The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters announces a statewide Call for Artists to exhibit in the James Watrous Gallery, located in Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts. Wisconsin artists working in all media are encouraged to apply. For the first time, the Academy is also welcoming exhibition proposals from guest curators.
Those selected by the jury will be invited to exhibit or curate within the next several years, with the earliest exhibition opening in late 2023. Most exhibitions will be in the form of paired side-by-side solo shows. Jurors for this year’s call will be Portia Cobb, Anwar Floyd-Pruitt, Yvette Pino, Rae Senarighi, and Leslie Walfish.
Applicants must be Wisconsin residents at the time of application and exhibition, or have a strong demonstrated history of connection to the state.
Students enrolled in arts degree programs are not eligible.
Priority will be given to artists who have been out of school for at least two years.
Artists who have had a solo show at the Watrous Gallery may apply again ten years after their exhibition.
Proposals from guest curators must be primarily focused on Wisconsin artists.
The minimum application fee is $5. For those who can afford it, we suggest $25. These fees help support the gallery and keep our programs accessible to all. Information about applicant fees will not be shared with the jury.
Application materials must be submitted to AirTable by 5:00pm, March 1, 2023.
Kehinde Wiley is a contemporary American portrait painter. His exceptional work features African Americans in a naturalistic manner most often set against a pattern of bright abstract patterns reminiscent of some of the wallpaper patterns used by European painters in the 19th Century. The portraits themselves are influenced by Renaissance and other classical portrait sources. And his paintings are monumental in size which lends a certain grandeur and intensity to the works.
His works have been featured in a number of major shows and retrospectives. I first really became aware of his work when I saw a retrospective of his work in Houston some years back. And the Milwaukee Art Museum has a prime example of his work! His most famous work however is his recent portrait of former President Barack Obama for the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian. A portrait true to Wiley’s work but something amazing compared to the tradition of presidential portraits.
So it was a very pleasant surprise to find a major Kehinde Wiley painting and installation on the main floor of the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The Musee d’Orsay is a major home of primarily French art from the impressionists through post-impressionists. So you find Rodin, Monet, Gauguin, Van Gogh, and others. But to see not only a living contemporary artist…but an American one at that…and in a prime location with a monumental piece…is simply astonishing.
The work is titled An Archaeology of Silence and features one of Wiley’s signature paintings…but also includes two monumental bronze sculptures as well…a medium that I wasn’t aware that Wiley worked in. But here are a few photos that I shot of the installation and you can see the incredible detail that went into this work. (what I didn’t do is shoot all three pieces in one frame, a regrettable oversight on my part)
And now I am going to attempt to type in the information from the wall placard rather than letting you strain your eyes reading my blurred photo of it:
For nearly 15 years, Kehinde Wiley (who was born in Los Angeles in 1977) has based his work around subverting identities and stereotypes. He has played a pioneering role in the historical rereading of effigies of heroes who were sometimes less than heroic. The artist emphasizes the arrogance of the erect pose, from full-length portraits to equestrian statues. He began by raising the profile of unknown members of oppressed communities of people of colour worldwide by depicting them in these dominant poses, often adopting famous compositions from the history of western painting and statuary.
The works exhibited here, which were unveiled at the Venice Biennale in the spring mark a new direction by showcasing anonymous recumbent figures in the manner of fallen heroes. By depicting his models as victims, but without pathos, Kehinde Wiley elevates them in their state of abandon, in an approach at odds with the conspicuous masculinity advocated by the American model. In the huge painting presented here, in close proximity to the marble figures in the museum which inspired him, the artist submerges the experience of violence in an irrational decorative space. The vulnerability elevated to the monumental scale resonates as an ode to youth and resilience.
I have documented a number of pop up sculptures in Lake Park that are visible from Lincoln Memorial Drive. As I’ve mentioned before they have become touchstones or landmarks for me as I travel from Bay View to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee campus. But in the late spring and summer they are very very hard to keep track of as the foliage surrounds them.
So it was with a great deal of excitement that I found a brand new one during my recent sojourns to campus. This one is on park property and easy to see. It is just immediately south of the gardens of the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. One of the other major installations is just immediately north of these same gardens, on private property, but clearly visible from the park…currently just a bit obscured by some of the luscious summer foliage. So here it is (and I apologize for the photos…they are washed out a bit by the mid-day summer sun):
and to get a better idea of their construction, here are some close ups of the components.
And in the meantime, it seems to me that two of the smaller original pieces have been removed. Whether by the artist, the county parks people, or a vandal I have no way of knowing. But here are the two that I think have now gone missing.
As fall starts to denude the trees and shrubs and puts the vines and undergrowth to sleep for the winter, we all need to watch for new additions to the unseen art in our midst.
and if you know who the artist is, I’d like to talk with them. They can remain anonymous if that’s their wish. Or if you see more around town, I’d like to be able to document them…so let me know about them, please: email@example.com