This year, 2021, marks a century-long relationship between the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Garden Club support group. Both the Museum and its support groups have weathered many storms together over these past one hundred years, most recently the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the Garden Club expertly shifted to virtual programming and connections with their members. To help the Museum celebrate this history, Char Schulze, Garden Club president, has agreed to share her thoughts on the Garden Club’s past, present, and future.
—Courtney Kihslinger, director of stewardship and events
Alberto Rios is not only one of the Museum’s wonderful third-shift security officers; he is also a talented photographer. You may have seen some of his photos featured on the Museum’s social media pages. He captured this gorgeous sunrise on the East End and an image of Schroeder Galleria lit up for Pride Month, among other views of the Museum. Because he has such a great eye, and he has the unique opportunity to capture the Museum at a time when most are asleep, I asked if he would create a photo diary, taking viewers through one of his shifts. Get a behind-the-scenes—and somewhat eerie—look at the Museum (after dark!) below.
—Erin Aeschbacher, associate content writer
Did you know that the Museum’s Windhover Hall was named after one of donor Harry Quadracci’s favorite poems: The Windhover (published 1918) by Gerard Manley Hopkins? Read the full poem, and hear the work read aloud by Alicia Rice, Kohl’s Art Generation Community Relations Coordinator.
On Wednesday, September 16, we invited the Museum’s social media followers to ask the curators anything—and they delivered! Check out some of the questions and responses below.
July marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. July was also when the Museum reopened to the public after being closed for four months to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has necessarily brought new attention to concerns about safety and access—something that Museum docent Mauree Childress, who uses a wheelchair, said “people with disabilities have top of mind whenever they leave home—pandemic or not.” Based on conversations we’ve had over the years, I invited Mauree to write about her experience as a person with a disability who frequents the Museum—and what the anniversary of the ADA meant to her.
—Amy Kirschke, director of adult, docent, and school programs
Did you miss Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sundays at Home: Animals in Art? No worries! We’ll be featuring some of our favorite activities from the virtual event in the coming weeks.
Learn to paint birds with Liala.
American artist Al Held (1928–2005) was an abstract painter, most famous for his large-scale, geometric works. His paintings are full of circles, squares, cubes, and other geometric shapes and forms that overlap. In the painting below, he used a masking technique to create lines with sharp edges. He masked (covered) the white sections with tape and painted the remaining sections black.
Here’s how you can make your own geometric painting using materials you may already have at home:
American artist Joseph Cornell (1903–1972) was famous for his imaginative, mixed-media shadow boxes. A shadow box is an enclosed box, with glass on the front, that contains artistic or personal objects. Cornell purchased trinkets from secondhand stores and cut out images from magazines to use as art supplies. He then arranged these objects to create dreamlike, mysterious, and whimsical scenes. Many of his shadow boxes had themes, like outer space or birds. Cornell spent a lot of time by himself; each shadow box offers a glimpse into his private world.
Here’s how you can create your own shadow box, using objects you find at home!
*Within the disability community today, some may prefer identity-first language (e.g., “disabled person”), or person-first language (e.g., “person with a disability”). Because the curators do not know the preferences of the historical subjects in the “Functional Fashions” display, they chose to use identity-first language based on the recommendations of collaborators.
The mistaken belief that there is no history of clothing designs for disabled users has had a number of repercussions. Among them: nearly all designers treat their own iterations as inaugural, there has been a dearth of innovation as designs are continuously repeated, and disability-led innovation is written out of the historical record . Not only is there a long history of clothing designed by and for disabled persons, but in some cases it sets a higher standard than the efforts that followed. “Functional Fashions,” a display in the 20th- and 21st-Century Design Galleries at the Milwaukee Art Museum, introduces the largest collaborative clothing line for disabled persons in American history.
Ho-Chunk presence and their arts contributed to the development of Wisconsin Dells tourism—and to the material and aesthetic culture of the state. While Ho-Chunk representation is not always considered by tourists beyond stereotypical art for the trade, there is still a long and well-documented history of Ho-Chunk material life in the Wisconsin Dells area. The Ho-Chunk objects currently on exhibition in Mrs. M.—–’s Cabinet, are not the expected souvenirs of the Wisconsin Dells trade, but give a glimpse into the unfamiliar Ho-Chunk objects made and used in the Dells in the late 19th century.
In the exhibition Photographing Nature’s Cathedrals: Carleton E. Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge, and H.H. Bennett, an image by Henry Hamilton Bennett illustrates the acknowledgement of the unseen Native American presence within the Wisconsin Dells landscape. Looking out from Black Hawk’s Cave is one example of Bennett labeling his photographs with fictional place names and after real historical figures. Bennett used the Sauk Chief’s name in an effort to sell a romanticized American Indian legend to tourists.