Cross Connection Issue 1

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Cross Connection ISSUE ONE P





Director: Joshua Christensen Editor: Staci Pawledge Designer: Thomas Beran Thomas is a designer living and working in Milwaukee, WI. Contact him at:

Contributors: Waldek Dynerman, Zach Hill, Meave Jackson, Brittany Ficken, Anja Notanja Sieger, Francisco Ramirez, Adam Beadel, Joshua Christensen, Karl Reeves, Erik Moore, Skully Gustafson, Nate Pyper, Lucas Ruminski, James Pederson, Rachel Sanders, Sam Joseph

Is Milwaukee among 10 Best‌?

Hangover Water

Racial Critique, Classroom Critique

s t n te

Archive Collective Spotlight

Two Mind Expanding Events I Attended In One Milwaukee Week

n o C

Death In Hand

Gallery Spotlight: Art is For Lovers Gallery

Designers Talking

Lucas Ruminski James Pederson

Artist Spotlight: Erik Moore + Skully Gustafson Rachel Sanders Sam Joseph

Final Words

Is Milwaukee Among 10 Best…? by Waldek Dynerman

USA Today 10 Best: City art districts around the USA Milwaukee: An alluring concentration of art galleries, theaters, exclusive boutiques, specialty stores and antique shops can be found in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward, a six square block area located south of downtown, along the Milwaukee River. The heartening revitalization of this turn-of-the-century warehouse and manufacturing district has rightfully caused visitors to compare it to New York's SoHo neighborhood. Its continued development includes a burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene.

This excerpt from USA Today listing Milwaukee and its Third Ward as Soho like “alluring concentration of… “, must be dismissed as not true. More than a year after it was published, Milwaukee continues to be an art scene that struggles to be a visible part of the Milwaukee cultural fabric. The ten or so galleries mentioned in the article as shining examples of the vitality of the gallery scene are pretty much the only galleries in town, which is very little for a population nearly one million. Two of them have already closed their doors, one is considering closing, and a few are more of variety boutiques than art galleries. We are left with literally a handful of professional art galleries, and few have real impact. Whom should we blame for this lethargy? The public does not seem to care much for the visual arts, in contrast with the popularity of music and cinema. Crowded gallery nights may still suggest that visual arts have an impact, but what is the everyday reality? We have poorly attended openings and even more poorly attended shows after they open. However, look at the Milwaukee restaurant and bar scene – this one is truly burgeoning. Why people pack restaurants and clubs and avoid galleries? This trend can be observed in other cities too. Whom should we blame? General education - Primary and secondary art education is not considered essential to general education and art programs are the first ones to be cut. Exposure to art and art making is not seen as value. Artists - Perhaps too many operate in closed circuits of their galleries, curators and peers, focusing more on cultivating their professional carriers. I would like to see more of them interested in active shaping of the cultural fabric of our city. They seem to prefer small interest group and do not see value in combined action.

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Art we make - It often tends to be self-referential. Artists spend too much time looking into the mirror. This has limited appeal. Too often the only people excited about art being made are artists themselves and their coteries. Local art institutions - They do not support local art scene. The Milwaukee Art Museum does not show Wisconsin artists and is marginally involved in Milwaukee art scene. City of Milwaukee - Shows little understanding of the relationship between the arts and how art friendly cities attract residents and businesses. Its zero tolerance for street art puts us decades behind so many other cities in the world that included street art in their cultural landscapes. Milwaukee looks grey and tired without street art. A great chance for social discourse in a city with so many problems is lost here. The city is also not interested in acquiring ambitious pieces of public art, and what passed for public art here can be sometimes embarrassing. Collectors - Milwaukee lacks a group of dynamic collectors motivated to support contemporary local artists. They look elsewhere, like most other collectors, to established art centers that guarantee return on their investment. Milwaukee has so many talented artists and truly great collections of art could be built locally. Student debt - Yet another reason of why energy of the emerging artists can be quickly squashed. Burdened with a debt that often takes more than a decade to pay, artists are less likely to take a risky path of an ambitious art carrier. It is too often replaced by a job that will pay the loan. Talk to young artists in Europe who do not pay for art education and you will understand the difference. But Milwaukee’s art scene has a great potential to become different.

Its greatest resource is its community of artists. So many great talents emerge every year from MIAD and UWM art programs. Many decide every year to make Milwaukee their home base. Don’t forget mid-career and past mid-career artists, that Milwaukee should be proud of. Local artists should demand attention and be vocal in your insistence on being treated seriously. They cannot allow others to marginalize their work and art in general. They must be visible, active and independent. New artist run showing spaces - Such as Pitch Project (a brain child of Mike Brenner, Jason Yi, Will Pergl and Sonja Thomsen ), Jeff Redmon and his Milwaukee Culture Jam, Present Works (run by Brian Nigus and Maura Kelly Doyle), an informal showing space at the studio of Matt Presutti, or Usable Space (Keith Nelson). These spaces will hopefully provide more venues to promote local artists. Nohl’s Fellowship - Provides a prestigious platform for Wisconsin artists to show their work and its award provides a substantial assistance to studio practice. It is a shining example of how individuals can make a real difference in the cultural life of a city.

Inova Gallery - Presents ambitious shows but can support local artists more outside of Nohl’s Fellowship exhibition. Redline - Provides residencies for emerging local artists combined with mentoring, as well as holding outreach programs. About 10 years ago, I thought that I was seeing a resurgence of Milwaukee art scene. I attributed it to the great many talents leaving MIAD’s program. I hoped that a critical mass was being created and that Milwaukee’s art scene would take off. However, it has not happened. I have outlined some of the reasons: lack of public support, and that of the cities institutions. And more importantly, lack of broad appreciation of art as an indispensable agent of life. Artists are to blame too - often looking after their own interest rather than vigorous public involvement. An artist friend shared this anecdote. She lives in France and when asked about her profession, she would answer: “I am a sculptor”. Then a question followed: “What kind of sculpture do you make”. When a similar conversation took place in her home country of the United States, the follow up question was: “And how do you make your living?” Maybe this explains part of the problem.

H angover Water By Zach Hill

You know when you are enjoying a glass of pure water. The kind of water that is so clear, so crisp, so refreshing that it can quench the thirst spurred by a long night of drinking. If art were water, it is easy to say that the water in Milwaukee is pure. There may not seem to be much of this water but it is out there, hidden under rocks, inside warehouses, in back yards, and even peoples’ living rooms. All of these little drops puddle together to make up the Milwaukee art scene, a pleasant pond of dedicated artists, filmmakers, writers, performers, advocates, total loonies and all around DIY junkies. Situated right next to Lake Michigan, a far less pleasant pond to swim in, this pool of creative thinkers really

does make things happen. There are commercial galleries and art museums in Milwaukee but the majority of art that I encounter exists in unconventional locales. Though not ideal, most exhibitions in this town pop up for a night and then instantly fade away, back underneath the rock. The evidence of these happenings ranges from documentation on the curatorial section of someone’s website to an expired Facebook event. Without a native guide, the unobserving artistic tourist is completely unaware of what they are missing. I can confidently say that these alternative avenues of viewing and experiencing art have been the most engaging and rewarding avenues to walk on. There is a freedom in Milwaukee of

knowing that the people around you will support your artistic endeavors as well as a pleasure in knowing that they trust you to return the favor. Milwaukee is what you make it, parading down Brady Street with a “ramshackle group of anarchists and neo DIY punks”, using flashlights to discern spooky art in an attic, or waltzing down Historic Mitchell Street surrounded by large-scale projections; what you make it with is usually something cheap like cardboard though.


“ by : Maeve Jackson In the spring semester of 2014, Brandon McGee performed, Meditation, in a classroom critique. It was a piece created by McGee and performed along with his student peers. This ritualistic chant performance was a scripted séance where McGee unraveled a personal experience in a challenging way. McGee instructed his audience of peers to get into a circle shoulder to shoulder. As they all faced each other he directed them to look at their feet, pay attention to their breathing, close their eyes, and repeat after him. The repetitious action of the phrases built a bridge for his audience to cross over and stand in his place to reflect on words said to him. As we began to decipher the words that commented on the change of his appearance and his identity as a black male, we started to realize the power of each phrase. When you are getting critiqued in life you do not always understand what is being said. We can easily focus in on one comment and then miss what else is being said. We have to be vulnerable enough to be open to others interpretation and reactions, but still be strong and confident as to not take any thing personally. McGee has flipped the typical roles of the artist and the audience with in a critique setting. The white middle class peers have become the vulnerable beings, while he is the one critiquing us and the Milwaukee community. But in a way that is not in your face or generalizes a specific group. His approach to issues of race and the black identity are strategically structured and well thought out.

T R A N S C R I P T Kim: Thoughts for Brandon? Jenna: It was such an amazing follow up to your last performance (1). Or like I am just thinking... Brandon: Yes. Jenna: I’m just thinking of those two in conjunction - Now I think, wow, I feel like your hair is very valuable now. Indie: I feel as if I am being made fun of a little bit because I was one of the people to say, “You look good!”. But I mean, I love your dreads. I feel like most of us maybe had said that to you so by us repeating it in that sort of in a way, you are making fun of us. Jenna: And the ‘call and response’ nature of it too was like you were hearing it all from so many people again. All the voices at once embodies those weeks after you did it when people literally stop you in the hall and had something to say. Indie: Someone said that to you? Or was that apart of your script? When someone said “You looked like a regular black guy.”? Brandon: Yeah. I have gotten that quite a few times. Kim: But even before that comment, I feel like there is definitely something else going on just within that structure of how Brandon organized this. How it was not so benign and neutral as us just echoing. There is something else there. Indie: There were a few undertones in the beginning before we knew the context of what you were trying to do, that I thought of it as almost like sexual. I do not know if that is just my mind. Kim: There is a building up of, “Oh. Oh. Brandon. Brandon.” Indie: But then it got sort of serious when it was, “You look like a normal black guy”. Brett: It seemed really ritualistic too. It was like you were kinda looking at this ritual of how we go through change and talk about change. It is something that I do not think is noticed as much and by setting up that ritual and setting up that structure makes us look at things that we wouldn’t otherwise question while giving us time. Even that breathing, just get into that mode of only thinking about that situation. I like how you do not force us to move into it too soon. For a moment I let everything out of my mind and just thought about that moment and an understanding of the situation. Zach: I was thinking about how you put us all in the same place and same position and a certain position. It was interesting. And you directed us to be in that position and make us consider what it felt like to say those things and to say those things as a group. Jenna: But it was not confrontational because we did not have to look at you and our eyes were closed. And you said, “Look at your feet and then close your eyes.”, which is a pretty demanding request. But then

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Brandon: Wow. Peers: Wow. Brandon: Wow. Peers: Wow. Brandon: Wow! Peers: Wow! Brandon: Brandon. Peers: Brandon. Brandon: Brandon! Peers: Brandon! Brandon: Oh my god! Peers: Oh my god! Brandon: Oh my god! Peers: Oh my god! Brandon: Brandon. Peers: Brandon. Brandon: Brandon! Peers: Brandon! Brandon: What did you do?! Peers: What did you do?! Brandon: What did you do?! Peers: What did you do?! Brandon: What did you do to your hair? Peers: What did you do to your hair? Brandon: Wow. Peers: Wow. Brandon: Wow. Peers: Wow. Brandon: You look so different Peers: You look so different Brandon: You look so different! Peers: You look so different! Brandon: You look very mature. Peers: You look very mature. Brandon: I like it. Peers: I like it. Brandon: I really like it. Peers: I really like it. Brandon: I like this better. Peers: I like this better. Brandon: Wow. Peers: Wow. Brandon: You look... Peers: You look... Brandon: ...really good. Peers: ...really good. Brandon: You know... Peers: You know... Brandon: kind of look like... Peers: kind of look like... Brandon: ...just a regular black guy. Peers: ...just a regular black guy. Brandon: Wow. Peers: Wow. Brandon: Wow. Peers: Wow. Brandon: I like it. Peers: I like it. Brandon: How does it feel? Peers: How does it feel? Brandon: You know... Peers: You know... Brandon: you kind of look like... Peers: you kind of look like... Brandon: ...just a regular black guy. Peers: ...just a regular black guy.

it was loaded with you saying it first - it was very self-affirmation. Like you were looking in a mirror saying, “You look good” as if you were trying to tell yourself to make the right decision or something like that. There were a lot of layers of confrontation coming from you as you were saying the things that have been said to you for the past couple of weeks. And then as soon as we said it, we didn’t have to account for what we were saying. Brandon: Yeah. Jenna: Like we were just following directions. Kim: I think one of the weird strengths of this work is that you are implicating us and letting us off the hook at the same time. We have to enact those words, I mean “we” as in we have to participate. So by doing that we are enacting those words. And they are weird and uncomfortable and yucky. But we are only following your directions so you can somehow spill with well I am just like saying it because you are telling me to say it. I really appreciated the end because you gave us a moment to take a breath to let go. I know I can get too fruffy - but it was like a weight. And to let go of that weight was nice at the end because you were asking us to take on this difficult baggage on for a reason. I think those are all strength of the work. And at the end you feel this “Ew, I said those things”. Kim: And again referring to these signifiers of identity, hair, and black hair. How they are signifiers of race, and in particular signifiers of a black identity are often commodities. They are these things that people want and it becomes a complicated issue. And for instance, I can not speak to a black audience but I know within a black audience there is a commodifiable issue too. The strength of some of the projects I have seen you do here are for us. They are really smart in the way you have crafted your work for this audience. And I am curious to see what happens when you go out in the world and I know that you are smart enough to now tailor those to another audience. But it really has been this process of you taking on the education of a population. You are really taking that on in a way. And I think that is a lot to

take on and I worried about you this semester not having a lot of peers in different ways and so I am excited for you to go out in the world and have other peers - and of course you have peers here - but some of the issues you are talking about you always have to create this bridge for the others to understand. So coming back to, “oh you look good” and “what did you do to your hair”, in one way is a very benign kind of a statement that nothing is meant beyond making polite conversation or friendly conversation about you changing your appearance. But then on this other level there are all these other issues about commodification of identity; of how the other is marked; how the other is judged; how the other is measured - there are value issues there and a value system being established. And so you are getting to all of those things in this very simple exercise that you asked us to participate in. Does that make sense? Do you guys have stuff to add? Brandon: I was looking at some texts. For instance, Black Hair Politics by Mercer. I think in the end the narrative that I disrupted was my life. And the disruption happened after I cut my hair and received compliments and weird side comments. This was a response to that narrative that was disrupted, so that is how I looked at it and reflected upon it. That is how I was thinking about the structure of the performance. Kim: Again you are marked as a political body in this way where it is a personal choice, it is a cosmetic choice, but it is also a political act in some way by changing a hairstyle. Kim: Did you find the Mercer article dated? Brandon: I think some parts when they were referring to the black is beautiful movement - it was that that sort of dated the article but it was still very relevant.

I N T E R V I E W After re-reading the transcript from the critique, has your memory of the project changed? Or do you have any new thoughts on what was said or what was not said? To be completely honest I hadn’t thought much about this performance since it happened. Between finishing school and starting new work there hasn’t been much time to reflect. Re-reading the transcript has re-illuminated the performance and discussion held afterwards. I’m realizing that not only was this performance indicative of my practice’s trajectory but I’m also seeing how beneficial it is to reanalyze a critique. Taking notes during a critique is one thing, but being able to go back and read people’s comments as well as your own verbatim is great. I’m still in agreement with a lot of what was said. If anything I now have an expanded understanding of the piece as a whole. MIAD has a high majority of privileged (can afford a private college), white middle class students - so the diversity is not high in small class sizes, could you explain how you approached having that as a variable in critique? I definitely used this fact to my advantage. The culture, history, and economics of African-American Hair is extensive, I am nowhere near fully aware of its depth and density. I also figured that my peers probably knew even less than I did so I used it as an opportunity to start a new dialogue. I was also aware that topics of this nature i.e. anything having to do with race, identity, or otherwise are charged so that was one of the reasons why I chose to mimic a group meditation. I’m very interested in the ideals of comfort and accountability within my work and how those shift the dynamics between participants/observers and myself. Now that you are out of the institutional critique setting your audience has changed. Can you talk about some of your new work? I’ve just embarked on this new journey and I’m excited to see how my practice takes shape. My most recent piece “K”, a performance in which I walk around the gallery scantily dressed whilst wearing a homemade Ku Klux Klan hood, is conceived in such a way that it will (hopefully) have impact regardless of the audience. I’m trying to look at things with a wider range of view.

Footnote (1) Brandon’s pervious performance, “Choose” in which after cutting his hair off he devised a scenario in which he gave the participants in the class a choice between taking one of his 22 dreads or a single dollar bill. One by one a peer would be ushered in and forced to decide between his hair and money while he stood by and observed them. Once they chose they got to stand and watch the rest of the participants perform the same act.

Kansas City photography collective Archive Collective recently initiated a traveling postcard exhibition called TRADE LOOK SHIP. It featured several Milwaukee photographers and made it’s way here in mid September. TRADE LOOK SHIP began a dialogue about building a photographic community within the Midwest. We wanted to continue this rich dialogue between our cities and reached out to Brittany Ficken, one of the founding members of Archive to learn more about the group and see what other projects are in the works. Archive Collective - What is Archive?

How did the collective come to be?

Archive Collective is a Kansas City based photography collective that seeks to support and contribute to the education, promotion and publication of local fine art photography through an on-going series of group critiques, gallery visits, artist talks, panel discussions, screenings, publications, workshops, and meet-ups. A group of eight photographers and community enthusiasts direct and organize Archive Collective events which are all open to the public.

Archive Collective was birthed from a discussion in a coffee shop near the Missouri river. We were two photographers longing for photographic discussion in a city where little existed. We began brainstorming meet ups which we would create to facilitate a type of photographic discussion. We hoped these events would provide promotion of the medium and support of artists working in the field.

How long has the collective been in existence? Archive began June 21, 2013.

How many people are involved? Eight photographers and community enthusiasts organize the events which are all open to the public.

What are Archive’s main goals? In a time when more people than ever have access to photography, and make use of it every day, photography has perhaps never been so important, or so necessary for us as human beings. It is with this in mind that Archive Collective is emphatic about thinking, writing, talking, and connecting to others through the medium. In addition to our planned events, blog, and Instagram, a publication is in the works at Archive Collective which will provide a space for further discussing, viewing, and experimentation.

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What kind of events does the collective do/ how many a year? Each year Archive hosts 3 critique nights in which 3 local photographers are invited into a space, to hang work, and to begin a discussion. Each artist has 30 minutes on the clock and the conversation begins. Outside of the critiques, the events we host vary. We hold at least one event each month. We have guest curated exhibitions for arts nonprofits such as Imagine That!, hosted national artist talks via Skype, and we began a gallery, called The Red Lady Gallery, in Kansas City to exhibit photographers’ work. Most recently, Infrastructures & Inheritance: A Local Matter was exhibited at The Red Lady Gallery. Infrastructures & Inheritance, was a multifaceted, collaborative exhibition of photographs and documentary film that explores power, character, and community in urban Kansas City. Photographers Matt Rahner and Adam J. Long showed recent work alongside the premiere of a documentary film by Zachary Herrmann and Andy Clarke. Infrastructures & Inheritance was designed as an exhibition space that later played host to artist talks and public programming which continued a dialogue about the representation of and issues facing historic Kansas City neighborhoods like Wendell-Phillips, including education and city planning.

Last September Archive Collective partnered with two groups of photographers, a group from Milwaukee (lead by Staci Pawledge) and a group from Chicago to create TRADE LOOK SHIP. TRADE LOOK SHIP was a regional collaboration between artist groups from Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Chicago. TRADE LOOK SHIP began with a trade. Scavenger hunt lists, constructed specifically for each city by one of the other cities involved, were exchanged. The lists created a collaborative conversation and framed the content of the photographs. Each artist involved in the project created ten photographs in response to the list given to their city. The photographs were then printed into a tactile matter, postcards. The exhibition traveled via mail to exhibit in all three cities. Inspired by Alec Soth’s lists and in a response to a regional underrepresentation of fine art photography TRADE LOOK SHIP began a dialogue about photography and hoped to build a photographic community within the Midwest.

Last winter we hosted “Homebodies” which was an ode to Bill Owen’s Suburbia project. Each guest was invited to come to the event dressed in regards to the photographic series. Everyone who entered the event received a disposable camera and was encouraged to photograph the night. At the night’s end, all 100 cameras were left with Archive Collective for the film to be processed and scanned. 2,400 images were curated down into an exhibition of ~130 photographs at The Red Lady Gallery. Outside of these physical events, Archive aims to facilitate conversation with a broader audience via the web. Archive curates an instagram account of weekly featured photographers. Each Sunday a new photographer shoots under the instagram. Also, our website www. acts an international resource of contemporary photography as we post essays on the medium, exhibition reviews, press releases, open calls, etc.

What’s next/ what idea are you most excited about for the future? There is some conversation starting about a mobile library featuring great finds regarding photography. To keep updated, like us on Facebook, follow us on instagram (@archivecollective), and stay updated with contemporary photography via our site.

g n i d n a p x E d n i M o Tw n I d e d n e t t A I s t n e Ev k e e W e e k u a w l i M e n O by: Anja Notanja Sieger “Draw Write Here” Helene Fischman, interdisciplinary artist and photographer, is well aware of the isolation many artists and writers feel in their creative processes. Unlike musicians and performing artists who get to rehearse in party-like atmospheres, artists and writers tend to work alone. Solitary creation can put a person at risk for collaboration deficiency. Collaboration is essential for the growth of ideas, courage and interpersonal skills. Concerned for the cross-discipline collaboration shortage she’s observed in the Milwaukee art scene since her arrival here a year ago from Oakland, California, Fischman has invented a therapy session to prevent malnourishment called “Draw Write Here.” There have been two sessions so far, in October and November, with a third coming up in December. A typical “Draw Write Here” session goes like this: Artists and writers meet up at Riverwest’s Art Bar, and participate in a series of collaborative exercises in teams consisting of one writer and one artist. At the end of the program, each pairing presents their work on the ministage set up in the front of the bar. The whole bar, participants or not, watch the results of the playtime, with each writer reading, while their partner artists holds up their work for all to see.

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Collaboration is exciting, especially when it reveals how much our thinking complements each other. For Renee Bebeau this was apparent in the first exercise. Everyone was given a handmade book to keep (with a cover made from a map!) and instructed to write the beginning of a story about a favorite place from childhood on the first page. After three minutes, everyone had to pass their book to the person on their right, and the story was to be continued by that person with either more words, or an illustration. The books were passed a total of nine times, until they returned to the original authors. Bebeau was surprised to find that in the story she began about her childhood house, her neighbor had drawn a picture of a stairwell just as she remembered it: curving, rickety and creepy. Her shock was so great that she stood up to show everyone in the room the picture. After a collaborative discovery like that one is bound to ask: Was it just a coincidence or was it the product of several brains plugging into the same electrical storm, seeing lightening flashes of each other’s memories?

is n tio cially a r o e b p a w l s l o e o h , C ng veals i t i g n re i exc t k i n i n h e t wh h our s t n c mu pleme .” r m e o h c ot h eac

I attended the November Draw Write Here as one of nine artists. There were also nine writers including a playwright, Jody Hirsh, who produced and performed two comedic plays both composed during the of the night’s final exercise. One of the plays involved an expensive lucky orange that no one was allowed to touch because it would explode. This play was a response to Thea Kovac’s drawing of an orange rendered in a way as if it might be exploding. Kovac’s drawing was a reaction to a clump of orange peels she was handed. All participants were given a different item from the bulk spice section at Outpost and instructed to interpret it in their role as writer or artist. Anise, passionflower, cumin and cinnamon are some of the spices I remember. The spice I was assigned was cloves, from the scent and the shape I was stirred to rip a paper sculpture.

Whichever way Fischman chooses to document my sculpture, it will present complexities. However it’s been promised to be included, along with everything else for inclusion in a book documenting all the work from the three “Draw Write Here” sessions.


“Creative Mornings” Yesterday, around 8 a.m., a time before I usually rise, I improvised a twenty-minute lecture in front of a room of 60+ creative professionals on the theme of “Chance.” Everyone was fully alert since the heating system at the new Commons venue is still being worked out. Note cards with chance related topics on them were placed in a hat and audience members picked them out to determine the course of my lecture, delivering a constant jolt to my thought process. I worried that I might not be making a lot of sense, jumping around ideas, trying to fit thoughts into a span of time shorter than I like. But at the end of the talk, I asked this room full of graphic designers, filmmakers, photographers and artists if what I had said made any sense and the weirdoes nodded their heads emphatically. I hope when the video of this talk is added to the CreativeMornings website, and folks from all around the world watch it, it’ll make sense for them too. CreativeMornings is a lecture series that is held in one hundred (as of November) different cities. One lecture I watched (on the theme of “Rebel”) taped in Prague didn’t make much sense, mainly because it was in Czech. Each month a different theme, such as this month’s “Chance” is assigned to all chapters of CreativeMornings. Another “Rebel” themed video I watched came out of Miami, where instead of a speech, dancers performed a bird rebellion for the audience. It’s unusual to get up, attend a dance performance and go to work inspired, but that is exactly why the CreativeMornings series was started by New York designer Tina Roth Eisenberg. Milwaukee’s chapter was started three months ago by Paul Oemig and Kate Pociask. In September they invited pop artist, Reginald Baylor to speak on “Color,” and in October, DJ Tarik Moody to speak on “Crossing Over.” Before speaking on a theme, guest lecturers meet with Paul and Kate to engage in a conversation on that topic. When I met up with them, deep questions were posed to me: What is the opposite of chance? Is chance always a choice? Are you heads or tails? What is not governed by chance? What’s the biggest chance you’ve taken? I recall answering, “Being alive is the biggest chance one can experience!” All of these questions prepared the mind well for speaking.

“Death In Hand” is a print collaboration between N. Adam Beadel of Team Nerd Letterpress, Francisco Ramirez of The Bureau of Print Research and Design, and Joshua Christensen of Stoop Kids. While the three printmaker’s work is vastly different, they share of mutual love of posters and community.

h t a De In


“Death In Hand” started from simple print exchanges, where each artist started a poster and passed it along to the next. Each artist had free reins to add or delete any content they saw fit. As the prints progressed commonalities began to emerge and each artist’s conflicting style began to become harmonious. The title for the series “Death In Hand” is a nod to the fact each poster coincidentally contains imagery of both death and hands, and that 3 artists working simultaneously on 3 prints can have destructive effects.

“Death In Hand. 1”

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“Death In Hand. 2”

: printmaker at ch ea t u o ab re Find mo ress mNerdLetterp ea /T m co k. o o b face m bureauprintres stoopkids.squar

“Death In Hand. 3” (Print Detail)

Art Is For Lovers Gallery In the heart of Bronzeville, at the corner of MLK and North Ave, Art Is For Lovers Gallery is challenging the traditional idea of what it means to be a gallery in Milwaukee. Right away, upon entering the spacious art gallery and performance space, there is an energy that you won’t find in many of the cities other art galleries. Local and national graffiti writers have transformed the white box of the gallery into an expressive environment that covers 1,600 square feet and four adjoining rooms. The space may not be as established as some of the other commercial galleries in the city, but it represents another side of the creative community. The artist’s here have taken matters into their own hands when the rest of Milwaukee has failed to provide them representation. For being one of “America’s Top 12 Art Places” Milwaukee, has failed to create a diverse art scene and Art Is For Lovers Gallery has become one of the only hubs for “diverse art”. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon we sat down with owner, Karl Reeves.

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Why don’t we just start off casually, what’s your name and what do you do? My name is Karl Reeves and I am the owner of art is for lovers gallery. I do a lot of things: I create events, gallery shows, I take pictures, I represent a culture. How long has the gallery been in operation? Art is for lovers has been opened since December 2013. This space just kind of happened... We were looking for a space to create a pop up show in and the space we wanted fell through. We got an offer we couldn’t and took it for a year. Now its here and I’d love for it to be here for as long as I possible can. How many people run the space? That’s an interesting question, what I tell people is that the number of keyholders is irrelevant. I’m just the facilitator but the people are the ones who run the space... The community runs the space and comes up with the shows. What was the motivation for starting the gallery? Man, I don’t want to get too political, but we live in WI. I’ll first start off with my personal life in Milwaukee and not having the opportunity to visit a space like this. It took me to my mid 20’s to ever step foot in an art gallery. So personally I felt like I wanted to create the opportunity for people at a young age to experience something like this versus later in life. A lot of people are influenced by places like NY or LA and I’m thinking to myself you can have that same vibe here... so my homie told me create you want to see, and since I’ve been told that, I’ve just been trying to do just that. That being said we live in the most segregated city in America and who’s representing the street culture? People say if you don’t like what you see then do something about it, so heres my answer. I know it’s kinda weird for Milwaukee and people may say it’s unprofessional but this is just us. I know that was kind of a long ass answer but, I’ve been told enough reasons why this space has to stay no matter what.

How has th e commun ity respond The commun ed? ities respon se has been is we’ve need positive, wha ed a place lik t I hear the e this, this is know a lot of most what has be people com en missing. e in here an another plac You d say they fe e like New Yo el like they ar rk. The only coming from e in negative resp people who onses have work for the community been city, except in Bronzevill the alderman e was sceptic us real fast. . The al at first bu After 6 mon t they warm ths everyone ed up to knows everyo ne. So what ro le would yo u lik Milwaukee’ s art Scene? e Art Is For Lovers to play in I feel like I’m pretty happy in the presen Lately I’m tr t and what ha ying not to th s already ha ink about w gallery could ppened. hat I could le do for the co ave behind mmunity. At are fighting or what the the end of th for what they e day the peop believe in w space. We al le who ill always be l know all sp fighting with aces are tem ing for what or without a porary. It real you believe ly comes do in, creating wn to standart and insp iring people What do yo . u think is n eeded in M More diversity ilwaukee’s and not even art scene? just that. This Milwaukee ha whole cultura s a way of st l appropriatio ea ling your idea it right back n thing, s and then w to you... That rap it up in a shit needs to and reclaim gift and give stop, people their commun need to reclai ity and remem m their spac ber to give ba e ck to their co How would mmunity. describe A rt Is For Love I mean, I’m go rs Gallery? nna give you a simple answ keep in mind er but its a w we represen elcoming sp t the street cu different type ace... lture. We pa of style but int on walls, we are welco warming an we have a ming and di d exciting an verse. All the d I think that for people to events are s due to it be exchange id ing four room eas. So yeah s and a plac ... don’t judg e e a book by it’s cover.

Art Is For Lovers Gallery open every Saturday & Sunday 12-5pm. 2228 N. Martin Luther King Drive Milwaukee, WI 53212

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Formal Blade Casein, printmaking matrices, green screen paint, and gesso on chalkboard panel 24 x 48 inches 2014


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Legs Casein, printmaking matrices, polystyrene, and gesso on panel 24 x 32 1/8 inches 2013

Study for Cowboy Diptych (from sketchbook) Oil pastel and pen on paper 5 1/2 x 7 inches 2013

Saturday Night Acrylic and polystyrene on panel 11 x 14 inches 2014


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Finger Painting Acrylic on panel 16 x 20 inches 2014

The Convent Job Acrylic on panel 18 x 24 inches 2014

Partners and collaborators, Erik Moore and Skully Gustafson met in Wausau, Wisconsin. while the later was still in high school and have been developing a relationship through art ever since. The pair have become a staple in Milwaukee’s avant garde community and have been crafting their own unique language through: painting, drawing, photography, performance and their band Cartoon Pussy. Gustafson is currently part of the Redline artists-in-residence program and the pair recently showed work at the Portrait Society Gallery.

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Rachel Sanders

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Sam Joseph

Always supporting local music and artists! An experienced events, production and talent resource 995 Badger Circle, Grafton

(262) 618-4672

Jan 30 Mar14 -TO-

Mateo Tannatt:

Studio Agony (Revisited) / Barn Paintings / A Monochrome the Color Yolk


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Cross Connection is a semi annual art and culture magazine published by artists and designers working in Milwaukee. Our goal is to create a publication that is accessible to both the art community and those outside it and expose the talent and ideas coming out of Milwaukee and beyond. Cross Connection has a fluid identity.In each issue a new designer gets creative control over the publication and with it creates a new exciting identity for each individual issue. We use profits from publication sales to directly fund artists and community projects. We hope to actively add to the Milwaukee creative dialogue and grow the art audience as a whole.

Prompt for the next issue:

Cross Connection is now accepting proposals for projects to be featured in our next issue dealing with community. Our next issue will be released early April 2015. Cross Connection is looking for creative writing, interviews and collaborative art projects that address the concept of community. Cross Connection can provide up to $200 of financial support for projects. Proposals for projects are due January 16th. In order for projects to be considered proposals must include: a detailed statement of the project, clear goal of addressing the concept of community, a breakdown of expenses and clear timeline. Projects must be completed by March 27th. Send proposals to

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