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Wisconsin-Milwaukee: A Very Special Pizza Pie

This blog post was updated on November 2, 2018.

Heading to Milwaukee this season and in the mood for some high-quality cheese? Of course there’s the au naturel triangular variety, but why not try it with tangy sauce, crisp crust, and support for the arts, too? Yes, we’re talking about pizza, but not just any pizza—artist John Riepenhoff created a very special pie for his show Conspicuous Consumption at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Union Art Gallery that is one exhibit you’re welcome to touch.


The title of the piece is Physical Pizza Networking Theory, and it explores the relationship between the social and the material in art. Anyone who’s ever brought a pie into a meeting knows that pizza can serve as a physical and emotional meeting point, a place where strangers converge, and the pizzas-within-pizza design emphasizes the many layers of these interactions.


Created originally for a gallery opening focused on collage, the pizza is a temporary interactive sculpture that also entices the viewer into the space.
Riepenhoff, being an artist and not a pizzaiolo, trusted the construction of his work to the experts at Classic Slice (2797 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Milwaukee, WI; 414-238-2406) who precooked the miniature pizzas before assembling them on an oversize base pizza, each topped with a different style of pie—Mr. Riepenhoff fabricated the box.


Hawaiian, vegan, pepperoni, and more each top the miniature pies, which Riepenhoff said was intended to evoke the food of different cultures, reminding viewers of the other experiences they could be having outside of this one.


Pizza will be delivered fresh out of the oven for the show’s opening on Friday, September 24th, and then again every Thursday at 4pm for the duration of the exhibition—on September 30th, and October 7th and 14th.



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