MKE IT Downtown

Sculpture Milwaukee: An East Town Tour

September 15, 2020 /   Sculpture Milwaukee Milwaukee Downtown

Sculpture Milwaukee is the perfect way to get outside and Downtown at this time of year. Explore East Town and the installations there while listening to the Audio Tour or 88Nine Radio Milwaukee’s paired music from local artists.

Tallulah Rapsody

Artist: Anna Fasshauer

250 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI

Tallulah Rapsody is from Fasshauer’s latest body of work that resembles a squashed wind instrument, like a saxophone or clarinet. The artist chose the title Tallulah Rapsody because of the terms’ musical associations. The blue of the work was inspired by the sky in Marfa, Texas, the small town turned into an art world mecca by American artist Donald Judd where Fasshauer made the work. The aluminum beams were also sourced from nearby El Paso. Her graphic abstraction is typically based on real people, or places, using linguistic slang and puns to give the viewer a clue to start unlocking the work’s meaning.

Listen to 88Nine Radio Milwaukee’s paired song here. 


Park Avenue Departure

Artist: Alex Katz

526 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI

Alex Katz portrays his life-long muse and model, his wife Ada, dressed in a beach-worthy ensemble. The lack of narrative leaves the viewer slightly uneasy and allows them to interpret it however they choose. Park Avenue Departure is a very flat two-sided sculpture that has the profile of a sign. The patches of unmatched color on her tan pants and black shirt suggest light reflected off pavement or a passing car, embedding the figure in her surroundings. Katz is primarily known for his twisting of two well-established artist genres: portraiture and landscape. 

Listen to 88Nine Radio Milwaukee’s paired song here. 


Blob Monster

Artist: Tony Tasset

517 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI

Tasset’s giant sci-fi Blob Monster, 2009, recalls The Blob, a 1958 movie, featuring Steve McQueen in his debut. The Blob was about a creeping menace that could not be stopped, a post-war parable about the Cold War. 

Tasset’s work reflects the realities and disappointments of the American dream using popular culture. He has made work about his own middle class, white male life, exposing the personal inside the larger context of the political. Tasset’s area of focus turned to identity politics alongside a broad art world press for more diversity and equity in the cultural realm. 

Listen to 88Nine Radio Milwaukee’s paired song here. 


Within the Folds (Dialogue I)

Artist: Thomas Price

777 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI

Thomas Price has created a series of these portraits of idealized black male subjects, drawn from an area of London with a large Caribbean diasporic community. Price is now focusing on traditional forms of sculpture to challenge our assumptions about public monumentation. Price does this by hacking into the tradition of public sculpture of almost exclusively male generals, patricians and noblemen by presenting a black British man, standing in comfortable fashion-forward sportswear, and looking into space. Price’s “art history hack” is part of the contemporary impulse by women, artists of color or of diverse sexual orientations to simultaneously celebrate and critique art of the past in order to insert new narratives of contemporary life into our shared space.

Listen to 88Nine Radio Milwaukee’s paired song here. 


Natalie Walking

Artist: Julian Opie

720 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI

Julian Opie allows the viewer to build their own narrative about Natalie. Natalie Walking shows a young woman wearing a fashionably youthful short skirt, her hair in a tight bun that suggests control. He acknowledges what is common about humans but preserves what is unique in each. 

Recently, artist revealed that he has been concerned with the homogenization of our cities through globalization. Although the internet has allowed us to expand to sample the world and “curate” our own lives and spaces, the corporatization of our public spaces, clothing, vacation, and lifestyle choices shows we still choose from a pre-existing menu. We are simultaneously trying to create a unique self while panicked by “f.o.m.o.”—fear of missing out—that prompts us to conform to what is trending.

Listen to 88Nine Radio Milwaukee’s paired song here. 


Jim's Head with Branches

Artist: Jim Dine

875 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI

The work has a heavily scumbled surface, roughed up with scars, as if the mind’s traumas have migrated to the surface. Jim’s Head with Branches is not a “selfie,” a celebration of the unadulterated fabulous self as it does fabulous things. 

Listen to 88Nine Radio Milwaukee’s paired song here. 


Too Much Sea For Amateurs - Marooned

Artist: Maggie Sasso

720 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee-based artist Maggie Sasso is interested in the unique culture that exists along the shores of Lake Michigan. She explores the myths, legends and metaphors of maritime culture, and how they represent the fragility of life. Her diverse background in craft, woodworking and metalsmithing has allowed her to create a wide array of objects, from the flags and semaphores used to guide ships to clothing inspired by nautical wear.

Listen to 88Nine Radio Milwaukee’s paired song here. 


Check out Westown's sculptures here and the Third Ward's here


Posted in:  Arts & Culture