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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Art of Music Posters

Black Sabbath, Patsy Cline and more at Walker’s Point exhibit

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If you’ve been around the local scene long enough, the names in “The Art of Music in Milwaukee” at the Walkers’ Point Center for the Arts are familiar. Even if not, it represents a fascinating intersection of visuals, musical themes and community.

The front gallery features posters created for various shows over the years. Artists John Hill, Faythe Levine, Dwellephant and Eric Von Munz are especially well represented. Finished prints in pristine condition are displayed in addition to some that reveal the working process. Get close to John Hill’s 1994 poster for a Black Sabbath show at the Rave and you can see where the Rave logo and other pieces were collaged into the final composition. It’s cut-and-paste in analog form. More recent posters are shown too, like Von Munz’s electro-space guys promoting the Gary Numan concert at Turner Hall this past April.

The exhibition continues in the back gallery with artists who use musical motifs in a variety of ways. Two of Mutope Johnson’s large-scale paintings from his “Bronzeville Poet Series” are on view. His subjects, Mikal Pruitt and Tiffany Miller, are poised and vibrant, microphones in hand as the cityscape of buildings and the Interstate bridge loom behind. Text floats through like their voices calling out to the community. Chris Niver’s woodblock prints of Man of Sorrows and Woman of Sorrows (Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, respectively) are an elegiac homage to musicians who have transcended time.

An installation by Amanda Schoofs includes recordings and documents related to her experimental music. Hal Rammel, who crafts inventive instruments like the amplified palettes on view, will join Schoofs and fellow artist Paul Mitchell for a concert in conjunction with the exhibition on Friday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m.

Though the focus of the show is primarily on local artists and musicians, national performers are spotlighted in a display of photographs. Chester Sheard’s series featuring legendary greats B. B. King, Muddy Waters, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock is especially evocative. While the premise of the exhibition takes Milwaukee and music as a foundation, it is harmonized through a diverse selection of art.

“The Art of Music in Milwaukee” continues through July 12, at the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts, 839 S. Fifth St.