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Cedar Block opens "The Ramirez Box" at MAM

The creative minds at Cedar Block are at it again.

From the folks who have three times tuned us into mad scientists at Weird Science I, II and III -- science fairs for adults -- as well as teamed up with the Milwaukee Art Museum for special art events such as "Bruce Nauman 101," "Milwaukee Street, Milwaukee" and most recently, "Three Degrees of Francis Bacon," comes an artful affair associated with the museum's current "Martin Ramirez" exhibition.

Although MAM's exhibit runs through Jan. 13, Cedar Block's "The Ramirez Box" is one-night only, this Friday, Nov. 30, from 8 p.m. to midnight. In a sense, the evening is a tribute to the self-taught artist who was diagnosed with manic depression and schizophrenia and spent the last 30 years of his life in psychiatric hospitals until he died in 1963.

Of course, all throughout his commitment he still made art -- tons of art -- even with what few supplies he had access to.

Inspired by Ramirez's ingenuity as an artist, Brent Gohde, director of Cedar Block, compiled 30 "Ramirez Boxes" and distributed them to local artists. Their mission was to create new works of art from what was provided inside. The results make up Friday night's exhibit.

"We limited the artists to what we thought might be accessible to someone in Ramírez's situation today," says Gohde. He says each artist received some markers, crayons or colored pencils, though no person got a full set of anything.

Artists scheduled to participate include a mix of familiar participants from past Cedar Block events, as well as new faces. Expect to see works by Charles Dwyer, Beth Bojarski, Mutope J. Johnson, Faythe Levine, Andrew Swant & Bobby Ciraldo, Della Wells, Steve Somers, Mark Winter, John Riepenhoff, Paul Kjelland, Joy Harmon, and others.

And for those of you who got "Baconized" at "Three Degrees of Francis Bacon," you'll be happy to hear that "The Baconizer" creators, M. Neuman and M. Falk, are back with "The Ramirezone." That's all we're gonna say.


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