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Monday, March 28, 2011

Carlos Cortéz's Art for Social Justice at WPCA

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Milwaukee-born artist Carlos Cortéz (1923-2005) used printmaking as a way to voice his concern for humanitarian issues of peace and social justice. A retrospective of his work can be seen in the exhibition "Carlos Cortéz and Allied Artists," opening April 1 at Walker's Point Center for the Arts (WPCA).

The exhibition, co-curated by Susan Simensky Bietila, also features work by more than a dozen like-minded artists. Combined with the Cortéz retrospective, which has been assembled from private and public collections, these works on paper examine the plight of working-class Americans—specifically, minority American laborers. In 1998, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics honored Cortéz with its "Art as a Hammer" award for using printmaking to help create a more just world.

Cortéz belonged to several art cooperatives that supported printmaking as a means to publicize and recognize social issues. Organizations such as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, or the Wobblies) and the contemporary Just Seeds have demonstrated art's effectiveness in conveying these concerns.

The WPCA exhibit will feature more than 40 prints, primarily in graphic black and white. The exhibition coincides with the political controversy playing out in Wisconsin's Capitol, illustrating the fact that the issues Cortéz addressed more than 50 years ago remain relevant today. Receptions will take place 5-9 p.m. on April 1 and April 15. The exhibit continues through May 14.

Art Happenings

"Art in Bloom: A Tribute to Art and Flowers"

Milwaukee Art Museum

700 N. Art Museum Drive

This popular annual event invites floral designers to coordinate arrangements with masterpieces from the museum's permanent collection. "Art in Bloom," which runs March 31-April 3, also features special programming and lectures (many of which are free with museum admission). For a complete schedule, visit www.mam.org.

"Samuel Williams"

UW-Milwaukee Inova/Kenilworth

2155 N. Prospect Ave.

An April Fools' Day reception in the empty Inova/Kenilworth gallery begins the process in which British sculptor Samuel Williams will ask selected volunteers to create a sculpture each day the gallery is open. The first artwork will be created during an opening night reception, 5-8 p.m. April 1. By the time the exhibit closes on June 19, more than 35 sculptures will be on view.

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