Milwaukee Art Museum Director David Gordon added his voice to the "Bronz the Fonz" discssion, sending out a mass e-mail Thursday voicing his opposition to the privately-funded plan.
Substantially more subdued than yesterday's letter from gallery owner Mike Brenner, Gordon wrote:
Dear Milwaukee supporters and friends,
I would like to take this opportunity to state my reasons for opposing the installation of a Fonzie statue in Chase Plaza.
Everyone should be aware of the fact that the City has been working for several years on a public art project for Wisconsin Avenue, and after a careful process has identified an artist who promises some interesting, thought-provoking art.
The idea that this Fonzie statue will be installed without any review process other than public relations campaign along with possibly a sightline to the Di Suvero sculpture and the Milwaukee Art Museum is not a good one. I feel strongly that we should aspire to present groundbreaking quality public art, like Chicago and its Anish Kapoor sculpture Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. This large and ambitious sculpture, nicknamed "the bean", has won the hearts of the public, and it has become an icon of the city of Chicago with tremendous drawing power, attracting locals, tourists, and art aficionados alike.
Closer to home, our very own Milwaukee Art Museum stands as a testament to the transformative power that a work of art can have on a community. The bold and brave decision to build a museum that, in itself, is a unique work of kinetic art has brought international attention to our city.
My kids and I used to watch "Happy Days" (it was broadcast in England) and loved it but if Milwaukee's tourism boosters really think that creating a permanent souvenir to a fictional character set in the 1950s (but not actually filmed here) from a series that ended 23 years ago, and that looking backwards is the best way for Milwaukee to go forward, then so be it. Please reconsider and do not put these symbols of days past in one of the most prominent locations in the City.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.