Dressing the Monument: A Reading by David Robbins and a Video Program

November 12, 2011 - 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Free to members or with admission to the sculpture garden.

David Robbins
Open-Air Writing Desk
Fabricated by American Fantasy Classics, Milwaukee
Wood, camping chair
Open-Air Writing Desk

With this video we invite you to spend a Saturday afternoon at Lynden considering our current exhibition, Inside/Outside: Dressing the Monument. The afternoon might begin with a visit to the gallery and a stroll around the grounds (we open at noon). At 3 pm, and weather permitting, David Robbins will seat himself at his Open-Air Writing Desk near the eastern end of the Big Lake and read from an essay about the evolving nature of adventure. The reading will be followed by hot cider, cookies and a video program featuring The First Shot is Silent by Stephen Wetzel. The program takes an idiosyncratic look at sculpture, monumentality, and nature. It contains some contemporary work and some historical gems.

Begin your adventure here:
The County Line, 2011

(video, 15:00)
Click here to play.

The County Line is the first video in David Robbins’s The Lift Trilogy (2006-2011), which project, now completed, chronicles in video, paintings, and sculpture the artist’s evolving interactions with Milwaukee personal trainer Joshua Van Schaick. The County Line depicts the two men, strangers at the start of the project, embarking on a journey into the landscape--psychological, emotional, symbolic--born of their collaboration. From the artist’s early project notes:

Every person represents a path. The initial contact opens onto a wilderness, a new terrain, which the two of you subsequently map together. Together Josh and I arrive at a place that neither of us can get to on our own. What is that place? It has adventure in it, and wilderness, the unknown... It is the renewable wilderness, manifested as "culture" or "art." Together we pack up the camera and the microphone and set off into this renewable wilderness, as though on a camping weekend. And, like any foray into nature, a certain amount of bravery is involved. We don't know what's ahead. We're relying on each other's strengths, trusting each other. Will we get lost in the woods or discover clearings? What will guide us? The wildness inherent to any human being is the only sure thing....

The County Line’s theme parallels that announced by Robbins’s Open-Air Writing Desk, his sculpture contribution to Dressing the Monument, installed at Lynden through November 27, 2011.

And here's a taste of what will be on the physical (as opposed to virtual) video program:
The First Shot is Silent
2010, 15 minutes, SDV
by Stephen Wetzel

The First Shot is Silent is a video about the commemoration of a once-thriving fishing village, now bulldozed into an industrial corridor.

“I did some easy digging and got in contact with Jim Kupferschmidt, organizer of a yearly picnic for 19th- and 20th-century descendents of Jones Island. He’s going to put me in contact with a 95-year-old woman who drives from Green Bay every year for the event. She lived on the island, which, by its present manifestation, is unbelievable. It’s hard to imagine that just 70 or so years ago this site of salt pyramids, abandoned railroad tracks, gravel pits, domes full of God-knows-what and a stream of trucks and shipping containers was a thriving community of people. It’s equally disorienting to look at one’s own floor, one’s own foundation, one’s own block, and recognize its recent history, understand its own place in the design of bad sleepers, and in the worst cases, development through nightmare.”

Stephen Wetzel is an artist and experimental documentarian living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This past year Wetzel had group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Hyde Park Arts Center in Chicago, the Institute of Visual Arts in Milwaukee and, in March of 2010, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, where he won a Jury Award.

Wetzel is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Film at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the former Education Department Coordinator at MATA Community Media.

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