The A.V. Club’s Gallery Night guide, Ald. Bob Donovan edition
As Milwaukeeans mull over their many choices for Friday’s ultra-sexy, extra-sweaty summer Gallery Night and Day, one question hangs over the city like a cloud of polluted hot air: What would Alderman Bob Donovan do? (“WWABDD?” for bumper sticker and tagging purposes.) The South Side politician made quite a spectacle of himself earlier this week, decrying a Walker’s Point graffiti-art mural as “garbage” and “crap” while screaming in an innocent woman’s face for several minutes (or at least until local news crews turned their cameras off).
With Donovan’s unimpeachable art cred in mind, The A.V. Club offers up its Gallery Night picks accompanied by our “Bob Donovan Outrage Meter,” ranked on a scale from one (“I refuse to have my name attached to something as ridiculous as that!”) to five (“These jokers ought to be hung by their Buster Browns!”). Let the overblown grandstanding begin!
Sky High (2501 S. Howell Ave.)
The newest venture from local art multi-tasker Faythe Levine, the Sky High gallery will be displaying the wonderfully warped works of mixed-media artist Joe Roberts. The Madison-born Roberts’ paintings and collages are truly a sight to behold, and betray a fondness for the classics: drugs, aliens, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Bob Donovan Outrage Meter: 5
Located in the back of Bay View’s Sky High skate shop, Levine’s gallery is undoubtedly a juicy target for Donovan’s beady artistic eye. Much like hip-hop and graffiti art, skating is clearly a degenerate flash-in-the-pan fad, and not a multimillion dollar industry that’s been a part of mainstream pop culture for at least a quarter of a century.
Portrait Society Gallery (207 E. Buffalo St.)
The Third Ward’s Marshall Building plays host to the “Real Photo Postcard Survey Project,” an ambitious undertaking from artists John Shimon and Julie Lindemann. Consisting of more than 100 recently commissioned black-and-white photos of Milwaukee residents, the Portrait Society Gallery exhibit embraces traditional, outmoded photographic techniques, hearkening back to a time when portraiture was a delicate, time-consuming art.
Bob Donovan Outrage Meter: 3
Last spring, Donovan was one of a handful of aldermen who opposed artist Janet Zwieg’s public art project. Apparently, Zwieg’s clever and charming pieces were too “old-school” for Donovan’s discerning, modern tastes. (Or would that be “old skool?”) While most would consider the archaic techniques employed by Shimon and Lindemann refreshing, there’s no telling what “Fighting Bob” might think—or scream.
The Pfister Hotel (424 E. Wisconsin Ave.)
Earlier this year, The Pfister Hotel put six Milwaukee artists through an American Idol-like competition to see who would become its next artist in residence. Katie Musolff was the eventual winner, and was awarded with her own working studio in the hotel lobby. Musolff will use Friday’s Gallery Night to display her lovely, impressionistic paintings of Pfister staff members.
Bob Donovan Outrage Meter: 0
Musolff’s work is bright and accessible, so unless she surprises crowds with a series of upside-down crucifixes made from moldy cat food, the chances of Donovan bellowing “Wake up and smell the roses, and stay out of my district!” or storming off in a theatrical huff are slim to none. Stay classy, Bob!