Recap: 30 Americans Sticky Notes

Close up of a post-it note station in 30 Americans.

Close up of a post-it note station in 30 Americans.

This past summer, we hosted 30 Americans, featuring works of art by contemporary African-American artists. The exhibition was, by the numbers, a huge success: we had an attendance goal of 85,140 and our actual attendance was 114,389! But impact goes beyond facts and figures, which is why we wanted to round out our blog posts about the exhibition with a look at a powerful expression of the city that was embedded in the show.

Within the galleries, we included three sticky note stations for folks to anonymously respond to works of art by Gary Simmons, Leonardo Drew, and Lorna Simpson. We have now archived all of the sticky notes for future study, thanks to dedicated staff and volunteers. This post will highlight just a few of the many powerful responses to works of art in photos, plus written reflections about 30 Americans from visitors and Museum staff that we received over the course of the exhibition.

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ArtXpress Teen Program: ONE-MKE

Group shot of the ArtXpress teens with their mural! Photo by Front Room Photography

Group shot of the ArtXpress teens with their mural! Photo by Front Room Photography

How does one respond to a show like 30 Americans, which raises so many contemporary issues about identity, place and culture? How does this exhibition fit into a city that at first glance is all about motorcycles, baseball, and beer? Teens in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s ArtXpress program tackled these questions this summer. Continue reading

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From the Collection–Drawing in the Sand by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863–1923). Drawing in the Sand, ca. 1911. Oil on canvas, 21 x 25 1/4 in. (53.34 x 64.14 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Samuel O. Buckner Collection. Photo credit Larry Sanders

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863–1923). Drawing in the Sand, ca. 1911. Oil on canvas, 21 x 25 1/4 in. (53.34 x 64.14 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Samuel O. Buckner Collection. Photo credit Larry Sanders

A young boy kneels at the beach, drawing a sailboat into the wet sand with a stick.  The sun beats on his bare skin and makes him almost glow with warmth and light.  Behind him, water licks at his feet, cool and tempting.  Although he is intent on his project, we know that once he has gotten too hot, he will lose interest and go back into the water.

Now that’s it September, I thought we’d have one more taste of summer by exploring Drawing in the Sand by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863-1923), which is on view in Gallery 11. Continue reading

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Highlights of the Chipstone Foundation in the Lower Level

View of Hidden Dimensions installation. Photo by Jim Wildeman

View of Hidden Dimensions installation. Photo by Jim Wildeman

As part of the first stages of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s re-installation, the Lower Level of the Collection is going through some changes. If you haven’t yet done so, go see curator Mel Buchanan and librarian Heather Winter’s 125th anniversary exhibition, which ends with a beautiful rendition of what the Milwaukee Art Museum will look like in the future. Read on for highlights of Chipstone’s collections in the Museum. Continue reading

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30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations XXVIII – XXX

Karin Ormson and Valerie Curry visit the Museum on August 28, 2013. Photo by the author.

Karin Ormson and Valerie Curry. 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?

As the 30 Americans exhibition draws to a close, so too does the 30 Encounters with 30 Americans blog series.  Since July, it has been a pleasure to engage with this project and have the opportunity to speak with a variety of visitors on their perceptions of selected artworks from the Rubell Family Collection.  Sunday, September 8th is the final day to visit 30 Americans at the Milwaukee Art Museum.  As the exhibition continues its tour at the Frist Center for Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee on October 11th, may all those who view 30 Americans spark further conversations.

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