The Milwaukee Art Museum is excited to introduce Spotlight Sessions, a virtual series featuring an artist or local luminary interpreting or responding to an artwork in the collection. This series captures the unique perspective an artist brings to either their own or another’s work of art, broadening the experience of a painting, sculpture, or other selected work. Over the next three years, six local and visiting artists will be featured in this series. Viewers will have a range of opportunities to learn about and engage with Spotlight Sessions, including on the website, through social media, and at in-person events.
The Spotlight Sessions inaugural performer is local artist and musician Klassik, who reflects on the painting Untitled Anxious Audience by Rashid Johnson. Klassik performed in response to Johnson’s work back in 2017, during the Museum’s opening of the Rashid Johnson: Hail We Now Sing Joy exhibition, and returns after, over the past five years, questioning and honing his approach to artistry, performance, and process. The result is “Nobody’s Watching,” an original composition written, produced, and performed by Klassik. Infused with meaning as layered as the sound itself, the work emanates Klassik’s desire to speak out about his challenges and about what he feels is real and right. At the heart of this creation lies a singular message: integrity. Reflecting on the anxiety of the pandemic, Klassik transforms that pain into an aspiration for all: act for the right reasons and not for the recognition.
“Call me a landscape painter who doesn’t use paint, but sound.”—Klassik
This mentality is one Klassik has been meditating on since his first interaction with Johnson’s work—a performance he credits with resuscitating his sense of purpose as an artist, reawakening his inner activist, and revealing new creative pathways. Interested in art from a young age, Klassik’s relationship with the Museum began in the Junior Docent School program. Today, Klassik sees the Museum as his place of solace and a source of inspiration.
Amy Kirschke is Director of Adult, Docent, and School Programs. She works with a team of educators and more than 150 volunteer docents to deliver tours and programs for 50,000 students and more than 5,000 adults each year. At the Museum, you’ll find her facilitating docent training, coordinating gallery talks, and slowing down to take a closer look at art during Slow Art Saturdays.
Spotlight Sessions is supported by funds from the Herzfeld Foundation, Daniel M. Soref Charitable Trust, and the Eugene & Ruth Freedman Family Foundation.