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September

Leave your kiddies home if you go to see Robert Melee’s work (now through Sept. 18) at the Milwaukee Art Museum. It’s part of their ongoing “Currents” exhibitions (this is #31) designed to keep us abreast of what’s new on the contemporary art horizon. The wild installation is in the old Cudahy Gallery which used to feature smarmy paintings of cows and such, and to say the space has been transformed is an understatement. Enter there to ponder the interior of a ‘burbs home replete with wood paneling and garish family mementos. For instance, a video of mama Melee naked as a jaybird while being slathered with paint by #1 son. Is this a fun house? Well, if you’re one of The Munsters, yes. One floor below, the Chipstone Foundation houses Byrdcliffe and various works of this very proper American arts and crafts colony. Here’s one not to miss in this year of political confrontation: “Light in Darkness: Artists Comment on Politics, Nationalism and War” at MAM’s Koss Gallery, Sept. 17 thru Dec. 26. The spin lists only male artists (Golub, Saul, Acconci, Roger Brown) as participants, though hopefully curator Sarah Kirk has included some female artists perfectly capable of commenting. • •  September blows in with the “Open Art Project” seminars on public art. Sept. 9, 23 & 30 (three sculptors are featured), and culminates in bringing the work of one of them to Milwaukee in 2005. So saddle-up and show up at MIAD. If you don’t, then stop whining about what this town gets in the name of “art.” Now thru October 16, Rust Spot Redux, a collaboration of young M’waukee talents, holds forth in MIAD’s Layton Gallery, a blessedly “Beastie-Free Zone.” Speaking of blessings, Bay View’s loss is Riverwest’s gain. Richard Taylor, whose new sculptures are installed on the Wells Street entry to our downtown library, has moved his studio to Riverwest. • •  Rumors float that the Shepherd Express is being shopped around by publisher Lou Fortis, whose Dig has possibly dug itself into a financial hole, though the shop-about may be because a new MJS publication, a slick weekly, is hot on their heels. Hard to imagine the Express sinking into our native soil, but some of their best writers (“Grandpa” McNally for instance) are perhaps nearing retirement. Shep A&E editor, Dave Luhrssen, is again burping his new-ish baby, Milwaukee’s International Film Festival (Oct. 21-31) and that could (and should) define his bright future. Dig’s mama, Catherine Nelson, is off to publish Core for the Madison crowd. A few other surprises are blowing around in the ever-changing publishing scene. • •  Krispy Kreme shares have dropped like rocks at this writing, but Bridget Evans of Luckystar has plenty of hi-carb paintings to fill the hole. Dripping ice cream in big painterly cones and when we last checked, iced doughnuts galore in the Pop Art manner. The energetic business has split in two sections. Yes, Luckystar remains, but now there’s also Studio 2ten-B , with a focus on things corporate. For instance, in October, they’ll release a collection of portraits for WMSE. It’s a little early to speculate on Fall Gallery Night & Day, but River Rats Gallery may be back in the slot adjacent to Soups On, this time with Bob Watts’ Native American paintings and photo collages, perhaps in tandem with similarly themed stuff by Michael Mangan of Gallery H20, which if you don’t know, is inside of the soup spot… which reminds us that the Riverwest Artists Association stages their 20th annual ArtWalk, Oct. 2-3, which this year is under the director of Linda Corbin-Pardee, former exec at Walker’s Point Center for the Arts. Pardee promises excitement. There’s more to read in this section. • •  The monies levied (some call it “blackmail”) on owners of Third Ward buildings lining the Milwaukee River has one Water Street structure whacked with a $160,000 fee, in order for the RiverWalk to be installed behind the modest property. The owner will sacrifice her former patio space in the process, and says that even though the $160,000 is spread over several years, she had to refinance her property in order to make payments on the watery scene. We’re looking for a few good writers with an interest in the arts. If you have ideas, controversial or not-so, e-mail It’s good to have open and intelligent discourse on what art is and what it isn’t. Get busy. We welcome all opinions.
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