Calvin Whitehurst

ARTIST

from

Milwaukee, WI

email: calvinwhitehurst@alumni.miad.edu



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Death Was Given to the Page

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We Can Keep Going Along With This Or We Could Just Stop.
       December 28th, 2013


        Milwaukee is just another city in the midwest, but it is also one of the most unique places in the world. The creatives that work here could either be considered pretty typical or some of the most thought provoking minds of our time. The artwork created here might be seen as an imitation of something seen elsewhere or could be seen as anything but conventional and iconic of our city. This is all I think of when I say the phrase “We can keep going along with this or we could just stop.”

The Bronze Fonz        The phrase is something I’ve been saying to myself for a few years now. I’ve been to art shows where I’ve seen paintings of sad, crying clowns looking back at me with solemn “death of art” frowns. I’ve seen plenty of photography which features meaningless architectural shots and individuals standing in their environment staring emotionless at the camera. I’ve seen countless “Smithesque” geometric, stainless steel sculptures that invade our public space with their nothingness. I’ve been to so many “Plein Air” painting events I swear I’ll never attend one again, if I can help it. I could go on and on with the list of things that make me say, “We can keep going along with this or we could just stop.”

       I’ve met some pretty amazing artists from Milwaukee that worked very hard and developed identities for themselves that were truly unique. Unfortunately some of them have left because they couldn’t seem to scratch out a living here. I’ve also seen some amazing artwork in some unconventional places here in Milwaukee. Artwork that was honest about who made it. Unfortunately not a lot of people ever found out about these things because they weren’t written about by those that should. I’ve also met people from around the United States that love the artwork being made right here in Milwaukee. They relish the mere opportunity to experience what happens here and yet the rest of the world doesn’t have much insight into what goes on here. It’s times like these that also make me say, “We can keep going along with this or we could just stop.”

Blue Shirt        The phrase itself seems to have a double meaning for me. There has been moments where it simply meant that we could either keep making terrible, dishonest artwork or just stop right now. Its easy to imitate others and use trends of the past as models for today’s art creation. Unfortunately this makes for extremely boring art and puts Milwaukee no where on the broader Art World map. We have things to say about ourselves that shouldn’t be stifled. We have real personalities that shouldn’t be hidden. We aren’t somewhere else either. We aren’t in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin, or Florence so therefore we don’t need to act like we are. We need to make ourselves vulnerable and the only way to do that is to truly be ourselves. We could keep going along with this or we could just stop. This phrase can also have the opposite meaning as well. We can keep making amazing art and promoting it or we could just show how pedestrian we are. There has been so many great galleries and events in Milwaukee that have come and went. There has been so many shining, bright moments that have made it seem as though this city had a promising future only to be sullied by how cliche we really can be. We can either keep that promise or let it fall through. We can keep going along with this or we could just stop.


Images via oddthingsiveseen.com and artnet.com. The text is property of Calvin Whitehurst