A Social Forever

Elk_141012_1634_00034A SOCIAL FOREVER: Art Elkon

September 9 through November 6, 2016
Reception: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, September 9
Interview: Good Morning, Milwaukee, Blyth Renate Meier
Radio interview: Blyth Renate Meier, WUWM
Review, A Social Forever, Art Elkon: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gallery Night is October 21.

NEW ON-LINE store: You can now purchase prints from this exhibition on-line.

SPECIAL EVENT: Wednesday, October 26, 6 to 8 p.m. An evening with architect Jim Shields in conversation with artist Blyth Renate Meier. Drinks, food, free parking, half-off first purchase of Good Morning, Milwaukee print. Tickets here

Portrait Society is pleased to present three new photo-based exhibitions for its fall lineup.

Each of the three shows brings material form to projects that were not originally intended for gallery walls. Art Elkon’s pictures were disseminated and became popular on Facebook. Blyth Renate Meier’s black and white architectural photos made daily appearances on Instagram, and Tom Kutchera’s vintage portraits of his Empire Fish company workers were meant for a photo album.

20140906-DSCF1268-41Art Elkon was a beloved Milwaukee figure who was a constant presence on the art and music scenes, routinely taking pictures at art openings and other events and then posting files of images the next morning on Facebook.  Almost a parallel to Bill Cunningham, the famous street photographer in New York City, Elkon was a genial, smiling presence who kept an astute watchful eye on social gatherings.  He died of cancer on August 17,  2015 at the age of 58. This exhibition honors Elkon’s legacy and represents the first time most of these images have been printed and made available beyond social networks.

Elk_101215_6473_04901-8Art Elkon grew up in Milwaukee. He attended University School and then the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked for an advertising agency, but spent his lunch hours, nights and weekends “on duty” as a self-appointed social documentarian and visual historian.

(Special thanks to Jon Prown, Chipstone Foundation; Tony Nickalls, Portrait Society; Aideen Brown, intern; and Art Elkon’s family).

Blyth Renate Meier: Good Morning, Milwaukee

Reception: September 9

Blyth Renate Meier has been taking a daily, black and white photograph of Milwaukee buildings for several years and posting them on Instagram. Square format, these images offer a play of gray scale tonalities and geometric pattern. They appear both timeless and timely. Now totaling more than 1000 images, Meier’s project has grown into something substantial. This exhibition marks the first time these images have been printed and presented in material form.

Meier, who was born in Milwaukee but raised in North Dakota, has lived in Milwaukee for about 20 years. She earned master’s degrees in art and film at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is also the co-host of a radio show about film, “The Tiny Film Invasion” on WMSE (FM 91.7) on Thursdays at noon.

Fish Empire, KutcheraThe Faces of a Fish Empire, curated by Naomi Shersty

Opening Reception: Friday, September 2 (Project Space)
Review: On-Milwaukee

Former Empire Fish Company owner and amateur photographer, Tom Kutchera, created this unique collection of employee portraits over a period of 30 years starting in the 1960s. Preserved in family photo albums, these photographs capture intimate portraits that honor the individuals who fed Milwaukee and supplied numerous Friday Night Fish Fries – a Midwestern staple. Through a humanitarian lens, Kutchera’s portraits celebrate those who don’t often get commemorated: the production workers behind the scenes. Contemporary photographer Naomi Shersty curates the exhibit.

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