Sculpture Milwaukee brings world class art to Milwaukee again this year downtown, mostly along Wisconsin Avenue. Some sculptures from previous years are still on display, and this year’s collection features 12 new art that use a range of materials and come from divergent backgrounds.
The exhibition is completely outdoors and open 24/7.
Is It Kid-Friendly?
It can be! Wisconsin Avenue is a high-traffic area, and some sculptures are easier to navigate with kids in tow. To help families, MKE With Kids has identified an easy, short route to navigate Sculpture Milwaukee with kids, avoiding the high traffic areas.
To follow this route, park near O’Donnell Park and find The Calling sculpture (the big orange guy also known as “The Calling”).
Sculpture 1: “The Calling” (Mark di Suvero, 1982)
929 E. Wisconsin Ave., O’Donnell Park
Although not part of the official Sculpture Milwaukee exhibition, di Suvero’s sculpture, “The Calling” is still worth a visit. The orange-red, 40 feet tall steel statue is impossible to miss, and it resembles a rising sun. You’ll find it in O’Donnell Park.
Sculpture 2: Holiday Home (Richard Woods, 2019)
929 E. Wisconsin Ave., O’Donnell Park
From “The Calling”, head over to the quaint and cheery “Holiday Home”, also located in O’Donnell Park. British artist Richard Woods created the sculpture as a commentary on recent political and economic upheavals like Brexit. Home can symbolize success and stabilities, but when the home is placed in unusual places, like in the middle of a downtown park, it reminds us of instability and dangers in the world.
Sculpture #3: The Peo-ple Cried Mer-cy in the Storm (Allison Janae Hamilton, 2018)
910 E Michigan St.
Allison Janae Hamilton’s art blends land-centered folklore and personal family narratives, addressing land loss, environmental justice, climate change, and sustainability. “The peo-ple cried mer-cy in the storm” borrows its title from a line in “Florida Storm” a 1928 hymn written by Judge Jackson about the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926. The installation contemplates the ways that climate-related disasters expose existing social inequities.
Sculpture #4: Jim’s Head With Branches (Jim Dine, 2018)
875 E. Wisconsin Ave.
When you’re finished exploring the three sculptures in O’Donnell Park, head west on Wisconsin Avenue until you find “Jim’s Head with Branches”. The artist juxtaposes the modern “selfie” with this work that calls attention to an aging body and psyche. It is roughed up with scars. And the question remains: Are the branches real or imagined?
Sculpture #5: Cleft From The Series Dendrite
Northwestern Mutual (720 E. Wisconsin Ave.)
Cross Wisconsin Ave. and head towards the Northwestern Mutual Building. On the east end of the lawn, you’ll find a majestic silver tree. Artist Roxy Paine created a tree that is cut down the center to accommodate power lines, calling attention to how trees are connected to one another, and the unseen damage we do to ourselves and others. Installation requires underground concrete structures, two human lifts, welding equipment, a water tank, and it takes six people about five days to install it.
Art Museum Grounds:
Take the stairs down to the Art Museum grounds to view two additional sculptures that fun to view and traffic-free.
Monumental Holistic III (Betty Gold, 1979)
This sculpture by Betty Gold can be found outside of the Art Museum. It’s called Monumental Holistic III and was created in 1979. All of her outdoor pieces are constructed from welded steel.
LOVE (Robert Indiana)
Robert Indiana’s LOVE Sculpture was a part of Sculpture Milwaukee a few years ago, and is now a permanent installation outside of the Art Museum, looking out over Lake Michigan.
On The Way Home:
On the way home, drive down Wisconsin Avenue and take a look at the other sculptures on the way. Don’t miss downtown’s crown jewel, Gild The Lily!
Gild The Lily (Caribbean Hybrid I, II, III) (Carlos Rolón)
111 E. Wisconsin Ave
On your way home, drive past Chase Bank to see this colorful lobby installation by Carlos Rolón, known for bright, expressive, multi layered installations. He is a first generation Puerto Rican-American, and incorporates the architecture and design of the island in his art. He chose Chase Bank to act as a flame that attracts city dwellers to a key intersection.