Three years ago, REAL TINSEL began the long process of building a registry of work on paper from artists throughout the state. Over the past few years the files have continued to grow, reaching almost 100 artists and over 1000 individual works. This ever-expanding project is located in the basement of REAL TINSEL along with a sofa, a viewing platform, a turntable, a dry bar and other amenities to encourage the ultimate private viewing session. It’s open to the public by appointment at any hour or day, and always for walk-ins when the gallery is open.

As satisfying as it is to peruse the files in this privately curated environment with a record playing, we felt that a little walk around the neighborhood would be good for work. So in the first gallery exchange with Var Gallery, selections from the flat files will emerge from their sanctuary and travel into the larger viewing universe for the first time.

We hope this curated selection from the files will showcase the breadth and quality of the work in the registry and encourage those who haven’t yet experienced them in person to take a trip to REAL TINSEL to see the rest of the project. And finally, we would like this exchange to encourage new artists to be in contact with us about offering work for the files so that the project will continue to grow and cross-pollinate with the greater above-ground art world for years to come.


At Real Tinsel:

The Happy Happy KillJoy Show
Var Gallery is pleased to present, The Happy Happy KillJoy Show, a two-person exhibition featuring works from Milwaukee based artists Brian Hibbard and Brian Schnieder. Both artists explore subjects that are associated with humor, playfulness, and vulnerability. For this exhibition, the artists write:

“Humor allows subversion of defense mechanisms. Recalling one's childhood evokes a state of mind where defense mechanisms were not yet present. Allowing one to feel comfortable leaves one open to feelings and thoughts they would otherwise be resistant to. To face what is difficult to face.


This show sort of shines a light on some of the absurdity in today's pop culture and children's toys, as well as viewing media. As artists, we enjoy being absurd. In a way, we are highlighting challenges surrounding raising children in today's society. In another, more literal sense, We are using dark humor to poke fun of children's toys and cartoons.

Death is a part of life; there is no way around it. Humans as a species, in an evolutionary sense, have certain primal instincts within us. We've had to battle enemies along the road to becoming the society we enjoy today. Some of these warring instincts manifest themselves in toy guns and bomb pops. Evolution alone, as a concept, is somewhat absurd in it's epic proportions, but that is another discussion. This one is more of a devolution. Let's just have fun.”


Our doors will open at 𝟲:𝟬𝟬𝗣𝗠, and will be locked at 𝟲:𝟯𝟬𝗣𝗠 for the comfort of our model.

𝗗𝗿𝗮𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗻 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗽𝘁𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝘁 𝟲:𝟯𝟬𝗣𝗠.

We'll wrap up the night at 9:30PM.

DRINK & DRAW: a social creative session for individuals and groups!

Join us for a laid back, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗲𝘅𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗱, figure drawing session. It's only $5 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗱.

We'll start the night with several quick gesture drawings for warm up, and then move to the long poses. Drinks may be purchased from the bar throughout the night.

Please make sure to RSVP ahead of time so we know how many guests will be attending.

Absolutely no photography and no one under 18.