Teens Discuss Michelle Erickson’s Texas Tea Party

Michelle Erickson, Texas Tea Party, 2005. Chipstone Foundation, Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

Michelle Erickson, Texas Tea Party, 2005. Chipstone Foundation, Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

At the end of February, teens in the Satellite High School Program gathered around Michelle Erickson’s Texas Tea Party (2005). They’ll study this object for the whole semester, using different methods of looking to form their own interpretations. For their first session, we spent one full hour looking closely at the work and having an open-ended dialogue about what we saw, the artist’s intent, and what it all might mean.

We began our discussion with a moment of silence to take in the piece individually. Michelle Erickson packs quite a lot into her small-scale ceramic sculpture, Texas Tea Party—it’s just 8” x 8” x 8”. After a few minutes, I invited the group to share comments, ideas, and thoughts. Although we’ve been in session for a few weeks now, this is our first time as a group discussing a work of art together. Continue reading

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Meet Jesús–Artist, Teen Program Alum, and Scholastic Award Winner

Jesús Hilario at the 2013 ArtXpress opening reception. Photo by Front Room Photography

Jesús Hilario at the 2013 ArtXpress opening reception. Photo by Front Room Photography

The Museum has offered teen programs that change the lives of young people for over thirty years. I’m thrilled to feature an interview with one program alum, Jesús Hilario, who is a senior in high school at Rufus King High School in Milwaukee. Jesús was an intern in the Museum’s ArtXpress high school program in 2013, and is a recent multi-award winner for the national Scholastic Art Awards, on view at the Museum through March 22. ArtXpress is a summer studio internship program for teens, who take inspiration from the Museum’s feature exhibition to create a mural that positively addresses a community issue and is displayed for a year as an advertisement on a Milwaukee County public bus. The Scholastic Art Awards is a national program that has encouraged the artistic endeavors of young people throughout the United States for over eighty-five years. Continue reading

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German Tankards and Steins: Part 7–Humorous Mettlach

Villeroy & Boch (Mettlach, Saarland, Germany, established 1836), design attributed to Franz von Stuck (German, 1863–1928). "2106" Stein, 1894. Stoneware, with colored slip and glaze decoration, platinum luster, and pewter. Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.890. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Villeroy & Boch (Mettlach, Saarland, Germany, established 1836), design attributed to Franz von Stuck (German, 1863–1928). “2106” Stein, 1894. Stoneware, with colored slip and glaze decoration, platinum luster, and pewter. Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.890. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Drinking games have long been a source of entertainment.  One only has to look at the proliferation of puzzle jugs dating back to the sixteenth century to see this. Continue reading

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Milwaukee Art Museum Launches its First Online Course

Museum staff members Laci and Nate participate in the "Object Story" activity.

Museum staff members Laci and Nate participate in the “Object Story” activity.

I’m thrilled to share that the Museum launched its first online course this month! Hangout with Art is a completely free MOOC (massive open online course) whose goal is to help participants find new ways to engage with art and get more comfortable visiting museums. The course went live earlier this month and I thought this might be a good moment to share more about the MOOC here on our blog.

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German Tankards and Steins: Part 6–Mettlach and the Germany Identity

Villeroy & Boch (Mettlach, Saarland, Germany, established 1836), designed by Heinrich Schlitt (German, 1849–1923). "2765" Stein, 1902. Stoneware, with colored slip and glaze decoration, and pewter. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.848. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Villeroy & Boch (Mettlach, Saarland, Germany, established 1836), designed by Heinrich Schlitt (German, 1849–1923). “2765” Stein, 1902. Stoneware, with colored slip and glaze decoration, and pewter. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation M1962.848. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Last time, we looked at the historical context for artwork in late nineteenth century Germany. In 1871, Germany officially became a unified country. This time, we’ll look at the cultural ramifications of the unification and how it impacted art.

Although German-speaking princes had been allied for centuries, the individual provinces needed to strengthen their commitment in order to counter military and economic competition from other countries such as Austria and France. But just because the people in the new country spoke German and shared much in the way of their cultural identity didn’t mean that they felt like a big happy family.  And the disruptive forces of the industrial revolution did nothing to help the sense of confusion and frustration.

The people of the German Empire needed to ask themselves: what does it mean to be German? The imagery on Mettlach steins of the time offers some interesting answers to that question. Continue reading

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