John Shannon is one of those people who takes Daniel Burnham’s famous urging to “make no little plans,” to heart.
Shannon, who with his wife, artist Jan Serr, owns Guardian Fine Art Services wasn’t content to just build a secure art storage facility in the Menomonee Valley.
He had to also open an art museum/gallery in the space, called The Warehouse.
And hire a curator.
And stage an exhibition of works by no less than acclaimed South African artist William Kentridge.
No, Shannon also decided to put together an entire Kentridge Arts Festival. And bring Kentridge to Milwaukee. And commission a song cycle by Kentridge’s sister Eliza.
Well, you can see where this is going.
“William Kentridge: See for Yourself,” with drawings, paintings, prints, sculpture and animated films, runs through Dec. 16 at the museum, 1635 W. St Paul Ave., where admission is always free.
The show is guest curated by Melanie Herzog with works – many never before exhibited – from The Warehouse’s private collection.
Then, before heading off to Los Angeles and Miami, Kentridge himself will appear in Milwaukee at a number of events as part of the festival.
On Nov. 7, he will take part in open rehearsals at the Broadway Theater Center for three plays presented by The Centre for the Less Good Idea, a Johannesburg-based group founded by Kentridge and Bronwyn Lace in 2016, in partnership with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.
The Centre is making its U.S. performance debut here.
Then at 5 p.m. on Nov. 8, Kentridge will give a talk titled “Finding the Less Good Idea,” which will highlight his art practice and the philosophies behind his art organizations.
In 2018, MAM hosted a 14-minute projected installation that incorporates drawing, stop-motion animation, video, music, dance and drama (all on-screen), which you can read about here.
Among the numerous other festival events are two panel discussions on Apartheid on Oct. 29 and Nov. 11.
Present Music will perform a “cine concert” combining rarely seen Kentridge animations and installations at the Milwaukee Art Museum, that will include the world premiere of new arrangements by South African composer and longtime Kentridge collaborator Philip Miller, performed live by Present Music.
It is during this performance that the Miller-composed song cycle based on Eliza Kentridge’s poems will be performed by Present Music and South African opera singers Ann Masina and Tshegofatso Moeng.
And, because there are no small plans, made, both Miller and Eliza Kentridge will be in Milwaukee, too, to take part in a pre-concert conversation in Lubar Hall at Milwaukee Art Museum.
You can find the complete Kentridge Art Festival schedule and details at WAMmke.org/programming.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.