30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations X – XII

Sharon and Schuyler Seager visit the Museum on August 5, 2013. Photo by the author.

Sharon and Schuyler Seager visit the Museum on August 5, 2013. Photo by the author.

30 Encounters with 30 Americans is a ten week blog series showcasing the perspectives of thirty visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museum’s 30 Americans exhibition (June 14 – September 8, 2013).

Read about the experiences of these visitors–from couples to families, from students to scholars–and see how their thoughts compare to your own. What are visitors saying about this dynamic exhibition of paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video, and more made by African American artists since 1970?

This week’s 30 Encounters blog post features visitors that all shared international views of the Museum’s 30 Americans exhibition.

Conversation X: Sharon and Schuyler Seager

Sharon and Schuyler Seager visit the Museum on August 5, 2013. Photo by the author.

Sharon and Schuyler Seager visit the Museum on August 5, 2013. Photo by the author.

Longtime members of the Milwaukee Art Museum, Sharon and Schuyler Seager, combine a local as well as global mindset when considering the 30 Americans exhibition. While Sharon was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she has worked at UW – Milwaukee for seventeen years in the International Studies office.  Meanwhile, Schuyler is retired and lived in Milwaukee for almost forty years prior to relocating to Pewaukee, Wisconsin.  Sharon and Schuyler currently split their time between Wisconsin and Florida. 

#1 What did you think of the exhibition?

Sharon: Outstanding… It exposed you to different areas. I do like [Jean-Michel] Basquiat.  I had seen his movie, and there is something so fascinating about him because… he died young.  [His career] started with graffiti and you can always tell his work. I also thought poignant how the Ku Klux Klan exhibit [Duck Duck Noose by Gary Simmons] was done in its own room. Wonderful!

Schuyler: Yeah I agree. I thought the exhibit was just brilliant. It was so… bright, it was vivacious, it was earnest in style.  Here, even in the Museum, as big as the collection is, you’ll see one or two pieces, but [in this exhibition] you see them all together… It was a lot better than I thought it would be, a lot more fun.

#2 What would you say to people who are considering coming to see the exhibition/artwork?

Sharon: It is…. very thought provoking. It made you think – from a white person’s perspective – of some of the issues that were brought up in the photographs.  Also, Schuyler said it was great for kids because it’s visual and that’s what starts them liking art, even if they don’t understand [the artist's inspiration]…

Schuyler: Do it! It is worth the effort. It is worth the time. There are no other exhibits that I have seen here in – at least in recent years – that are as good. It is much more vivacious… it is fun… If you are a Milwaukee Art Museum Member you have already paid to go, so go.

#3 Please choose a particular artist or artwork that stands out in your mind.  Comments or thoughts? 

Sharon: The artist who did all the portraits of women’s faces [Portraits of Quanikah by Mickalene Thomas]… They were so beautifully done. In fact, I think I might come back again. Sometimes we don’t come back [to an exhibition], but for this one we’ve got to come back to absorb it all.

Schuyler: I think as far as the piece it would be the Ku Klux Klan piece. I think the title, Duck Duck Noose, was just so appropriate, it took a while for it to sink in, but it was so simple. And it was so poignant.

Conversation XI: Hervé Busschaert

Hervé Busschaert visits the Museum on August 8, 2013. Photo by the author.

Hervé Busschaert visits the Museum on August 5, 2013. Photo by the author.

Hervé Busschaert is a self-described “tourist” from Belgium. Visiting Milwaukee while on holiday, he regularly works as an economist in the field of development economics.  Development economics is a branch of economics that handles the developmental process of economies in low-income countries.

#1 What did you think of the exhibition?

Hervé: Well I think it’s very relevant to be able to listen to all… perspectives of society…  As a tourist of course when you are coming to America, you come with a lot of preconceived ideas about America.  You want to know more about the US and looking at art, that’s a way to do it.

#2 What would you say to people who are considering coming to see the exhibition/artwork?

Hervé: I think it’s a very nice experience. I think that besides just receiving the art you have also the possibility… to interact yourself with the art.  I think that is a very good point about the experience.  I have seen a lot of visitors interact with the author, or with the artist… Everybody has the opportunity to express themselves… I even saw a little kid, three or four-years-old, doing that. I think it’s great.

#3 Please choose a particular artist or artwork that stands out in your mind.  Comments or thoughts?

Hervé: I was really impressed by the big cotton piece [Untitled #25 by Leonardo Drew], where it refers to… the work of the Afro-American in the US… [Drew is] sharing this historical experience. I don’t know if it was allowed, but I just wanted to touch it. I think it’s a good piece of work. I think cotton is really related to a very important social question. It was in the past [with the slave cotton pickers on plantations].  It still is today if you think about [the collapse of the] Bangladesh [garment factories]…  I think there is… a continuous theme within the fabric with maybe changing strata, or population, or something like this.  So, that is why I think it is really interesting reference.

Conversation XII: Jarrad Adams

Jarrad Adams visits the Museum on August 5, 2013. Photo by the author.

Jarrad Adams visits the Museum on August 5, 2013. Photo by the author.

Jarrad Adams is traveling from Melbourne, Australia where he works in design for General Motors.  Visiting Milwaukee for less than a day, he chose to spend his time at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

#1 What did you think of the exhibition?

Jarrad: The exhibition was really cool. It was the reason I came here. A friend, who I’m visiting told me that it was really good to check out.  There is a lot more [art]work than I expected.

#2 What would you say to people who are considering coming to see the exhibition/artwork?

Jarrad: I would say, “to have more time than I did.” It was really interesting and I would definitely recommend it… The audio tour would also be a good idea. It probably would have told me a lot more than what I could read.  [Also, the exhibition] is a very wide collection… The exhibits varied in the mediums that are displayed, which is really good. It isn’t just oil paintings…

#3 Please choose a particular artist or artwork that stands out in your mind.  Comments or thoughts?

Jarrad: [Several paintings by Jeff Sonhouse featured] works that… depicted… very historical scenes… but the faces were masked… I think there were two or three of those sort of works.  They put up a lot of questions… as to why their faces were always covered and why the artist choose certain old scenes to remake.

- – – – – -

Check back next week for 30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations XIII – XV30 Americans is at the Milwaukee Art Museum from June 14 through September 8, 2013. For more information, please click here.

Sarah Rabinowe is a summer Curatorial Intern at the Museum.  Sarah is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, and this autumn she will be moving to England to complete her Masters degree in History of Art and Visual Culture at the University of Oxford.
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5 Responses to 30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations X – XII

  1. Pingback: 30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations XIII – XV | Milwaukee Art Museum Blog

  2. Pingback: 30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations XIX – XXI | Milwaukee Art Museum Blog

  3. Pingback: 30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations XXII – XXIV | Milwaukee Art Museum Blog

  4. Pingback: 30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations XXV – XXVII | Milwaukee Art Museum Blog

  5. Pingback: 30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations XXVIII – XXX | Milwaukee Art Museum Blog

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