A few years ago, I wrote a story about the Milwaukee Art Museum’s stickers that I noticed stuck everywhere. At that time they were plastered big time on the traffic signal lights at the intersection of Lincoln Memorial Drive where you turn left (or right) in order to access the museum. You couldn’t miss ‘em.
The stickers were (and are) the little gems you remove from the museum’s entry “ticket.” Designed to be displayed on the front of whatever you are wearing, they are known to dwell on purses and bags and clothing, so the MAM staff can identify you as one with permission to enter where Art Lives.
But it’s when you exit that museum that the inner life of stickers really gets going.
When I wrote the “sticker” feature, in pursuit of a fun story I followed the little devils
across Lincoln Memorial Drive and into the parking structure, then on to Wisconsin Avenue and points west. I tracked them for blocks — in fact, way west almost to Marquette University. Eventually my feet gave out, but not before I noted their little round selves clinging (sometimes in clumps) on buildings and other places stickers like to inhabit. They certainly aren’t picky.
While writing this, I remembered I had just such a sticker stuck on the taillight of my car, and I put it there after visiting MAM on August 12, 2011. It is about the size of a fifty cent piece, with the famous logo (in blue) of the “wings.” Below that is writ “Member Adult, 7/12/2011, 1293241,”which may or may not signify that over one million plus of the things have been issued. Currently, I have the sticker stuck on the glass top of the desk that holds my computer.
If you think about the clingers in terms of being wee advertisements for MAM and then subtract the cost of removing them, it still remains unclear how much it costs MAM to produce them. The whole thing could be a wash, as they say on Wall Street.
As proof of my attachment to this sticker thing, here’s an image of a “No Parking” sign at on the driveway fronting the entrance.With just a wee bit of red and black peeking through, you could almost call it contemporary…
(A Note from Photo Editor Brian Jacobson: I was serendipitously in tune with Ms. Moriarty in my amusement in visitors’ disembarking habit of leaving behind their sticker post-MAM. When I went down to take pictures, however, it seems the art museum is not so amused. While the light poles and other locations still have spots, the “Tow-Away Zone” signs have been replaced since last week.)