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Books
Monday, May 25, 2009

John Updike’s final poems

The number seven is said to be lucky, and it certainly is for the many fans of the recently deceased John Updike, who, in his final seven years, honed Endpointand Other Poems (Knopf). Best known for some 60 books (ranging from poetry to novels to short stories to criticism), his first book of poetry, The Carpentered Hen, was published in 1958...
Art
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Art Review

It Came From Out West-well, not all of it, but the bulk of it, which is to say that 90 paintings from mostly Los Angeles-based artists are hanging around Green Gallery East until June 6. Curated by Joshua Aster and Kristin Calabrese, who flew here with four crates packed with paintings, the trove made it through security, maybe because the show's title, "Lovable Like Orphaned Kitties and Bastard Children," wasn't scrawled...
Art
Monday, April 20, 2009

Art Review

In 1965 Chuck Jones directed a swell animation short titled The Dot and the Line. The story is simple: a line (rigid and boring) falls hard for a hot dot, but she much prefers the undisciplined squiggle. Now comes "Tender Is the Line" (April 17-June 6), featuring the work of seven artists. The action, at the Portrait Society Gallery (207 E. Buffalo St., Suite 526), concerns drawing, i.e., lines variously configured into smooshes, twists, loops, smashes...
A&E Feature
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

The secret life of Waswo X. Waswo

If you are a fan of the art produced by former Milwaukeean Waswo X. Waswo, there is much to glean at www.waswoxwaswo.blogspot.com. Aptly titled "Notes from Afar," it details his major exhibit ("A Studio in Rajasthan"), which opened in mid-January at the Palette Art Gallery in New Delhi, India. I had to content myself with a catalog of the various works in the show, but a recent e-mail revealed that he sold "The Secret Life of Waswo X.Waswo," a boxed
Art
Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008

Art Review

Magic realism-stepping across the line dividing here from there-turns me on, be it in the novels of Murakami, Marquez, Eco and Mishima, or in the work of Flora Langlois, a Wisconsin artist who hails from Costa Rica. You too can fly unfettered straight to the heart of make-believe, where fantasy reigns from Nov. 21 through Dec. 27 at Tory Folliard Gallery. To my mind, the best fairy tales suggest danger lurking until death comes knocking and (perhaps) resolves our earthly games, which in Langlois' acrylic paintings are played in excruciating detail. Here frolics Truth...
Art
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008

Art Review

Through Jan. 18, 2009, seven winners of the 2007 Mary L. Nohl Fellowship awards exhibit their work at Inova/Kenilworth. The gallery has been newly expanded to include the splendid "Black Box," a windowless addition for video and film. Gallery Director Bruce Knackert and curator Nick Frank have patiently whipped Inova into shape. All that's needed now is an exhibition budget of decent proportions. Nohl Fellowship winner Mark Klassen offers a minimalist installation based in fear: terror on a New Jersey toll plaza, the possibility that an airbag will detonate when least expected, a sign emblazoned "Call Police Help!" Each scaled-down tollbooth is hand-built and painted icy-white. Directly overhead, faux fluorescent lights suggest an autopsy arena...
Books
Monday, Oct. 20, 2008

A hands-on life

I grew up in the days when DIY (do it yourself) was a necessity rather than a hot topic in the art world. Knit one, purl two; carve a bird; construct a whatzit; stitch a sweet sampler-then sell them at the church bazaar to raise funds for new oak pews. Back then, art, craft and design were one and the same. Macramé owls and beaded sandals had yet to emerge, as had T-shirts depicting someone flipping the bird. John McCain was a kid. In 2005, Faythe Levine and Kim Kisiolek unfurled the sails of Paper Boat Boutique & Gallery on South Howell Avenue. It's become the place to go for items fashioned by hand...
Art
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Art Review

It would be an error to say photographers Johnie Shimon and Julie Lindemann are the “J & J” of Manitowoc, Wis., even though, like G & G (British art duo Gilbert & George), they’re close as twins. The pair got together during their student years in Madison, and they stuck together after graduation, setting off to bite the Big Apple. After a year, they returned to Wisconsin. Following their careers for 25 years tempts me to say that their show in the Koss Gallery at the Milwaukee Art Museum (Aug. 14 through Nov. 30) will be the peak of their combined efforts. The opportunity to exhibit 43 portraits of those who have passed through their lives is indeed a mark of accomplishment and the show
Art
Monday, June 30, 2008
Are you seeking some peace and quiet after listening to fireworks blast across our horizon? If so, the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum (2220 N. Terrace Ave.) is the place to be, particularly in July, when the Renaissance Garden reaches its full beauty and the west-facing Mercury Court explodes with color in this 1923 Italian-Renaissance-style villa...
Books
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Yorker critic shares his vision

A decade ago The New Yorker magazine hired Peter Schjeldahl as their visual art critic. What a coup for a chap who spent his early years in the small towns of Minnesota and South Dakota, dropped out of college and existed on the ragged edge while writing five books of poetry between 1967 and 1981. He’s taught at Harvard and received a Guggenheim fellowship. Come fall, he’ll add the 2008 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing.

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