Is It Art? Angel in a Cage

The Angel in the Cage. Photo by Dan Reiner.

An angel watches over downtown Milwaukee.

It’s a fiberglass angel enclosed in a four-story steel tower on West Canal Street that has gazed directly at the Church of the Gesu since 1987. There’s no question the structure is art, says Marquette artistic assistant professor Rev. Grant Garinger, but he wonders what its religious context may be in the eye of the artist.

“My interpretation of it is connected to scripture,” Garinger says.

Garinger thinks to the book of Genesis when he sees it. In one story, Jacob dreams of angels maneuvering between heaven and Earth on ladders, and in another he wrestles with an angel until it blesses him.

“This is an angel that’s trapped and is not going anywhere until it blesses the people of Milwaukee,” Garinger says.

With some 600,000 souls in the city, our caged angel has a lot of work to do before it can be freed.



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