Back in January, after my New Year’s resolutions slowly faded from memory, I was itching to begin a project, one that entailed new and exciting territory. Subsequently, in the past few months I was thinking about the collectiveness within the art community in Milwaukee, and what I could do to further facilitate it. I decided to embark on a curatorial quest, the perimeters in which were restricted to only a quick, pop-up show. It was at the Portrait Society Gallery, one of Milwaukee’s prime gallery spaces known for its fun and fresh art events, that I pitched 23 Pineapples.
My catalogue of pineapple images noted over the years had become extensive, and I was interested in creating a physical space for the images to live in. 23 Pineapples began simply as an appreciation for the king fruit. It celebrated color, humor, and design, incorporating photographers from all trades and backgrounds, varying from local to international. It was after the initial pitch that the show became a charitable venture, a food drive of sorts, in which portions of the sales would benefit Milwaukee’s Hunger Task Force. 23 Pineapples, conceived as just a mere chuckle, grew to speak deeper about the pineapple’s historical symbolism for wealth, and seriousness of hunger in our community.
I am very grateful to Debra Brehmer, Director of Portrait Society Gallery, for allowing me to install the work in her project gallery space. If you are in the Milwaukee area, 23 Pineapples runs from April 1st to April 15th.
The Portrait Society Gallery is a contemporary art gallery devoted to the issues surrounding the genre of portraiture. Established in 2008, the gallery showcases both current and historic artists who work broadly and loosely with the ideas of portrait traditions. The gallery also represents artists for commissions. Portrait Society is interested in project driven bodies of work that explore the concepts and ideas of making art about identity, presence, social interaction and community. The gallery seeks to expand the ways in which art is shown, inspire contact and dialog, and foster a sense of community within its orbit. The portrait is, by nature, a transactional exchange between two or more human beings. It is the only art form that depends on this kind of intimacy.
The Hunger Task Force – Milwaukee: Locally founded, locally funded and locally run, for nearly 40 years they have been feeding Milwaukee. They’ve been a voice for the hungry, promoting socially sound policies that could end hunger in the community. The Hunger Task Force was founded in 1974 by a group of concerned parents worried about children going to school hungry. Then, in 1977, they responded to community need by opening a food bank to distribute free food to local charities that feed the hungry.
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