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An artist draws attention to the predicament, and enduring beauty, of the Great Lakes.

Alexis Rockman paints “natural-history psychedelia,” kaleidoscopic landscapes that bridge the past, present and future of human-environment interactions.

The New York-born artist’s research has taken him to Guyana, Tasmania, Madagascar, Antarctica and – in 2013 – the Great Lakes region. There he followed an itinerary set by the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) in Michigan, which initiated “The Great Lakes Cycle.” The resulting exhibition includes a suite of five mural-sized oil paintings, and other works, that meld science and art.

Alexis Rockman

photo courtesy of Alexis Rockman

Dana Friis-Hansen, director and CEO of GRAM, says the exhibition “addresses a global issue, localized in the Great Lakes.”

Rockman hopes that viewers walk away from the show with a deeper understanding of the importance of ecological thinking on a broad scale. “The Great Lakes are in trouble, but there is still time, and a lot worth saving,” he says.

The exhibit debuts at GRAM Jan. 28 and remains on view until Apr. 29. It travels to the Haggerty Museum of Art in February 2019 [editor’s note: the show is now slated to arrive at the Haggerty in spring of 2019].


‘Water World’ appears in the January 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning January 1, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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