I Am a Story: Self-Portraits is a fascinating art exhibition at The Warehouse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Featuring works by more than 50 world-renowned artists, each piece is individually intriguing while also part of the collection’s larger message.
Using mediums including paint, photography, ceramic, stone, glass and video, ranging from small to larger-than-life, the artists portrayed themselves as they saw fit. The pieces are either revealing or concealing, depending on the artist’s intent and probably the viewer’s perception. Either way, whether the observer seeks deeper meaning or merely enjoys the surface beauty, the exhibition is incredible.
The individual message and focus is identity. Each provides a connection from the artist to the viewer. The entire collection represents humanity. In this time, it is an especially poignant concept of individuals of all sorts existing together. It’s beautiful in physical form and intent.
The I Am a Story exhibit is free and open to the public at The Warehouse. Reservations and face masks are required and the management instituted guest limits and other measures to ensure the safety of all. The Warehouse is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Located in the West St. Paul Avenue Design District, The Warehouse showcases pieces from the owners’ collection of about 5,000 works. The Warehouse occupies the main floor of a 100-year-old, five-story building, with the other floors mostly used as storage for more fine art.
I admire the talent of the artists but also their courage. The intimacy of each self portrait is thought-provoking, almost hauntingly so. I wonder how they decided to portray themselves in each way. Is the piece the artist’s self-perception or the artist’s idea of others’ perception of the artist? I wonder how I would portray myself.
Milwaukee is a quick, easy drive from Chicago and one I should do more often. I always enjoy my trips across the northern border.
— John Wroblewski, online writer
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