Bay View Gallery Night was, unexpectedly, the epitome of "Looking For Art In All the Wrong Places." Before I went, I was trying and failing to make a game plan for what I should actually go and see at the event. When I asked a reliable source what would be a good starting point, I was told that there are actually very few galleries in Bay View, and that most of the art would be displayed in restaurants, coffee shops, etc.
I was really tired, and this seemed like a lot of work. Not to mention the drive over to Bay View (ugh I sound like a Milwaukeean already). But the alternative was sitting at home watching stupid TV and attempting to sleep while the evidently nocturnal mammals that recently moved in above me engage in their nightly stomping rituals.
So me and my two friends Elena and Deborah made the journey over to Bay View. As promised, it was a bit of a chore to locate any actual art. The first place we stopped at that had a true display was The Ink Spot Tattoo on Kinnickinnic. Elena and I were interested in the shop because they were advertising $40 flash tattoos. What better way to spend a Friday night than getting a spontaneous tattoo, right? After viewing tattoo options however, we opted out:
Nothing against Bay View or mustaches, but, neither one of us felt emotionally invested in sporting one of these tats forever. The Ink Spot also had a variety of art pieces on display. My favorite was Works in Fabric & Thread by Matthias Jerome Weisensel:
Not only were these pieces whimsical and charming, but Matthias himself was adorned with a killer mustache that was highly reminiscent of the one in the upper lefthand corner of the picture of tattoos above. I wanted to ask if I could take a picture of his face, but I thought somehow that taking a picture of his art was a more flattering proposition.
After the tattoo shop, we got distracted by ice cream.
Babes Ice Cream. (Pictured flavor: ZOREO).
Babes provided us with some much needed revitalization, as it was a hot and muggy Midwestern night, and we still had a lot of ground to cover. The next gallery I wanted to visit was Keith Nelson's Usable Space, which was described as being "off the beaten path." An accurate description. As we made our way down Kinnickinnic in the opposite direction of the bulk of the activity, we were enchanted by the pale industrial forest that grew up around us:
The further we walked the louder we could hear the sound of a band clanging from some mysterious abyss above our heads. I was slightly nervous that I was leading the group to a general abyss and perhaps to a sketchy warehouse where we could potentially get murdered, but finally, and in one piece, we reached the gallery.
What I immediately liked about the space was that it still felt like it was a part of an old building that once served an alternative purpose. If you notice in the first picture above, part of a stone wall is still visible underneath the contrived white gallery walls. I have no idea if this was intentional or not, but it made the gallery feel more abrasive and rough than a conventional gallery space. As I discovered, there was more organic space waiting outside.
Kristina Rolander, Missing You
I could still hear the band practicing in the distance. In view beyond the piece was yet another industrial relic. Although we were boxed in on our left and right sides, a slight breeze made its way from above to rustle the hanging letters, and in the dusky light they swung back and forth above our heads. Upon closer inspection, there were tags on the wall displaying the private longings of previous gallery goers:
Dad- I miss looking at maps with you.
If only you could have seen Google Maps. S.
I wrote one myself. Between you, me, and the wall, I missed my cat. Missing You is part of a larger project called "The You Are Not Alone Project" which I am not familiar with but can be viewed on Instagram at #theyouarenotaloneproject. The best part of this exhibition was sitting around and hanging out underneath it. Maybe it was just the atmosphere of good people and a good night, but I would describe this as one of the most pleasant art viewing experiences that I have had in awhile. It was hard to pull away from the hypnosis of the gently swaying letters, but we were compelled to visit a few more spots on the route including one called Palomino Bar.
Palomino was our last stop, and well worth it. At the back of the bar, there was a booth, and although I am still not entirely sure what happened inside of the booth, I had a good time sticking my head inside of it for about 5 minutes.
Outside the booth
Inside the booth
I ended up sticking my head in with a guy I did not know named Vincent, who, according to the two ladies pictured above, was my future husband. I'm fairly certain the candle-lit conversation we had was recorded, and additionally, the ladies provided me with documentation of my handsome husband-to-be:
The piece was called, "An Incredibly Awkward Evening With the Wild Wild Midwest Variety Show." Although I got engaged to a stranger, I didn't think that the piece overall was very awkward, but maybe that's because I ended up getting a free beer from my new hubby. Nothing awkward about that!
With the completion of the beer and an overall good feeling, we made our way back to the car, back over the bridge, and back home to the cat, who greeted us with sleepy winks.