“Educated Rustic: Painting, Poetry, and Sculpture by Phillip Schultz” at the Kenosha Public Museum through November 27, 2016

Please attend the opening reception for “Educated Rustic: Painting, Poetry, and Sculpture by Phillip Schultz” at the Kenosha Art Museum, Friday October 21 from 6-8pm. As guest curator of the exhibition, I will present an informal gallery talk during this event and Phil Schultz will there to answer questions.


Phil Schultz is a remarkable man. He grew up in Racine, WI during the 1950s and, like many of us, attended high school and college. His life changed in 1979 when a back injury, and his already diagnosed  paranoid schizophrenia, disabled him.  After having worked in factories in Racine and in the jewelry business in Milwaukee, Schultz now found himself “physically and mentally handicapped and on welfare and eventually Social Security Disability.” These programs kept him alive, but also kept him in poverty.

During his convalescence Schultz, who had studied art in college, took up painting because, as he says, “there wasn’t much else I could do.”  For over twenty years he has lived in a small one-bedroom apartment in a run down house on College Avenue in Racine. Over time, he converted the unheated attic into a painting studio. Here he has produced hundreds of paintings, working with oil on cheap particleboard, and then fitting each into a handmade frame decorated with cut up mini blinds, bits of carpeting, and smashed pop cans collected from the garbage in his back alley. In the musty basement, Schultz set up a welding bench where he forms abstract figures from scraps of steel and builds molds for his cast bronzes.

Schultz is a thinking man, prone to philosophical and poetic contemplation. Since the mid 1980s, he has written one sonnet a day which he files in spiral binders and sometimes shares with friends or presents at local poetry readings. He says that his poems “aren’t any good,” but I disagree. Schultz’s daily efforts to communicate his feelings are a rare record of a life largely shaped by poverty, pain, and despair. In fact, we might not be able to bear to read Schultz’s poetry, if it were not for the joyfulness and compassion articulated in his painting and sculpture.

Patricia Briggs, October 2016

  • Also opening on the same night at KPM is “Monsters, Mutants and Madmen: Science Fiction Movie Posters of the Drive-In Era.”
  • This event is free and open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served.



Milwaukee Art Museum | Pressroom: “Veterans Book Project” exhibition April 4-September 2, 2013

Milwaukee Art Museum | Pressroom.

Readers of “Scene Unseen” have seen numerous posts about Monica Haller’s Veterans Book Project (VBP) over the past few years. I am happy to report that the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) is exhibiting the project this season. The entire  VBP library will be on view at MAM April 4-September 2, 2013, with the opening Thursday, April 4, 5–8 pm. Because I have organized exhibitions of the VBP and assisted with VBP workshops I have been invited to be a panelists discussing the project along side artist Monica Haller and  local authors April 4 at 6:15pm.

In my view the VBP is one of the most important artworks of the decade.  It is a library of 52 books authored by veterans, family members of veterans or refugees with first hand experience of American led wars. These books were created in workshops Haller facilitated across the country over the past four years. She worked with local Racine and Kenosha veterans in a workshop sponsored by UW-Parkside Galleries last winter and this this year she finalized the library with a workshop sponsored by Milwaukee Art Museum.

Wisconsin veterans have played a big role in this project – please pass the word about the MAM exhibition to veterans and others who would like to know more than they can read in the newspaper about war and its impact from people with first hand experience of it.

Too see online versions of books written by area veterans look for these names when you visit the VBP  library online:

Mike Jackson's book cover.

Mike Jackson’s book cover.

Mick Jackson bio page.

Mike Jackson bio page.

Page from Mike Jackson's book. Mike is a Milwaukee veteran.

Page from Mike Jackson’s book. Mike is a Milwaukee veteran.

Zack LaPorte's book cover.  Zack is a Milwaukee veteran.

Zack LaPorte’s book cover. Zack is a Milwaukee veteran.

Zack Laporte's bio page.

Zack Laporte’s bio page.

Nick's book cover. Kenosha veteran.

Nick’s book cover. Kenosha veteran.

Nick's bio page.

Nick’s bio page.

Spread from Nick's book.

Spread from Nick’s book.

Katinka's book cover. Kantinka is a scholar working with veterans.

Katinka’s book cover. Kantinka is a scholar working with veterans.

A spread from Katoinka's book. A spread from Katoinka’s book.

Katina's bio page.

Katina’s bio page.

Briggs is leading a discussion of the Veterans Book Project at Racine Arts Council this Saturday April 14 at noon-1:00pm.

I will be giving a talk at Racine Arts Council (RAC) ArtSpace Gallery this Saturday April 14th from noon-1:00pm. I’ve been following the progress of the Veterans Book Project for a number of years and have assisted artist Monica Haller in book-making workshops with veterans around the country. I will lead a discussion of the Veterans Book Project (which is ON VIEW in the space)and share my experience working with the project. Free and open to the public. Please attend and please spread the word. I really hope to see some of you there. The books are amazing and 5 of them were produced by local veterans.

LOCATION:  316 6th Street, Racine, WI 53403. It’s very close to RAM.

TIME: noon-1pm on Sat April 14th.

More info on veterans book project.

Greg Berg’s “Morning Show” on WGTD at 8am today: Veterans Book Project artist, Monica Haller and curator, Patricia Briggs

Listen in this morning to Greg Berg’s WGTD Morning Show 91.1 FM to hear Monica Haller and Patricia Briggs discuss the UW-Parkside Veterans Book Project workshop  (currently taking place) and exhibition (coming March 27th).

I’m a Celebrity Bartender!

Come to Envie, the very cool new nightclub and restaurant, on Main Street in downtown Racine on November 3rd from 7-9 pm to support “Get Behind the Arts Studio Tour.” I am teaming up with artist David Holmes, gallery director and artist Melanie Hovey and Mayor John Dickert to help raise a little cash to support this really great spring-time open studio event.


This should be really fun!

I’m presenting a talk at RAM Thursday night.

Looking at Conceptual Art: What Makes it Art?
It is often said that the meaning of art is unchanging and timeless, but is that so? Patricia Briggs will review the changing definition of art focusing on the contemporary moment, a time when conceptual artists seek to understand the forces that shape the world rather than presenting beautiful forms or personal expressions of feeling.
Racine Art Guild program being held Thurs., Oct. 13, 6:30 pm at Racine Art Museum. Free to the public. Limited Seating Call 262-818-8228.

The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists (book review)

See my book review of Michelle Grabner and Jane Jacob (eds.) The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists (University of Chicago Press: 2010) published in Rain Taxi: Review of Books. Click on the picture below.