The Haggerty Art Museum was given the pleasure of holding the sculpture, “Breaking Grounds” by Marc Roehrle and Mo Zell, an architect partnership that they call “bauenstudio.” It is a part of the Current Tendencies Exhibition and was meant to respond to the site of the artwork. Marc Roehrle and Mo Zell used Marquette’s urban landscape to create a sculpture that fit and activated its setting. The Haggerty Museum found these artists locally; the architect duo had worked on the East Side of Milwaukee before they were invited on campus and created the work.
The associate curator at the Haggerty, Emilia Layden, explained that this piece of artwork was, “most visible to students and draws in the public’s attention.”
It was made apparent that students cut across the courtyard outside the Haggerty from the footprints in the snow seen last winter. The objective of this sculpture is to activate that pathway and provide human interaction with the artwork by touching, walking on, and even smelling it; something most students usually don’t do on their walk to class.
“Whenever I walk past “Breaking Grounds”, I always see someone on or looking at the structure,” Layden said. “It is interesting to view the sculpture from different approaches: from the museum, the Law Library, the various staircases.” The polycarbonate’s reflective surface and the nature of the structure’s strange heights gives the sculpture a dynamic look. The public is able to explore the sculpture on their own and draws attention to the Haggerty.
“People often see the sculpture and wonder, ‘What is that?’, and then they take a closer look,” Layden said. “It acts as a beacon for the museum.”
There was a dance and instrumental performance on “Breaking Grounds” Aug. 27th. The Enso Collective group, directed by Joëlle Worm, brought the sculpture alive to an even greater extent because of this. The dance was improvisational and helped the audience to further interact with the sculpture.
The sculpture is meant to alter the perspective of onlookers who walk up the wooden ramp of the sculpture. The polycarbonate walls seem to get shorter as one ascends, making one feel taller. Once at the top of the ramp, the ramp levels to a platform for one to look out from, similar to a balcony. The unique view of the trees is especially interesting, because of the level that the platform is on. This perspective of the trees will be especially tasteful on the human senses once fall hits Milwaukee – vibrant, color changing leaves and chilly breezes.
If you haven’t already, check out “Breaking Grounds” and experience the art for yourself. The sculpture has a different story to tell depending on the time of day due to the polycarbonate walls, which also guarantee a new experience each time. The sculpture is open for public interaction until early November.