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‘Faces of a Fish Empire: Portraits by Tom Kutchera’

Photography from the man behind Milwaukee’s fish fries

Aug. 30, 2016
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A recent move from Riverwest to Bay View has changed my perspective as a Milwaukeean. Excepting Kilbourn Park, Riverwest offers few views beyond itself. Bay View, on the other hand, commands expansive views of the city. Planes regularly roar overhead. Driving I-794 reminds one of the industrial past and present that employs many of our neighbors. Riverwest is a neighborhood par excellence but one never feels so much like a Milwaukeean as when in Bay View.

“Faces of a Fish Empire: Portraits by Tom Kutchera” grants a similar shift in perspective, reminding viewers of what we otherwise overlook. The exhibition posthumously collects portraits of Empire Fish Company employees by former owner Tom Kutchera (1932-2016). From the 1960s through his retirement in 1995, Kutchera brought his Leica 35-millimeter camera to work to record the faces of the men and women who supplied the fare of countless Milwaukee Friday fish fries. Kutchera’s candids also capture the fashions du jour embodied in the outfits, hairstyles and glasses favored by the employees. To the empathic viewer the portraits offer insight into the employee-employer relationship and suggest an uncommonly caring bond. “Faces of a Fish Empire: Portraits by Tom Kutchera” opens with a reception at Portrait Society Gallery (207 E. Buffalo St., Suite 526) from 5-8 p.m. on Sept. 2.

Third Ward Art Festival

Broadway between St. Paul Avenue and Menomonee Street 

The fifth annual Third Ward Art Festival showcases more than 140 artists—36 of whom are Wisconsinites—working in a variety of media including painting, photography, printmaking, ceramics, fiber art, sculpture, jewelry, wood work and furniture. The family-friendly event features far more than art for purchase and appreciation; for instance, kids can play art fest bingo and make spin art. These offerings and more will be enjoyed to the dulcet sounds of Parisian singer Michelet and guitar duo Patchouli. The Third Ward Art Festival takes place Sept. 3-4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Form Follows Function: The Intersection of Art and Craft”

Hardy Gallery

3083 Anderson Lane, Ephraim

“Form Follows Function: The Intersection of Art and Craft” finds more than 30 local and regional artists adapting ideas drawn from the Bauhaus, an interwar German movement in art and design that emphasized the priority of an object’s intended use over its mere formal characteristics. Stated differently, these artists focus on the beauty that is inherent in craft. The exhibition opens with a reception from 5:30-7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, and runs through Oct. 9.


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