A Conversation with Richard Edelman - Milwaukee Sculptor

March 20, 2014

Through Sunday, April 27th come see Richard Edelman's "Recent Works in Bronze" Exhibit at the JCC. JCC Judaic Educator Jody Hirsh sat down with Richard, one of Milwaukee’s star sculptors and past participant of the Jewish Artist’s Lab, to talk about his upcoming exhibit and his life as a Jewish artist and sculptor in Milwaukee.

Jody Hirsh: How would you describe your exhibit?

Richard Edelman: The exhibit focuses on my work primarily in bronze, a medium I have been engaged with for the past few years, and is primarily based in Jewish and biblical themes. Because bronze can be molded and figured more easily, it is an interesting medium to explore the biblical and Jewish themes. When you look at the pieces, focus on the idea of storytelling.  I see Torah as storytelling. I love the stories and you will see that in my work.

JH: These pieces really are spectacular - what brought you to sculpting?

RE: I have been involved with sculpture for about seven or eight years and there are a number of reasons why I gravitated toward sculpting.  First of all I always loved and have been involved in the arts. Writing, poetry and underground press were my main medium when I first started out, but had a career in the steel industry with my engineering background.  Having seen and worked with so much steel, I really developed a passion for it, and I also understand it technically.  So metal became sort of a friend to me. I started with welding and immediately from there I got into steel sculpting which lead me to sculpting in bronze.  I have been on this road for a while now.

JH: And your pieces are all over Milwaukee! Tell us more about your other work around Milwaukee.

RE: A lot of sculptors do pieces on a monumental scale (15 feet or bigger) in public places. It was something that I aspired to, so I went out and started talking to people about my work in their public spaces.  To date, I have four installations and one of my biggest sculptures is in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.  They have created a vibrant arts district and have welcomed me with open arms.  The Milwaukee Jewish Community has also welcomed me with open arms.  You will see my large scale work at Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, Congregation Shalom and Chai Point. I have photographs of these installations as part of this exhibit. We brought the outside inside.  I have also been involved with your Jewish Artist’s Lab for the last three years, so my pieces have been on display in the JCC as well.

JH: We are thrilled to have you featured at our JCC, but what is next for the exhibit after it leaves us?

RE: This exhibit, plus some additional pieces, will be traveling to The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.  The show will end here on April 28th and will reopen there on May 4th.  It is going to take a lot of logistics to get my exhibit to Kansas City, but I am excited to bring it there.  It will be fun, both here and in Kansas City.

See pictures of the installation below and join us through Sunday, April 27th for Richard Edelman's "Recent Works in Bronze" Exhitib at the JCC.