeling figure painted in white, derived from a fragmented 1987 mold of the late musician’s body. Reassembled by Miller, the fractured body is a meditation on celebrity and image, the object-hood of the performer, and the dehumanizing effects of the public gaze. Mary Miss, WaterMarks: An Atlas of Water for the City of Milwaukee, 2023, soon to be installed in August 2023, is a unique work that invites viewers to engage and learn about the history, use, and civil management of water. The work is activated by a combination of Miss’ conceptual framing, sculptural markers, as well as works by local artists and interactive community involvement. The WaterMarkers will soon be seen throughout Milwaukee in years to come, thanks to the National Science Foundation AISL grant that supports informal science learning.
Isamu Noguchi, Octetra (two-element column), 1968 (2021) seen on Wisconsin Ave next to Third Street Market Hall and Octetra (five–element pyramid) 1968 (2021) in the the Historic Third Ward, where Paula Crown’s “Jokester”, 2018 used to reside. Noguchi’s works are part of the artist’s Playscapes series, in which the artist utilizes gemotery to explore the interplay of positive and negative space, provoking both mental stimulation and phyical interaction. Noguchi mastered the art of integrating art into the everyday. Finally, there is Erika Verzutti, Venus of Yogini, 2019 residing in Pocket Park next to The Pfister Hotel. This work is a stunning arrangement of stacked graviola and pumpkin, which references the upside down profile of the earliest known sculpture – Venus of Willendorf, an iconic symbol of fertility and womanhood. By manipulating the scale of known fruits and organic forms, Verzutti evokes the enormity of the ecological destruction taking place in Brazil in the wake of increasing global need for natural resources. Venus Yogini standing proudly recalls our history as cultivators of the earth and reminds us to consider the price of our material attachments.
Nature Doesn’t Know About Us, guest curated by Ugo Rondinone, 2022-23 Exhibition
Last year Sculpture Milwaukee installed a variety of works for their 2022-23 exhibition Nature Doesn’t Know About Us, guest curated by Ugo Rondinone. This exhibition is incredibly unique as the works featured are installed on a rolling basis, similar to the fluidity of nature, these works are intended to change throughout seasons both physically and through interpretation.
Works installed in 2022 include, John Giorno, LET IT COME LET IT GO, YOU CAN’T HURT ME CAUSE STORMS CAN’T HURT THE SKY, DO THE UNDONE, Tyree Guyton, Timeology, David Hammons, Toilet Tree, Maren Hassinger, Pyramid (Monument), Geoffrey Hendricks, Sky/Stairs #2 (Milwaukee), Rashid Johnson, The Crisis; Maya Lin, Courtyard Sea; Sarah Lucas, William Hambling; Arthur Simms, Real Estate for Birds?; Ned Smyth, Spiky Column Green, Red, and Blue; and Diana Thater, True Life Adventures.
In 2023 Sculpture Milwaukee is continuing the installation of works for this exhibition, recently, installed are Lois Weinberger, Mobile Garden, 1994/2023, at Red Arrow Park next to MGIC. This work is a temporary landscape that self-develops seasonally as seeds are carried on the wind or expelled in bird droppings, the installation serves as a record of the invisible ecosystem always ready to take root given the right conditions. Joan Jonas, Six Feet (A Measuring Device), 2020 installed at Pere Marquette Park. This work was made during the height of the covid-19 pandemic, and is painted to reference the safe distance between bodies and is among the trees as a symbolic return to social society.
Pat Steir, Mirage III, 2022, this sculpture is part of her Waterfall painting series, which are characterized by the downward gravitational drip of paint, and blur the line between representation and abstraction. Steir is noted as holding the conviction that her works are never finished; instead, they are passed on to the viewer when she ceases painting as an invitation for further meditation and insight. Oscar Tuazon, Recycled River, 2023 is an interactive sculpture installed directly outside of Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel. Recycled River, is part of a series of sculptures made of industrial stormwater piping that marries nature, structure, and infrastructure in a form that embodies the core purpose of public space.
Soon to be installed are works by the following artists: Agnes Denes, and Meg Webster.
Dear Nature, Co-Curated by Whitney Moon and Jennifer Johung, 2023 Exhibition
In addition to the regular slate of exhibitions, Sculpture Milwaukee presented Dear Nature in April 2023, now on view through October 2023, which features works from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Milwaukee School of Engineering, UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts, and UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning. This exhibition is the first of its kind, reimagining Sculpture Milwaukee’s connection to the community by creating new opportunities for Milwaukee college students to meet and collaborate and utilizing indoor spaces to further access to free public art.
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