Sculpture Milwaukee announces lineup for fifth annual exhibition

A Sculpture Milwaukee tour featuring Tony Tasset's "Blob Monster."

Last updated on May 5th, 2021 at 12:54 pm

Michelle Grabner

Sculpture Milwaukee announced the roster of artwork that will begin appearing around downtown later this month as part of the organization’s fifth annual exhibition.

For the first time, the organization will present a titled exhibition and offer a guest artist program, featuring emerging artist Lauren Yeager.

This year’s exhibition is curated by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates and Milwaukee-based artist Michelle Grabner, who is the Crown Family Professor of Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The exhibition title, “there is this We,” is drawn from the opening line of the poem “An Aspect of Love, Alive in the Ice and Fireby Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black poet to be awarded a Pulitzer prize.

“The poetics of perseverance and determination vibrate in the art that Theaster and I have selected,” said Grabner. “The exhibition’s title reflects the collective power of the works included in the 2021 exhibition, and honors a belief in social change through the provocations of the artistic imagination.”

Theaster Gates

The new sculptures will be installed later this month, joining 15 sculptures that remain on view from the 2020 exhibition. “there is this We” will run through the fall of 2022.

New works on view will include pieces by Thaddeus Mosley, Jason Pickleman, Brad Kahlhamer, Kevin Beasley, Betty Gold, Allison Janae Hamilton, Kara Hamilton, Salvador Jiménez-Flores, Deborah Kass, Matthias Neumann, Virginia Overton, Dan Peterman, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, John Riepenhoff, Christine Tarkowski, and Lauren Yeager.

Sculpture Milwaukee first launched in 2017 as the brainchild of Steve Marcus, chairman of the Marcus Corp. In 2019, it incorporated as its own nonprofit organization. Despite many summer activities in the city being canceled due to COVID-19 last year, Sculpture Milwaukee was able to put on its exhibition and even expanded from Wisconsin Avenue in downtown to the Historic Third Ward.

“We demonstrated last year we can safely create and implement a full, in-person cultural experience in the midst of the pandemic, while utilizing our unique exhibition to reflect and contribute to the most important community conversations,” said Sculpture Milwaukee executive director Brian Schupper. “This has created a pathway for an even more robust experience in 2021.”

This year’s exhibition will also feature a host of local collaborations.

A work by Betty Gold, to be permanently installed on the Milwaukee Art Museum campus, will be unveiled in tandem with Sculpture Milwaukee’s exhibition. Works by Salvador Jiménez-Flores were produced through the Arts/Industry program at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Artist Matthias Neumann will be traveling to Milwaukee to construct his work on site with help from architecture students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Community engagement programs will take place during the summer and fall as part of the 2021 exhibition, including the Urban Ecology Center, TRUE Skool, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, 3rd Street Market Hall and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Sculpture Milwaukee is privately funded and free to the public. 

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