For more than two years, the conservation team at the Milwaukee Art Museum has been collaborating with other experts to conserve Robert Gober’s Untitled installation so it can return to the galleries and again immerse viewers in an animated, watery scene, as the artist originally intended. When visitors peer inside the suitcase, they often think the watery tableau is created by a screen. The truth is much more exciting! What you see is a sculpted pool filled with gently lapping water, silicone seaweed, and wax limbs. But this installation, like all artwork, is not inert. Gober made the work in 1997, and over the course of 26 years, mechanical elements became worn and algae grew.
Spoiler alert: Visitors who come to the Museum for the exhibition Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980 will find a Volvo in the galleries. Dedicated to the extensive cultural exchange between Scandinavia and the U.S. in the 20th century, the exhibition presents the Volvo and its innovative seatbelts as examples of design for social change.
We at the Milwaukee Art Museum were deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of Isabel Bader, a loss that is greatly felt within our Museum family. A longtime patron and friend of the Museum, Isabel was known for her remarkable passion and steadfast commitment to the arts, which had a profound impact on our institution and our community. For decades the Museum has benefited from the boundless generosity and invaluable support of Isabel, her late husband Dr. Alfred Bader, and the Bader Family’s charitable foundation, Bader Philanthropies, Inc.
True or false: the Museum’s collection galleries always stay the same?
The Milwaukee Art Museum is thrilled to announce our very own Marcelle Polednik, Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director, has been honored with a Milwaukee Business Journal Women of Influence Award for her significant contributions to the arts and our community.
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