Make Your Own History is a group exhibition of 15 emerging artists that uses the historic Blatz Building (a former beer brewing facility) as both a subject and location for narrative experimentation. Responding to the transitional state of the space, as well as how the site symbolizes Milwaukee’s own shifting identity, these artists have created site-specific works and interventions that complicate and challenge how history gets told and remembered.
For this exhibition A. Bill Miller and I are collaborating on a project titled Beer Barons & Brewery Workers.
Here is a video segment of the animated portraits we are working on for the installation:
From our statement:
The Project Beer Barons & Brewery Workers creates a dialog across the history of the brewing industry in Milwaukee. Animated portraits of beer barons from the era of the rise of the brewing industry interact with archival text about the 1953 brewery strike, a strike that anticipated the decline of the brewing industry in Milwaukee. The subtle and humorous animated gestures engage both the viewer and the texts shedding light on these important historical events. These two historical points become bookends to a history that is still very much a part of the fabric and character of the city of Milwaukee.
Along with the animations a site-specific drawing in the exhibition space weaves the portraits and texts in an abstract and fragmented way around a column and the floor of the installation space. This intertwining of these disparate events within the Blatz building is a physical representation of how these two events are inextricably linked to the history of this building, as well as to the larger history of the Milwaukee brewing industry.
Below are some examples of the portraits we have been animating.
I will post more information on the exhibition soon.