Sculpture Milwaukee’s downtown exhibition focuses on cultural issues

January 21, 2021

British artist Thomas J. Price, who sculpted “Within the Folds – Dialogue I”.

If you’re walking in downtown Milwaukee, you’ll see some of the country’s finest artworks that resonate with the cultural issues before us today.

The fourth edition of Sculpture Milwaukee’s annual free exhibition stretches from downtown Wisconsin Avenue into the Historic Third Ward, with 19 works featured, according to a release from the organization.

A prominent work making its international debut right here in Milwaukee is “Within the Folds (Dialogue I)” by British artist Thomas J. Price. A nine-foot statue of a standing Black man wearing a hoodie, sneakers, and sweatpants, stands near the US Bank Center, and contributes “boldly to the cultural discussion around race and equality,” according to the release.

Three of the notable pieces from this ear’s exhibition include “Blob Monster” (top left), “Jokester” (bottom left), and “Within the Folds-Dialogue I” (right).

Nari Ward’s “Apollo/Poll, 2017” is a replica of the famous Apollo Theatre sign, but the sculpture highlights the word “poll” with red LED lights to recognize the bedrock of American democracy while realizing there are movements to disenfranchise the rights of many Americans.

On the east end of Wisconsin Avenue, you’ll find “Holiday Home,” a pink cartoon by Richard Wood, “Cleft,” Roxy Paine’s steel tree from the series, “Dendroids,” a cut-out sculpture called “Park Avenue Departure,” by Alex Katz, and a “Natalie Walking,” a double- sided LED from Julian Opie. Of course, you can’t forget about the “Blob Monster,” by Tony Tasset on the corner of the Milwaukee Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.

In the Third Ward, you can catch an ever-changing technoscape film by Leslie Hewitt, and video work by Sky Hopinka and Amy Yoes.

There’s also a big, red Solo cup. Paula Crown’s “Jokester,” in the release, is described as straddling the line “between Claus Oldenburg’s vernacular Pop and urgent environmental critique.”

“Holiday Home,” can be found downtown near the Northwestern Mutual building.

The 2020 Sculpture Milwaukee exhibit also features works by Lawrence Weiner, Maggie Sasso, Jim Dine, Anna Fasshauer, Beverly Pepper, Carlos Rolón, and Paul Druecke.

The curatorial program was expanded for this year’s event. 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 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Yale Center for British Art.