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Monday, July 15, 2013

Beasts Unleashed

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As summer passes, I yearn for the spectacle of Milwaukee’s Great Circus Parade. All those nutty clowns, snarling caged beasts and spangled, bodacious beauties wending their way through the streets of our town. Something almost as swell is around this summer.

Right This Way Folks! The Third Ward’s Tory Folliard Gallery (233 N. Milwaukee St.) presents a spectacle called “The Beast Within: Images of Animals in Tattooing and Contemporary Art.” Designed to dazzle (now though Aug. 31), it’s curated by art educator Fred Stonehouse, himself a master of painting and prints. He generously trains the spotlight on the work of diverse masters who ink images of beasts. If you can believe the evidence on a Neolithic mummy (circa 3300 B.C.E.), the urge to embellish skin is not new. The mummy bore 57 tattoos.

Local artist Jon Reiter will exhibit a watercolor at Folliard, and the artist is co-curating a perfect adjunct exhibition in an intimate contemporary gallery at the Milwaukee Art Museum (on view now through Oct. 13)—“Tattoo: Flash Art of Amund Dietzel.” Reiter inks at Solid State Tattoo in Bay View, where he’s embellished many a body part, including parts of Stonehouse.

The 110th anniversary of Harley-Davidson roars by in time for both the Folliard and MAM events. Out and about on Gallery Night and Day (July 26-27)? Drop in. It may not be our Great Circus Parade with elephants targeting Wisconsin Avenue, but it’s right on target when it comes to exotica and serendipitous cooperation between MAM and the highly respected Folliard Gallery. That alone is worth celebrating!

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