Beyond Digital: Open Collections and Cultural Institutions, Part 1

View of the author's Beautiful Data Final Project installation. Photo by the author

View of the author’s Beautiful Data Final Project installation. Photo by the author

This is part one of two posts about my experiences at the Beautiful Data: Telling Stories with Open Collections workshop at Harvard University’s metaLAB.

This past June, I participated in a two-week workshop at Harvard University’s metaLAB called Beautiful Data: Telling Stories with Open Collections. Thanks to a grant from the Getty Foundation, the metaLAB brought together over twenty curators, technologists, educators, and scholars to grapple with how we might use publicly available data from museum collections in our work. In the first week, speakers as varied as digital museum specialists to experience designers to scientists who study vision all pressed us to think of our work in unexpected contexts. In the second week, we took what we’d discussed and applied them to projects of our own. Continue reading

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Teens Discuss Postcards from America

Donovan Wylie (British, b. Northern Ireland, 1971). The Preparatory City. Marquette Interchange, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2014. Inkjet print, 60 × 80 in. (152.4 × 203.2 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, purchase, Herzfeld Foundation Acquisition Fund, M2014.36.

Donovan Wylie (British, b. Northern Ireland, 1971). The Preparatory City. Marquette Interchange, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2014. Inkjet print, 60 × 80 in. (152.4 × 203.2 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, purchase, Herzfeld Foundation Acquisition Fund, M2014.36.

On one of the last warm days in October, I led sixteen teens into the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Postcards from America: Milwaukee exhibition. This blog post is a description of our experience spending one hour together looking at a single photographer’s work in the exhibition.

Postcards from America: Milwaukee shows the recent work of eleven Magnum Photographers, invited to photograph Milwaukee during the prior year as part of the Postcards for America project. None of these photographers were local, so their photographs—ranging from portraits at the Wisconsin State Fair to polaroids to an installation memorial for a deceased musician—were provocative for a group of high schoolers who have spent their whole lives here. Continue reading

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Ask a Curator Day 2014 Recap

Screenshot of the Milwaukee Art Museum Twitter page, @MilwaukeeArt

Screenshot of the Milwaukee Art Museum Twitter page, @MilwaukeeArt

Back in September, the Milwaukee Art Museum participated in International Ask a Curator Day, an online initiative started in 2010 in the UK. The idea? Use social media to open up conversations between visitors and museum staff. This year’s Ask a Curator Day saw an astounding 721 museums from 43 different countries answering visitor questions pretty much around the clock.

Of course, we museum staff do this every day on site and online, but we love that Ask a Curator Day gives us the chance to reach a huge virtual audience from all around the world. After the jump, you’ll find some highlights from our Twitter feed on Ask a Curator Day. Thanks to everyone who tweeted us! Continue reading

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From the Collection–On the Eve of Her Wedding by Antonio Mancini

A number of artists featured in the special exhibition Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums are represented in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is the third in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s paintings during the run of the exhibition.

Antonio Mancini (Italian, 1852–1930), On the Eve of Her Wedding, ca. 1882. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. S. S. Merrill M1919.33. Photo by John Glembin.

Antonio Mancini (Italian, 1852–1930), On the Eve of Her Wedding, ca. 1882. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. S. S. Merrill M1919.33. Photo by John Glembin.

In researching a museum’s collection, the story behind the acquisition of an artwork can sometimes be just as interesting as the artwork itself. The Milwaukee Art Museum’s On the Eve of Her Wedding by Antonio Mancini (Italian, 1852-1930) is a great example. Continue reading

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From the Collection–Andrea Locatelli’s Landscapes

A number of artists featured in the special exhibition Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting from Glasgow Museums are represented in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum.  This is the second in a series of blog posts that will highlight Milwaukee’s paintings during the run of the exhibition.

Andrea Locatelli (Italian, 1695–1741), Landscape with a River and a Group of Figures Near A Roman Altar, ca. 1730. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William D. Kyle, Sr. M1967.126. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Andrea Locatelli (Italian, 1695–1741), Landscape with a River and a Group of Figures Near A Roman Altar, ca. 1730. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William D. Kyle, Sr. M1967.126. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Imagine it is the early 18th century.  You are an Italian noble and need to decorate your villa.  Who do you hire to make some paintings for you?

For many, the answer would have been Andrea Locatelli (Italian, 1695-1741).  He’s not a household name today, but during his lifetime, Locatelli was famous.  The venerable Colonna family of Rome, who were great art patrons, owned 80 of his paintings!

The Milwaukee Art Museum has a lovely pair of paintings from Locatelli’s late career: Landscape with a River and Group of Figures Near A Roman Altar and Mountainous Landscape with Shepherds and Animals. Continue reading

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