On Friday Jan 29th, we’re returning with Niki Johnson, artist and curator, who will be speaking on “Language.” Niki will be talking about language as a sensory experience. Below, we asked a few questions to get to know her better. 


What do you typically eat for breakfast?  I typically start my morning with a fruit smoothie, toast with jam, a cup of tea and a good dose of NPR.

What do people know you for?   On a national/international stage the answer is “Eggs Benedict”- a portrait of Emeritus Pope Benedict I wove out of 17,000 non-lubricated condoms. It received an incredible amount of press coverage when it was completed in 2013, and then again in 2015 when the Milwaukee Art Museum acquired it. 

On a local/real level, I’d say my work ethic is probably one of my most defining characteristics, as would be the scope, scale and detail oriented nature of the projects I take on.

How is Milwaukee special to you?  The people and political climate of this city are to thank for the incredible amount of dialogue that has taken place about my artwork, exhibitions and career. I am beyond thankful for all of the opportunities this city has given me over the past three years. It’s been terrific, intense, and wonderful.

What may people not know about you?  I graduated with my bachelors degree when I was 30.

What drives your creativity?  Humor and frustration, of course! If I’m trouble shooting a new material in the studio or  working through a concept for an upcoming exhibition, expect to hear lots of laughter and a little cursing through the door. Curiosity incites problem solving. It’s a beautiful thing.

What are you going to talk to us about this month?  I will be talking about LANGUAGE as a sensory experience, both of body and mind. Starting with storytelling and moving through visual experience, materiality and sound, my talk will unpack the affective qualities of communication with a focus on art.

Ticket registration opens here on Monday, Jan 25th, at 11:00AM. See you at the Charles Allis Art Museum on Jan 29th!