Discover ‘All the Buzz’ at Racine Art Museum
An artistic focus on
insects comes together in “All the Buzz,” an exciting collection of exhibits
and programs that started in April at the Racine Art Museum
(RAM). “All the Buzz” includes three individual exhibitions featuring
nationally renowned artists Catherine Chalmers, Jennifer Angus and JoAnna
Poehlmann. Two complementary exhibits, “Insects and Invaders” and “Eccentric
Insects,” open June 13 and will display additional artworks from the RAM’s
The upper-lever gallery
exhibition “Catherine Chalmers: American Cockroach” offers an intriguing
viewpoint on this frequently maligned insect. Chalmers, who was recently named
a 2010 Guggenheim fellow, expands on the implicit hierarchy of the insect world
in various cultures, where butterflies are often preferred to cockroaches.
Chalmers explores these concepts through silver gelatin and C-prints with
provocative visual clarity. Her compelling photographs show respect for the
cockroach’s unique place in the world and promote the value of all organisms.
artists continue the theme in the lower-level galleries. In “Jennifer Angus:
Patterns of Insect Life,” Angus, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor,
installs tropical insects on the gallery walls. This spectacular display
replicates Victorian-era wallpaper visualized with contemporary applications.
Angus also covers miniature Victorian houses with an insect byproduct, beeswax,
and then fills the interiors with anthropomorphic insects. In so doing, Angus
questions how human and insect worlds coexist.
“Angus brings the gift
of seeing insects you’ll never see from other countries,” Curator of
Exhibitions Lena Vigna says.
In a retrospective
titled “The Insectopedia of JoAnna Poehlmann,” Milwaukee’s Poehlmann offers playful insect
imagery. The intricate details of the artist’s small-scale, mixed-media
drawings and accompanying poetic text enhance the witty, imaginative pictures
and concepts that reflect Poehlmann’s intense interest in her subject.
“This suite of
exhibitions is a way to challenge our perceptions on how we view these
creatures that we may not think about,” Vigna notes.
The RAM hosts a number
of corresponding activities throughout the summer, including workshops and
classes that relate insects to artistic expression. Chalmers appears at the
RAM’s “Free First Friday” gallery walk beginning at 6:30 p.m. May 7. The June 4
“Free First Friday” event features gallery walks by Angus and Poehlmann.
Here in the city, Annie B.’s Milwaukee Artbeat celebrates its one-year anniversary at 6:30 p.m. April 30 at the Hide House, 2625 S. Greeley St. An $8 donation includes a lesson in salsa dancing, a Latin dance performance and J.D. Rankin’s reggae music along with food, wine and gallery art from local talents.