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Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013

Wisconsin Triennial Examines the State of the Arts

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The Wisconsin Triennial is our artistic state of the union. It is also the union of our state’s artists, bringing together contributions from Milwaukee, Madison, Menomonee, Oshkosh, Kenosha, Appleton, and other Wisconsin towns and cities. All told, the Triennial exhibits the work of 35 artists and five collaborative pairs in Madison’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

 

Particularly powerful are the creations of Milwaukee’s own Tyanna Buie, whose mixed-media works revisit the vicissitudes of a childhood spent with her two siblings in foster care. Her art reflects on these turbulent formative years and infuses them with a security and stability that was absent.

 

Also representing Milwaukee’s vibrant arts community is Paul Baker Prindle with photographs from his series Memento Mori. The title derives from the Latin imperative “remember that you will die,” a decree that accounts for the presence of skulls, hourglasses, and other morbid symbols in classical paintings. Prindle puts a poignant twist on this ancient allegory: his photographs document the locations of LGBT hate crimes across America. The juxtaposition of ‘all-American’ landscapes with titles that outline the evils committed there combines for an emotionally wrenching experience.

 

The works on display run the gamut of mediums, from Prindle’s photos to site-specific installations that capture the warmth and lack of pretension characteristic of the Midwest. These featured artists are our friends, family, and familiar faces in local coffee shops. The Triennial is a reminder that artists flourish in Wisconsin no less than in the international hotspots of the art world.

 

The Triennial comes to Milwaukee Sept. 25 with a panel discussion at Discovery World. Moderated by Nicholas Frank, artists Tyanna Buie, Santiago Cucullu, Shana McCaw, Brend Budsberg, Kevin Miyazaki, Lynn Tomaszewski and Jason Yi panelists will discuss art education under the heading, “Why Art Can(not) be Taught,” 7-8:30 p.m.