Big, Big Bangs, Small, Small Bucks


Swept II – From Swept Series I-V (2008) © Sonja Thomsen


All-American, Kissimmee, Florida © Susana Raab

In keeping with this weeks theme of affordable art, Milwaukee gallerist Dean Jensen is hosting a show of art, all of which are priced at under $750.  No need to go get your reading goggles, that’s right I wrote $750.  To prime the pump on my print sale karma, I’m offering two prints from Consumed in the 20×24 size in the show.  Other notable artists include Kevin Miyazaki, Sonja Thomsen, Tema Stauffer, Jason Yi, and 35 others.  You can check out the entire catalog here.


Route 66, Location #1 – From Fast Food Documenting Shuttered Restaurants Series © Kevin Miyazaki

At the very least if you happen to be in Milwaukee or it’s environs, check it out, Dean throws a mean party:

Upcoming Exhibition: Big, Big Bangs / Small, Small Bucks

December 5, 2008 – January 24, 2009
Opening Reception Friday, December 5 from 6pm – ?

About the Show:

For a lot of us, these are times when the experience of dinner out has been changed from a banquette at a Michelin-starred restaurant to a plastic booth at McDonald’s.

But what about those of us who still need art fixes at least periodically?

Even with the world economy continuing in its unraveling, we still read of such art world causes celebres as a Damien Hirst calf in a tank of formaldahyde selling for $18.3 million or a Jeff Koons sculpture, “Hanging Heart,” being hammered down for $23.6 million. Is it possible in such a period to acquire art of enduring interest at what might be considered, at least in comparison to the Hirst and Koons pieces, give-away prices?

“Big, Big Bangs/Small, Small Bucks” is one attempt at answering the question.

The show, by far the biggest ever organized by the Dean Jensen Gallery, presents one-hundred works (more or less) by 40 artists (more or less). None of the works is higher in price than $750; many are priced even significantly less.

A great surprise in putting the show together was the emthusiasm with which the enterprise was received by the invited artists. Many of them were so eager to join that they pared down their customary prices to meet the rather Draconian dollar limit we imposed on works selected for the exhibition.

There was another surprise: None of the artists in “Big, Big’Small / Small, Small Bucks” has the superstar status of Hirst or Koons — at least not yet. But a great majority are well-established as professional artists, and rather many of them might be placed in the “almost famous” category. Several of the participants already have works in important museum collections and regularly show in tony galleries in New York and elsewhere.

Our great thanks to all the painters, photographers and sculptors who agreed to participate. We would also like to acknowlege gratefulness to John Riepenhoff, an artist himself and operator of Milwaukee’s Green Gallery. Generously, he cleared the way for several of the artists he represents so their work could appear in a competing gallery.

So how well does “Big, Big / Small, Small Bucks” answer the question of whether it’s possible today to acquire art that is intellectually challenging and/or visually resonant, but still most modest in price? Probably the most trustworthy answer to the question will have to come from the exhibition’s audience rather than its organizers. As the hoary saying goes, though, the proof is always in in the pudding. It’s recommended that when you visit the gallery, you bring your own spoon.

–Dean Jensen

Please contact us with any questions or comments about the show:

Phone: 414-278-7100


Front Yard (2003) © Tema Stauffer


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