The Pfister Hotel Press Coverage

The Pfister Hotel Names Niki Johnson 6th Artist in Residence

Home to a collection of more Victorian-style art than any other hotel in the world, doctor the historic Pfister Hotel, which is owned and managed by Marcus® Hotels & Resorts, has hosted a popular Artist-in-Residence program for the past five years. The Pfister’s selection committee has chosen multi-media sculptor Niki Johnson as its sixth resident artist. She will begin working in the hotel’s lobby-level Artist’s Studio beginning April 2014, health succeeding current Pfister artist Stephanie Barenz, and will work in the studio for one year.

“I’m thrilled to have been selected as the next artist in residence at The Pfister and can’t wait to get started in the Artist’s Studio,” said Johnson. “The body of artwork I will be creating this year will involve sculpting six child-sized bathtubs out of oil clay, and then casting them in porcelain. Each bathtub will depict heroines from fairytales by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson.”

Along with the bathtubs, Johnson will create a series of corresponding limited edition commemorative plates; both will depict the stories of Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, The Princess and the Pea, Rapunzel, and Thumbelina. Visitors to the studio will watch her build and shape elements for the bathtubs, such as braiding yards of hair for the Rapunzel tub and dying feathers for Snow White. The creation of each porcelain bathtub will involve Johnson’s molding, casting and firing of these artworks in her home studio. She will document these processes with photos, which will be displayed on a TV screen inside the Artist’s Studio to provide guests with a holistic experience of her process.

Over the past three years, Johnson has taught two discussion sections for the Foundations Department in Contemporary Art History at University of Wisconsin—Madison, as well as several classes at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, including Foundry, Advanced Mold-Making and Casting, 3D Design and 2D Glassworks. She also participates in speaking engagements through the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts and is a blogger for the Huffington Post.

“With each passing year, our Artist-in-Residence Program grows stronger and our applicants even more talented,” said Paul Ohm, general manager of The Pfister. “We can’t wait to see the new dynamic Niki will bring to the program and our guests.”

Johnson was one of six finalists included in a four-week public voting period. In addition to the public vote via Facebook, texting, and in-person ballots, a selection committee, consisting of leaders in the local art community, made the final decision in choosing the next Artist in Residence. This year’s selection committee was comprised of representatives from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Northwestern Mutual, BizStarts Milwaukee, and Haggerty Museum of Art.

The winner of the public vote, Dena Nord, will receive the opportunity to display her work in a solo exhibit at Gallerie M, inside InterContinental Milwaukee, while all finalists from this year and years past will be offered additional opportunities to show their work at future Pfister-sponsored exhibits throughout the Midwest.

December 2022