Since my discovery of a number of related public sculptures in Milwaukee’s Lake Park and my documentation of them here at An Intuitive Perspective, these sculptures have become touchstone landmarks for me as I travel from my home up along the lake front. I am disappointed when traffic volume requires all of my attention and I can’t spot them as I pass. First article from December 12, 2021 and Second from February 12, 2022.
So this past Monday, April 25, 2022, I was unbelieving when one of my favorites had been changed. So on my way home I had to check again and yes indeed, the sculpture had changed. Whether the change was completed by the original artist or another party, there is no way for me to know. I am leaning toward the originator and would hope that it hasn’t been ‘vandalized’ by someone else.
So what am I talking about? Well, here’s the original configuration of the sculpture, as I first encountered it.
As you can see the concrete discs are facing the park and street…but on Monday and on Wednesday April, 27, 2022 when I took the following photographs, we are now viewing them edgewise.
And of course sculpture is a three dimensional art form that should be experienced in the round…and setting these into a tree at the base of the bluff somewhat restricts viewing angles and maybe flattens out the sculpture. But turning the stones that ninety degrees now presents us with an entirely different sculpture and experience. I like it but I will admit to preferring the initial presentation.
So I will continue to enjoy my interactions with this wonderful pieces and see where we and they go from here.
And I am waiting for a warmer day to walk the lake front to see if there are other stealth hidden treasures in the park that I haven’t been able to discover from my car…whether there is more to find or not…it will be a remarkable experience nonetheless to explore Lake Park and environs on foot after too many years absence.
P.S. If anyone knows the artist, I would love to talk with them about their vision and practice.
Just two months ago I wrote the first post about some wonderful environmental sculptures that have popped up along Lincoln Memorial Drive in Milwaukee’s Lake Park area. These sculptures enhance the portion of the roadside that are wild and natural in our urban environment…and although parts of these are man made they are truly sensitive to their natural environments. Here is the original post: Stealth Public Sculpture In Milwaukee County’s Lake Park!
And although I am identifying their locations, if you visit them please be respectful of the work and their environment. These are truly a joy to experience.
This first one is relatively monumental compared to most of the others. It is very reminiscent of one of those that I documented in my original post (see below). Again, this one resides just west of Lincoln Memorial drive along the bluff near what any unreconstructed hippie of an older Milwaukee era would refer to as the alternate site. Here we see a number of oval discs that appear to be made of water washed and formed pieces of concrete and black top paving materials. I was able to get a bit closer to these so they may have had some human intervention to enhance the natural feel of eroded materials. But serious thought has been put into their placement and relationship to the space as well as finding the perfect fallen log for the base.
I didn’t notice this one until mid-January. This may have been the fourth piece that I felt in the back of my mind back in December but couldn’t find at the time. It may have required the full winter drought environment to become noticeable. Or it may be a newer piece.
This next piece is probably the most sober and for me the least successful…partly due to its stark nature and maybe because of the relationship of the living trees just beside it. This one is also west of LMD, across from the lagoon, about a half mile north of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This one is the nearest to the road. But instead of a piece of eroded paving material this one appears to be fashioned from a local piece of granite or quartz. More color than the other pieces.
And this third and final one is certainly a new one. Even last fall it would have clearly stood out from its surroundings. I saw it immediately during my first drive to UWM in January for the start of the spring semester. And a friend of mine, Beth Vandervort, who travels the bike trail along the bluff also commented on it on Facebook and posted a picture shortly after it appeared in January.
Now this is significantly different than all of the others. It doesn’t have any rock or pavement pieces attached to an onsite log or stump or fallen tree. It doesn’t elude a sense of calm or tranquility or sensitivity to place. Instead it is red and right in your face and as Beth said, this is “The Earth’s circulatory system revealed.”
So my question…is this the same artist or someone who felt the soul of the other pieces and is putting a new and different stamp on our psyche? What do you think?
This one is up on the bluff above the bicycle path west of LMD and just north of the Milwaukee Art Museum. But given its color it is currently very easy to spot from the drive.
I am concerned about these sculptures. I don’t remember seeing the first one that I documented in my previous post recently. So please be respectful of the sculptures and the environment if you go to visit them.
AND AGAIN: if any of you know the artist, please share that information in the comments section so that I can properly attribute these here. And if you are aware of other ones in the park, please leave the locations in the comments because I would like to go see them in the wild!
I would really really like to interview the artist. I have a lot of questions about how and why and the future! These are exciting pieces and warrant our respect and admiration.
COMMENTERS NOTE: if you have never commented here before, your first comment won’t appear until I have approved it so don’t think you are doing something wrong! But after that first one is approved, your comments should appear immediately.
I am going to write about something a little bit different today. For a number of years I have admired a number of sculptures in Milwaukee’s Lake Park that are situated along the west side of Lincoln Memorial Drive. I have always been captivated by these and wondered where they came from but only caught quick glimpses as I passed by in my car.
So this past Friday afternoon, I had some spare time and went to visit them and I have photos here of three installations…in the back of my mind there is a fourth one…but I couldn’t find another on Friday.
These pieces are installed in the environment. They appear to be constructed of water washed stone, most likely harvested from the shore of Lake Michigan just across the street. These stones are mounted on wire rods that appear to be brass or bronze from a distance. I didn’t approach too closely to avoid disturbing the sites. But the rods elevate the stones and rocks to define their shapes, their relationships and their presence three dimensionally. And the other ends are anchored in dead logs and stumps to balance and enhance the organic nature of the piece and make it one with the site. These are quite amazing and evocative sculptures.
So here are a few photos. As I said, I didn’t get close for a number of reasons. One is on private property and I didn’t want to disturb the sites of the other two since they are in wild swaths of parkland along the road.
Now I have been aware of this first one for some years and it is probably the most visible. It is just off Lincoln Memorial Drive across from the lagoon and maybe a quarter mile north of the Milwaukee Art Museum/War Memorial building. The contrast in stone and wood and their resilient textures are really comforting in a way but that sense of discovering it rough in nature is quite a rewarding feeling. The three stones here give the appearance that they may be water eroded pieces of concrete. That wouldn’t be difficult to find along the land fill portions of the lake shore.
Now this second one I was also aware of for some time as well but had forgotten about it. This one is certainly made of natural water washed stones mounted on metal rods and embedded in a tree stump that had grown out of a Lannon stone retaining wall along the drive. It came back into focus for me when the county parks crew cleared some brush and vines from the retaining wall a few weeks ago. This one is so simply elegant and precious and the site is perfect! And it is a little harder to notice at first because it is above eye level for most drivers. I had first noticed it because I was already enthralled with the Lannon stone walls along this section of the roadway. There are two similar wall outcroppings there…between the staircase from the Lake Park pavilion down to the lake level and the north end of Bradford Beach…this piece is on the southern outcropping. Hopefully these photos will do the piece justice. Originally I was disappointed that it was an overcast day but that was perfect…since I was facing west and these would have been blindingly back-lit if the sun were about.
Now this third one may have been around as long as the first two but I only became aware of it this fall. When I was driving home from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee there was often a flock of turkeys feeding along the drive just below this installation or just south of it so as I watched for the turkeys each day I spotted this sculpture. It is bigger and grander than the others but just as precious and as filled with wonderment. Now it is on private property just inside a fence and half way up the bluff to North Terrace Avenue. The actual site is immediately north of the lake level gardens for the Villa Terrace Museum (the white building on the left atop the bluff).
Yes this is a grander installation and spans the length of the trunk of a deceased and fallen tree. And again at least some of the rocks used appear to be lake eroded concrete pieces. So I have added a couple of overall shots and then a close up the total piece shown in thirds, left to right.
If you go to visit these incredibly beautiful works of art, please please please, be respectful of the work and the environment. And be careful where you are walking or you may go home with some burdock friends adorning your jeans.
And if any of you know the artist, please share that information in the comments section so that I can properly attribute these here. And if you are aware of other ones in the park, please leave the locations in the comments because I would like to go see them in the wild!
COMMENTERS NOTE: if you have never commented here before, your first comment won’t appear until I have approved it so don’t think you are doing something wrong! But after that first one comments should appear immediately.