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August 25, 2008 / Bo Mackison

The Calling – A Point of Debate

The Calling by sculptor Jeff di Suvero

'The Calling' by sculptor Jeff di Suvero

Another one of my visits to Milwaukee produced some photos of one of the cities’ main and oldest streets, Wisconsin Avenue. This huge sculpture is at the top of the street near Lake Michigan, and across the street from the Milwaukee Art Museum.  When it was erected by American sculptor Mark di Suvero in 1982, it overlooked the street and set off a nearby blue building , and of course, complemented the blue/green shadings of Lake Michigan.

Since the addition of the Santiago Calatrava’s addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2001, opponents have occasionally requested that the steel orange sculpture be re-located. Critics claim ‘The Calling’  – which most Milwaukeeans refer to as ‘The Sunburst’ – blocks the view of Calatrava’s movable winged ‘architectural sculpture.’  Some suggest that the industrial sculpture be moved to a sculpture garden on the museum’s site. Others even recommend its movement further east – about 500 feet further east – which would drop it square under the surface of Lake Michigan! Still others advocate leaving it as it is. Here is a view of the entire sculpture and a panoramic view of the sculpture and the downtown buildings overlooking the lake.

Such is the life of a piece of public street art – always up for a strongly contested and opinionated debate. And that is good. People are looking, evaluating, thinking about the art they see in their environment. They are making an effort to decide if they like individual pieces, choosing if what they see they consider art – which is entirely within their rights.

People debating art.Seems like a good thing to me.


  1. Marcie / Aug 27 2008 11:43 am

    Very strong image. Love the graphic quality. Nice!

  2. Amelia / Aug 28 2008 9:07 am

    Great bit of orange. I love it.

  3. Anna Surface / Aug 28 2008 9:41 am

    I like the strong orange burst, and I enjoyed the photo above as well as the other photos full view. Art is always a good debate. 🙂

  4. Robin / Aug 28 2008 10:57 am

    I like this image. Very nice.

    I also enjoyed being able to see the full views. I agree with you — debating art is a good thing. 🙂

  5. Gandalf / Aug 28 2008 3:01 pm

    Very interesting debate. The discussion is one of the reasons for art.

  6. Amelia / Sep 6 2008 11:59 am

    I like the reflection and the strong orange.

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