Arts & Culture
1:11 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Why Is There a Smashed Car Outside the Milwaukee Art Museum?

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich interviews artist Dirk Skreber and exhibit curator Margaret Andera.
Dirk Skreber's "Untitled" (2009) at an installation at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles
Credit Milwaukee Art Museum

If you’ve walked along the lakefront by the Milwaukee Art Museum recently, you may have seen a new sculpture and done a double-take.

The piece features a compact car – a really compact car, as it’s smashed up and wrapped around a pole. The installation is part of an exhibit opening today at the museum, called Currents 36: Dirk Skreber.

The exhibit features nine paintings by the German-born Skreber, each featuring an image that is both aesthetically beautiful and also catastrophic – from an overturned and burned-out camper, to foreboding images of a scuba diver holding a weapon.

"For me, it’s all so abstract and just material and I think in different ways, about...of course, I know it’s a car, but at some point, it is not really a car anymore," Skreber says.

The exhibit also features the American museum debut of his 2012 video, Turgidity, which depicts the destruction of a car in slow motion.

The museum's Margaret Andera curated the exhibit, which runs through the beginning of March.