What is that big, orange thing, anyway?

Mark di Suvero (American, b. China, 1933) The Calling, 1981-82 painted steel height: 40 ft (1219.2 cm) Bluff Park, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Gift of Anonymous Donor through Milwaukee Art Museum M1981.305 © Mark di Suvero; Courtesy of Spacetime C.C.
Mark di Suvero (American, b. China, 1933), The Calling, 1981-82. Painted steel. Height: 40 ft. Bluff Park, Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Gift of Anonymous Donor through Milwaukee Art Museum M1981.305. © Mark di Suvero; Courtesy of Spacetime C.C. Photo by Mel Buchanan.

Many people don’t know that The Calling by Mark di Suvero (the orange sunburst sculpture that sits at the lake end of Wisconsin Avenue) has been part of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s permanent collection since the sculpture’s creation in 1981.

The Calling has attracted a lot of attention and inspired quite a bit of dialogue by Milwaukeeans over the years, including here in an 2006 article that answers the question “Will they Move the Orange Sculpture”.

I’ve found that people either love it or they hate it, as summarized in this 2007 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article.

Recently the United States government indicated on which side of that line they stand: they awarded artist Mark di Suvero the National Medal for the Arts. You can read more about the awards at the National Endowment for the Arts website.

Art Events

Art and Lego

LEGO® model of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (1934), co-developed and designed by architect Adam Reed Tucker. Available online from the Milwaukee Art Museum Store.

Tomorrow’s “MAM After Dark: Mr. Wright” will celebrate Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century. There will be great music, tours of the exhibition, and a twenty by twenty foot Lego pit, hosted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). I can’t contain my excitement!

I’ll be in there in the Lego pit, building Frank Lloyd Wright inspired buildings, happily looking up like a two-year-old at the larger-than-life Robert Therrien table and chairs in Windhover Hall.

In my Lego-mania, I discovered online that I’m not alone. Notably, in the fall of 2005 the Liverpool Museum’s Walker Art Gallery had an exhibition by The Little Artists (John Cake and Darren Neave) who built their own miniature exhibition of modern and contemporary art made out of Lego bricks.

Education Museum Buildings

Art inspired by technology

The Museum's Kohl’s Art Generation Studio doors. Frosted at left, clear at right!

The Kohl’s Art Generation Studio has some very nifty doors.  They appear to be frosted glass, until you flip a light switch and *click* they are clear.  How do they work?!? Here is a full scientific explanation, thanks to the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge.

Art Art News

Milton Rogovin—“Photography could be an instrument of social change”

Milton Rogovin (American, 1909–2011), from Buffalo's Lower West Side Revisited series, 1972-1992. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Suzanne and Richard Pieper. M1999.217.1-.3-.243.1-.3

Photographer and social documentarian Milton Rogovin passed away last week at 101. His legacy can be found in his photographs of the underprivileged in the United States, enlightening us and provoking our compassion. His strong drive to explore social inequality led him to political strife and changed his life forever.

The Milwaukee Art Museum held an exhibition of Mr. Rogovin’s photographs in 2001. If you would like to see images of his work and learn more, the exhibition website can be viewed online.

Art Art News

Wafaa Bilal wants to do what?!

Wafaa Bilal's "Bar at the Folies Bergère (after Manet)" in the Milwaukee Art Museum's Impressionism gallery. Image from the artist's website

I love that the Milwaukee Art Museum doesn’t shy away from controversial contemporary artists.  You might remember a work in the Museum’s Collection Galleries by Wafaa Bilal and Shawn Lawson that was temporarily installed in the Museum’s Impressionism Gallery in 2007: the Bar at the Folies Bergère (after Manet). Here is the Museum’s 2007 press release “Viewers Enter a Masterpiece in New Installation”. You can see photographs and a video of the Bilal piece on the artist’s website.

In the latest news, Mr. Bilal is now on to a new project that involves having a video camera surgically implanted into the back of his head!  You can read about it in the ArtsBeat blog here and here in The Art Law Blog post.