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In the Galleries
Museum's Spicuzzas to go on block – plus other happenings.
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will hold its first auction in its Milwaukee location, 414 E. Mason St., April 14. The storefront location, opened late last year, has been filling up with consignments that will be auctioned on the spot. Last week, for the first time, the curtains remained up and the lights remained on in the gallery space, greatly enlivening the surroundings and showing off quite a diversity of artworks and decorative arts.

Of particular interest was a work that was clearly that of Francesco Spicuzza [1883-1963], the popular Milwaukee artist known for his impressionistic take on the community. This one, entitled “The Splash,” shows a typical Spicuzza scene – a bunch of bathers splashing in the lake – and rendered quite finely. Upon further examination, the painting, and two others in the gallery, bear tags indicating that they were from the “Estate of Margaret Hambling.” That would be the artist’s daughter, who willed her collection of her father’s work to the Milwaukee Art Museum upon her death in her 90s in 2010.

Apparently the museum is deaccessioning some or all of the painter’s works, including a very minor marketplace scene and a 1929 view of London. But “The Splashers” is something else again.

The notable date of “4/14,” which is also the area code for the good part of our community, will be the running of the Milwaukee Messenger Invitational X, an alley cat bicycle race through Downtown.

The Milwaukee Public Museum
apparently misjudged public demand when it contracted with the National Geographic Society and Arts and Exhibitions International to produce its current “Cleopatra: the Last Queen of Egypt” exhibition. According to a Journal Sentinel article entitled “Cleopatra exhibit doesn’t bring riches for Milwaukee Public Museum,” the museum lost $1.25 million due to large start-up costs for the exhibition, but hopes to recoup its costs and break even by the show’s April end.

Arts and Exhibitions International, which calls itself the “world’s preeminent museum exhibition producer” is a part of the AEG Group, which, with 18,000 employees, is the “largest owner of sports and entertainment venues and second largest producer of live experiences in the world.”

Yes, the company that gave us the “Best Buy Theater” in New York City, the “Hard Rock Hotel and Casino” and the “Colosseum at Caesars Palace” (both in Las Vegas, Nevada) gave us the Cleopatra show, for which Milwaukee is its third stop. The company also dabbles in King Tut, Vatican and Titanic shows.

The 2012 North American Hardcourt Bicycle Polo Championship will be held in Milwaukee’s Washington Park July 6-8, according to an announcement from the organization last week.

Jake Newborn
of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin says some 56 teams are expected to compete in the event, in which the winners advance to the World Championships to be held in Geneva. Newborn says he expects more than 200 people – likely more, once you count the polo groupies – to travel to the city for the activities. There won’t be an available sofa from Bay View to Riverwest that weekend. Milwaukee’s Beaver Boys were the world champions in the 2010 Berlin games. Perhaps the players can offer some demonstration matches at Red Arrow Park. More info on the Milwaukee Bike Polo blog.

There will be a sheriff’s sale, unless it is postponed again, Feb. 27 for 408 E. Wells St., one of the pair of identical buildings that flank the intersection with North Milwaukee Street, and also one of the few Downtown office buildings to go into foreclosure. The suit is brought by Wells Fargo against Milwaukee Wells Building Company, ℅ Joel Lee, who owns a number of Downtown buildings. This structure was leased for years to AT&T, which moved out in 2011.

 If you need a fireworks fix, head to the Italian Community Center this Saturday, Feb. 18, when they will be blasting for the 33rd-annual Il Grande Carnevale. This year’s theme is La Stella di Venezia – the stars of Venice.

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