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Wisconsin’s Local Flavor at the Charles Allis Art Museum

Mar. 5, 2014
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It has long been acknowledged that artistic creation is a universal human practice. But the idea that beneath stylistic and functional differences lies a common human condition transcending culture, history and geography first gets expression with the idea of world literature, coined in the early 19th century by German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Insofar as these “great works” remind us of our common humanity, there is a faintly ethical upshot to world literature. But this Enlightenment sensibility has mellowed to the extent that focusing on national and regional differences does not immediately stink of provinciality or exclusion.

The Charles Allis Art Museum’s “Forward 2014: A Survey of Wisconsin Art Now” is just such an attempt to display the unique je ne sais quoi that characterizes Wisconsin art. The biennial, juried exhibition selects the cream of the artistic crop in order to present a cross-section of the state’s local flavor.

On Friday, March 7, from 6-8:30 p.m., awards and prizes from $100 to $1,000 will be disbursed. The exhibition lingers until June 29 and can be visited Wednesdays through Sundays, 1-5 p.m. General admission is $7.


Michael Imes’ Ceramics

Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts

19805 W. Capitol Drive

Ceramic artist Michael Imes appreciates the aesthetic dimension of everyday objects. He has an avowed artistic interest in the relationship between human beings and the vessels required by the rituals indispensable to our lives, be they social, religious or otherwise. Imes pinches and coils balls of stoneware clay to bring forth vessels that suggest all manner of possible functions. In their indefinite serviceability Imes’ works slyly directs attention to the unassuming objects that structure our existence. The exhibition opens March 8 and is on display until April 26.


“The Black Tongue Lexicon”

Kenilworth Square East, Fifth Floor

1925 E. Kenilworth Place

“The Black Tongue Lexicon,” by visual artist Gary Seltzer, calls upon the resources of performance, video and live sound to limn the splendors and inadequacies of language. On Thursday, March 6, from 4-6 p.m., Seltzer employs his disparate artistic resources—which have won comparisons to venerable figures such as Joseph Beuys, Marina Abramović and Devo—in order to remind us just how fragile and uncertain the relationship between word and world is. Seltzer’s performance is free and open to the public.


Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has the power to appoint a commissioner to privatize primarily black and Latino Milwaukee Public Schools in a turnaround district. Will this privatization plan improve student performance?

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