German Tankards and Steins: Part 4—Porcelain

Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (Dresden, Germany, established 1710), Possibly Johann Gregorius Horoldt (German, 1696-1775), Tankard, ca. 1725. Glazed porcelain, polychrome overglaze decoration, gilding, and brass. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation, M1962.1035. Photo: John R. Glembin

Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (Dresden, Germany, established 1710), Possibly Johann Gregorius Horoldt (German, 1696-1775), Tankard, ca. 1725. Glazed porcelain, polychrome overglaze decoration, gilding, and brass. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation, M1962.1035. Photo: John R. Glembin

Last month, we demystified tin-glazed earthenware while putting it into a historical context. This month, we’ll figure out the magic behind the material that tin-glazed earthenware attempted to fill in for: porcelain.

Introduced to Europe from China in the fourteenth century, porcelain was the most elegant and fascinating of materials. It was pristine, white yet translucent, and although it was thin and light-weight, it was also amazingly strong and durable. In other words, it was everything that tin-glazed earthenware and stoneware was not. Continue reading

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MAM Behind the Scenes: George Rebicek, Lead Security Officer

George Rebicek, Lead Officer. Photo by the author

George Rebicek, Lead Officer. Photo by the author

This is the third in a series of blog posts highlighting a variety of different positions within the Milwaukee Art Museum. Each day, hundreds of visitors enter the Milwaukee Art Museum to stare in awe at the incredible wealth of artworks within the museum’s collection. But what can too often go unrecognized is the equally awe-inspiring work of the many museum staff members, without whom the museum in its current state could not exist. “MAM Behind the Scenes” is a blog series written by Digital Learning intern Emma Fallone to showcase the wide range of positions that make up a museum, and to reveal just a few of the many people whose work makes the Milwaukee Art Museum a source of inspiration and education.

Can you give a brief description of your job, in thirty seconds or less?
Our team is here to secure the people, the art, and the building – which can mean something slightly different each day. There are always different challenges to address. And, a large part of our job is also customer service: helping people to find the restroom, or locate a favorite work of art. We’re there to help the visitors. Continue reading

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From the Collection–Felt Suit by Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys (German, 1921–1986), Felt Suit (Filzanzug), 1970. Felt. Milwaukee Art Museum, gift of Norman and Donna Hodgson, by exchange, M1989.74. Photo credit: P. Richard Eells. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Joseph Beuys (German, 1921–1986), Felt Suit (Filzanzug), 1970. Felt. Milwaukee Art Museum, gift of Norman and Donna Hodgson, by exchange, M1989.74. Photo credit: P. Richard Eells. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

A man’s suit is not an unusual sight within an art museum – though usually one would expect such a garment to be worn by a visitor, and not hanging up on the wall as a work of art itself. Yet this is the case with Joseph Beuys’ artwork, entitled Felt Suit (Flizanzug). It consists of simply that: a man’s suit, made entirely of a soft grey felt, suspended neatly on a hanger on the museum wall. In the large gallery space, surrounded by brightly-colored canvases and monumental works of sculpture, this piece seems quite out-of-place. It is easy to imagine amusing backstories for the existence of this intriguing piece of clothing–perhaps a curator had brought a suit to change into for an evening event, yet had no room to hang it in his office, so he simply wandered into the galleries and hung it upon an unused nail? Continue reading

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MAM Behind the Scenes: David Russick, Exhibition Designer

David Russick, Exhibition Designer. Photo by the author

David Russick, Exhibition Designer. Photo by the author

This is the second in a series of blog posts highlighting a variety of different positions within the Milwaukee Art Museum. Each day, hundreds of visitors enter the Milwaukee Art Museum to stare in awe at the incredible wealth of artworks within the museum’s collection. But what can too often go unrecognized is the equally awe-inspiring work of the many museum staff members, without whom the museum in its current state could not exist. “MAM Behind the Scenes” is a blog series written by Digital Learning intern Emma Fallone to showcase the wide range of positions that make up a museum, and to reveal just a few of the many people whose work makes the Milwaukee Art Museum a source of inspiration and education.

Can you give a brief description of your job, in thirty seconds or less?
To use an analogy: the exhibition designer is the person who shows up on moving day when you’re moving into a new apartment, and helps you to arrange everything so that the space is used efficiently and everything looks really good! At the Milwaukee Art Museum, the “apartment” is usually the special exhibition space, which is cleared out and rearranged for each new show. So, every time we have a new special exhibit, it’s like one tenant is moving out and another is moving in – and their belongings are the artworks which are going to be displayed. The exhibition designer works with the curator to figure out what goes where, so that you don’t have your kitchen appliances in the bathroom, so to speak! Continue reading

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From the Collection–MMPI (Self-Portrait in Yellow) by Tony Oursler

Tony Oursler (American, b. 1957), MMPI (Self-Portrait in Yellow), 1996. Video installation with video projector, VCR, video tape, small cloth figure, and metal folding chair. Dimensions variable. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from Donald and Donna Baumgartner, Marianne and Sheldon B. Lubar, Allen and Vicki Samson, Dr. and Mrs. Philip Shovers, and Sibyl and David Wescoe. M1998.136a-i. Photo credit: Larry Sanders

Tony Oursler (American, b. 1957), MMPI (Self-Portrait in Yellow), 1996. Video installation with video projector, VCR, video tape, small cloth figure, and metal folding chair. Dimensions variable. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from Donald and Donna Baumgartner, Marianne and Sheldon B. Lubar, Allen and Vicki Samson, Dr. and Mrs. Philip Shovers, and Sibyl and David Wescoe. M1998.136a-i. Photo credit: Larry Sanders

Walking through the center of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s main level galleries, visitors often become aware of something out of place: a single, monotone voice echoing faintly through the spacious galleries. Those curious enough to follow the noise to its source will stumble upon an unexpected scene. Just around the corner from the central staircase, a small cloth doll lies on the museum floor, a bright yellow folding chair leaning precariously against its head. Projected onto the doll’s blank head is the expressionless face of an adult man, speaking a series of short phrases slowly and deliberately. Continue reading

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