The Calling – A Point of Debate

The Calling by sculptor Jeff di Suvero

‘The Calling’ by sculptor Jeff di Suvero © 2008

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.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Very strong image. Love the graphic quality. Nice!

  2. Great bit of orange. I love it.

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

  6. I like the reflection and the strong orange.

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