Rudy Rotter in 1998.
The frigid oppression of Lake Michigan and impassive restraint of early Northern European settlers shapes the character of the people of Manitowoc. Compulsion and obsession are only understood if focused on order and cleanliness. Creative compulsion is unfathomable. You can see this in the architecture. Ornate buildings crafted by European artisans have been replaced by parking lots, vinyl-sided storefronts, and franchise stores. Art is conceptually interchangeable with the idea of decoration, which is often a print picked up at the Wal-Mart for $1.89 or some collector plates.
Transcending this milieu is Dr. Rudy Rotter, a retired dentist turned sculptor. He has created 15,000 figurative and abstract artworks that fill his three story, block-long museum just across the street from the Elbow Room Supper Club.
He notices the things people in town throw away. As industry evolves, people move, fashions change, home decors are updated and another old building comes down, he watches and extracts the gems to make his art. He sees figures, animals and patterns in the textures and materials that surround him. He’s tapped into his imagination and in the sanctity of his studio, it doesn’t matter who or what is outside the door.
--J. Shimon & J. Lindemann