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Jan. 31, 2017
As part of a museum-wide exhibition series focusing on consumerism, the Haggerty Museum of Art presents “Aesthetic Afterlife,” featuring Wisconsin artists William Andersen, Jason Ramey, Heather McCalla, Niki Johnson, Hongtao Zhou and Yevgeniya Kaganovich. Incorporating discarded or donated objects, the works raise numerous questions about globalization, the environmental impact of consumerism and the psychology of materialism. Andersen’s Mi er wa qi (Milwaukee in pinyin Chinese) converts Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation hand tools into artworks through elaborate blue-and-white chinoiserie over-painting.
This painting style—drawn from ancient Chinese pottery and appropriated by Europeans in the 17th century—points to the long history of cultural fusion, the United States’ ever-growing reliance on China for cheap labor, and the tension between the triumphs and tragedies of globalization.