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Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008

Modern Vintage

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  Vintage-ology: the study of all things from the past characterized by an enduring appeal or excellence. It's the byword that Fossil, a billion-dollar corporation that designs leather goods, watches and apparel, calls their "canvas for creativity and the soul of their brand." A new exhibition at the Eisner American Museum of Advertising and Design titled "Celebrating 25 Years of Fossil Vintage-ology" expands on Fossil's modern appeal and branding.

  Corporate Fossil began in 1984 as an importer and wholesaler of watches, but in 1989 they developed a branding based on '40s and '50s vintage products. The company then branched out into marketing eyeglasses, sandals, fashion accessories and apparel. Now the Fossil name signifies a classic modern lifestyle portraying organic forms, bright retro pallets, and richly detailed surfaces.

  The exhibit at the Eisner traces this brand's evolution over a quarter century of advertising and consumer design. Most intriguing is the wall of 576 tin containers that have been fashioned by over 25 artists in a multitude of stunning references to both contemporary culture and the past. Fossil manufactures seven million tin packages each year, having produced over 1000 designs that are now sought and collected as modern artifacts. As if in perfect sync, the exhibit coincides with the grand opening of a Fossil Vintageology retail store at Bay Shore Town Center this August, with another to follow at Mayfair Mall before December.

  The exhibition's official opening reception in October will be combined with a professional gallery talk by Fossil's senior creative director and additional student lectures coordinating with the exhibit. A book titled Tinspiration that defines the Fossil philosophy using color photographs will be available to purchase. A free brochure designed for the exhibit recreates eleven Fossil advertising posters in the form of usable postcards.

  The Second Annual Chalk Art Festival at the Bay ShoreTown Center sponsored by the Riverwest Artist Association features another facet of Americana. As a juried event added to the Riverwest Town Square Art Fair on Aug. 23 and 24, more than 25 artists including national artists Laurie Escalero, Mike Cashun, Mark Cummings, and Milwaukee's Kitty Dyble Thompson, submitted artwork that will be applied to the sidewalks as chalk paintings. Refreshments and music in and around the Bay Shore Town Square will be available to the public.

  Regretfully Luckystar Studio, Milwaukee's affordable and edgy art gallery, says good-bye with it's final exhibit "Monsters of Metal" on Friday, Aug. 22 from 6-10 p.m. The gallery closes this weekend, but will continue "pushin' paint" as owners Gene and Bridget Griffith Evans pursue personal creative projects.

For more information on museum events go to www.theeisner.com or call (414) 847-3290. The Riverwest Town Square Art Fair hours are Saturday, 10 a.m-6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m-5 p.m.