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The Personal is Political: MARTHA WILSON AND MKE

June 8 - July 14, 2013

Opening reception: Saturday, June 8, 6-9pm.

The Personal is Political: Martha Wilson and MKE will feature one room of Wilson’s recent work (2009 onward) and two rooms of local artists’ work. This exhibition is running concurrently with a historic survey of Martha Wilson’s work at The Institute of Visual Arts (inova).

Martha Wilson (b. 1947), a New York based artist, has spent the past 40 years exploring feminist practices. Beginning in the 1970s, working with photography, video and performance, her work has dealt with how human identity is shaped by cultural forces, power relationships, gender, and now, aging. She is best known as the founder of Franklin Furnace (1976), a non-profit space that gave alternative art practices a home.

Also exhibiting are: Laci Coppins, Paul Druecke, Skully Gustafson, Ashley Janke, Niki Johnson, Erik Moore, Joseph Mougel, Amy O’Neill, and Rafael Salas.

The local artists were asked to use the catalog, Martha Wilson Sourcebook, as inspiration for their own work. The catalog was prepared by the artist in conjunction with her touring retrospective (at Inova). The book was reviewed in the May 2013 Art News.

Sourcebook is a non-traditional publication that compiles essays, documents from her work, performance ephemera and assorted influential writings from the 1970s and 1980s. In either peripheral or direct ways, each artist was asked to attach some bit of text or thought from the Sourcebook to their work to create threads of interaction with the legacy of feminism.

Martha Wilson’s work in the Portrait Society exhibition is photo-based and uses role-playing and self-portraiture to explore themes of visibility and identity, and, in general, how the ‘personal is political.’ Wilson has stated that much of the early feminist theory has been dislodged from current ideologies.  The phrase, “The Personal is Political,” was a feminist slogan in the late 1960s and 1970s. It suggests that individual, small measures count; that the grass roots choices we make have larger ramifications. While this phrase is no longer associated with the feminist movement, its momentum has lead to recycling, commitments to organic food and local food sourcing, and resistance to fossil fuel consumption.


A larger historic survey of Martha Wilson’s work, organized by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, curated by Peter Dykhuis, and staged locally by Sara Krajewski (Inova director), will open on Friday, June 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Inova, The Institute of Visual Arts, 2155 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee, WI. It runs through August 11, 2013.

Martha Wilson will be present at both receptions. Portrait Society will also be presenting several performances during the opening as well as another manifestation of The Store, where un-conventional and extraordinary merchandise is created and made available for sale in conjunction with the exhibition. Storekeeper is MIAD printmaking major, Philip Gattuso.


On Tuesday, June 11 and Wednesday, June 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.,New York City food theorist and artist Ame Gilbert will stage “A Delectable Evening of Imperfection with Martha Wilson. 

Martha Wilson (founder of the NYC alternative space Franklin Furnace) will be in attendance at the Tuesday, June 11 dinner. The Wednesday, June 12 dinner will be a fund-raiser for AWE, Artists Working in Education.

Without giving too much away, the dinner will include three courses: a candle-lit first course called ‘imperfection manifestation;’ a second course called ‘transformation;’  and a third course called ‘reflection revelation.’

Each course relates to the work and ideas of  Martha Wilson and is theatrically staged in a different room of the gallery and served by a costumed wait staff.

Be prepared for an elegant, sumptuous, lively and thought-provoking evening.

20 seats are available for each night. Tickets are $50 for the June 11 dinner and $100 for the June 12th AWE fund raising event. Tickets can be ordered here.

In conjunction with this dinner event,  artist Paul Druecke has organized a scholarship program.

Ame Gilbert


Progressive   Liberating   Wit   Reform   Deliberate   Equal

project by Paul Druecke

You are invited to nominate someone for the Livija Patikne Scholarship. Two winners and their guests will receive VIP admission to the June 11 spectacular dinner gala, created by culinary artist Ame Gilbert, in honor of renown artist/feminist Martha Wilson. Martha will be in attendance for the dinner, June 11th, 2013 at the Portrait Society Gallery. Winner will be announced by 5 pm on June 9th.

We will consider all nominations be they earnest, funny, male, female, clever, irreverent, militant, queer, straight, etc. Tell us, in 25 words of less, how your nominee approaches the ongoing battle for progressive liberating wit reform deliberate equal—in any order or combination. Imaginative and novel associations are a plus. The Livija Patikne Scholarship is an equal opportunity award.

Nominations are accepted via email, and at Portrait Society gallery through June 8th. If submitting via email, please use the format of the nomination form below and enter the information in the body of the email.

(About Ame Gilbert:  Ame Gilbert works at the intersection of food and art. She has a BFA from Cooper Union in NYC, culinary training from The New York Restaurant School and a MLS from UWM where she wrote a cookbook for her thesis that left professors in Art, Gender Studies and History wondering how they were supposed to critique a collection of recipes.  Ame has taught at Parsons School of Design—a home spun class called Food is Art that had students cooking dinner in the art studio, and she hosts, cooks and curates for several salons that bring artists, writers, and thinkers to the table to share great food and delicious ideas. Ame is a curator for the Umami Food and Art Festival, has guest edited a food issue for W.W.3 Illustrated, has been published In Gastronomica and the Best Food Writing 2007, and has been a guest on American Public Radio, and Heritage Radio Network’s Food Seen program.)


Review, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Graeme Reid

Review, Shepherd Express, Judith Ann Moriarty

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