See for yourself: The Warehouse Art Museum opens exhibition of William Kentridge works

See for yourself: The Warehouse Art Museum opens exhibition of William Kentridge works

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A special new exhibition is now taking over The Warehouse Art Museum in Milwaukee.

"He is one of the major artists in the world today. People compare him to Picasso, to DaVinci, in terms of his expertise, his inventiveness, his sense of humor," recounted John Shannon, an art collector and founder of Milwaukee's Warehouse Art Museum on the works of William Kentridge.

Kentridge was born in 1955 in South Africa and has come to be known for his work across different mediums.

"We have work that you can't see anywhere else," said Shannon who along with his wife maintain the city's only independent contemporary museum.

"We have well over 100 pieces by Kentridge. There are 97 in the exhibition. All of the pieces except one are from our collection," said Shannon.

The exhibition aptly named See for Yourself spans decades of art through several platforms.

"There are things that are very old, artists will sometimes tack things up that they did many years ago, but there are also pieces in the show that were made in 2022," said Shannon.

Kentridge grew up in South Africa among strict Apartheid law. His parents were both lawyers dealing with high profile cases like that of the country's former president Nelson Mandela.

"His sense of justice, of injustice, was something that he grew up and lived with," Said Shannon.

That's what Shannon says drew him to Kentridge's art, his reflection of struggle and humanity.

"There's an expression that he has: making art, making meaning," said Shannon. "Kentridge is very much working with issues and has been right from the beginning about, how do we live a good life, a proper life, in a world which makes it very hard to live that way."

Some pieces hide a darker message within a simple image.

"He takes something fairly common, and he sees in it the uncommon. The deeper meaning," said Shannon.

Some of the pieces are self or family portraits. Others have recurring images of typewriters and rotary phones.

"When you enter this space, the museum, it's almost like we're entering his studio," said Shannon of one of the exhibits recreations.

Among the art is the addition of touch stations and interactive installations that aren't original works by Kentridge, but props to insert the visitor into his world.

"Usually when you go into a museum, they say, don't touch, don't do this, don't do that. We encourage people to touch certain things," said Shannon.

The Shannons say they've dreamed of sharing their Kentridge collection for years and this opportunity has been deeply touching.

"He is a man of ideas that apply to our world, and it would be foolish… It would be selfish just to keep this for ourselves and not share it," said Shannon.

The Warehouse is a private art museum and research center specializing in modern and contemporary art that opened to the public in 2018. The Warehouse is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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