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Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions Photography and Media Arts

Curating Ho-Chunk Objects in Mrs. M.—’s Cabinet at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Painting of a brown, woven basket
Egg basket (circa 1900).
Egg basket (circa 1900).
Egg basket (circa 1900).

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.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection: The Martyrdom of St. Justina of Padua by Domenico Brusasorci

Attributed to Domenico Brusasorci (Italian, ca. 1516–1567), Martyrdom of St. Justina of Padua, mid–16th century. Oil on slate. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Myron Laskin Jr. M2016.117 Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Attributed to Domenico Brusasorci (Italian, ca. 1516–1567), Martyrdom of St. Justina of Padua, mid–16th century. Oil on slate. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Myron Laskin Jr. M2016.117 Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Images of women martyrs have always been popular in art. Their stories are ripe with dramatic moments that capture the imaginations of both artist and audience. The subject also offers examples of moral virtue. Images of martyrs could be used as teaching tools for women in the early modern era, visually showcasing the moral ideals that they should embody.

Because of this didactic nature, female martyrs are often depicted in one of two ways: the moment of her martyrdom, or as if a portrait, surrounded by symbols. Showcasing the female martyr in the moment of her death offers the audience a dramatic story, while a portrait clearly illustrates the appropriate virtues for the viewer.

The subjects of today’s post, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s recent acquisition The Martyrdom of St. Justina of Padua, will let us look at this subject matter more closely.

Categories
20th and 21st Century Design Art Curatorial Exhibitions

John J. Reiss: Artist, Designer, and Collector

John J. Reiss, photographed for Wisconsin Architect, January 1968
John J. Reiss, photographed for Wisconsin Architect, January 1968

Milwaukee has been home to many talented designers over the years, but they often fly under the radar. A designer’s main concern is to convey a message or idea on behalf of a client; one’s identity is secondary, but a talented designer finds a way to stand out.

John J. Reiss is one such designer. He was born in Milwaukee in 1922, and while he spent some time in New York, Milwaukee was ultimately where he made his home and his mark. As a design associate for the Milwaukee Art Center (now the Milwaukee Art Museum), he created many of the exhibition catalogues, invitations, and advertisements in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. However, he won recognition on a national and international level as well.

Categories
Art

Social before Social Media: Paul Druecke: A Social Event Archive, 1997–2007

The exhibition Paul Druecke: A Social Event Archive, 1997–2007 has been extended until August 27th! Come discover this Milwaukee artist’s project that looks at how “social” was defined in the era before social media.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: The Annuciation by Hendrick Goltzius

Winged woman holding flowers out to a pregnant woman with cupids above
Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558–1617), The Annunciation, from the series The Life of the Virgin, 1594 (detail). Engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Graf M1980.233. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558–1617), The Annunciation, from the series The Life of the Virgin, 1594. Engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Graf M1980.233. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558–1617), The Annunciation, from the series The Life of the Virgin, 1594. Engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher Graf M1980.233. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 30) is Alluring Artifice: Mannerism in the Sixteenth Century. The show features 30 prints that explore Mannerism, a movement that emerged in European art around 1510–20 and lasted until about 1600. Characterized by densely packed compositions and a focus on the human form, the style resulted in images that are deliberately challenging in both design and technique. One of the prints featured in the show is The Annunciation, an engraving by the Dutch master printmaker Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617).

Over the years, people that I meet have asked me what I am working on, and I usually reply that I was reading a book on art history. At one point I said that to my mathematics teacher from high school. He turned his head quickly and said confidently, “Like about Da Vinci?”

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European

From the Collection: Francisco de Zurbarán’s “Saint Francis of Assisi in His Tomb”

Man in brown hooded robe looking down at a skull in his hands
Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, 1598–1664), Saint Francis of Assisi in His Tomb, 1630/34 (detail). Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase. Photo by John R. Glembin

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s painting by Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, 1598–1664), Saint Francis of Assisi in His Tomb, has been popular with museum goers since it entered the collection in 1958. This is probably not surprising, since Zurbarán’s work is infused with a humanity that connects instantly with viewers.

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial European Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

From the Collection: Preparations for the Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche by Diana Mantuana

Scene of people laying around and eating, drinking, and talking
Diana Mantuana (Italian, ca. 1547–1612), after Giulio Romano (Italian, probably 1499–1546), Preparations for the Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche, 1575 (detail). Engraving. Plate and sheet: 14 13/16 × 44 1/8 in. (37.62 × 112.08 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the DASS Fund M2013.34. Photo credit by John R. Glembin.
Scene of people laying around and eating, drinking, and talking
Diana Mantuana (Italian, ca. 1547–1612), after Giulio Romano (Italian, probably 1499–1546). Preparations for the Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche, 1575. Engraving. Plate and sheet: 14 13/16 × 44 1/8 in. (37.62 × 112.08 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the DASS Fund M2013.34. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 30) is Alluring Artifice: Mannerism in the Sixteenth Century. The show features 30 prints that explore Mannerism, a movement that emerged in European art around 1510-20 and lasted until about 1600. Characterized by densely packed compositions and a focus on the human form, the style resulted in images that are deliberately challenging in both design and technique. One of the prints featured in the show is Preparations for the Wedding Banquet of Cupid and Psyche, an important recent acquisition by the Italian female engraver Diana Mantuana (ca. 1547–1612), who is sometimes referred to as Diana Scultori. 

Categories
20th and 21st Century Design Art Collection Curatorial Exhibitions Prints and Drawings

John Rieben’s Homage to Josef Müller-Brockmann

Polar bear growling next to text that says Chicago has two great zoos
John Rieben (American, b. 1935), Chicago Has Two Great Zoos, 1965–1966. Photolithograph. 50 × 35 in. (127 × 88.9 cm). Lent by John Rieben.
Polar bear growling next to text that says Chicago has two great zoos
John Rieben (American, b. 1935), Chicago Has Two Great Zoos, 1965–1966. Photolithograph. 50 × 35 in. (127 × 88.9 cm). Lent by John Rieben.

The exhibition currently on view in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Bradley Family Gallery (through June 25) is How Posters Work. On Thursday, April 6, 2017, the museum hosted a program in conjunction with the exhibition called Local Luminaries: Poster Provocation. This gallery tour welcomed luminaries from the Milwaukee area to share their unique perspectives about the works in the show.

 John Rieben, graphic designer and professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, could not be present for the program due to inclement weather. We are happy to share his thoughts below:

I would like to spend a few minutes talking about my design hero and inspiration, Josef Müller-Brockmann. I think the greatest of the poster makers were [Toulouse] Lautrec, Cassandre, and Müller-Brockmann. Müller-Brockman, however, was more than a poster maker. He was the leading protagonist of a new way of visual communication, which became a worldwide movement that affected virtually every designer in the profession and every commercial message. It became known as Swiss Design.

Categories
Art

#ASocialEventArchive Opens!

Paul Druecke: A Social Event Archive, 1997-2007
Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts
May 12 – August 13, 2017

In 1997, Milwaukee native Paul Druecke (American, b. 1964) initiated A Social Event Archive by going door to door, inviting residents to contribute their personal snapshots of a “social occasion, public or private, current or historical” to his Archive. After ten years, he had 731 pictures. Drawn from disparate family albums and shoeboxes, the photographs in the Archive—removed from their original contexts and stripped of any personal associations—suggest universal stories and a larger narrative about cultural modes of socializing. A picture from a daughter’s birthday or a cousin’s wedding has become an example of a social gathering in Midwestern America at the end of the twentieth century. Through Druecke’s democratic system of participation, individuals freely chose which pictures to contribute, but while helping construct the collective, the images were at the same time subsumed by it, revealing the inherently complicated and dissonant nature of an archive.

Guidelines for contributing:
One photo contribution per person.
The photos should be no larger than 4×6”—b&w or color snapshots.
The photos must document a social occasion, public or private, and can be current or historical.
Inclusion of Title, Date, and Contributor’s name is encouraged.
The photos are archived in the order received.
The photos will not be returned.
Submission indicates agreement to participate in all presentations of the Archive.

With A Social Event Archive, Druecke sought to create a sociological typology that might capture how social interactions are collectively photographed, shared, and commemorated. The project, marking its twentieth anniversary, predates Instagram and Facebook but predicted the blurring of private and public that such social media platforms allow. Our performances for the camera—congregating, posing, and smiling—have since become practiced and conditioned by the knowledge of a wider audience. The advent of digital photography has also changed the way we interact with pictures: no longer primarily physical objects, they are now more often encountered on-screen in a public context than as prints in private albums. Druecke’s project encapsulates an American past just before this dramatic cultural shift.

In the exhibition catalogue, critic Lori Waxman notes, “Those are other people’s families and friends and events. That they seem to look so much like mine gives me pause.” On the occasion of this exhibition, we are examining how social occasion photographs and their circulation online have evolved over time.

— Lisa  J. Sutcliffe, Curator of Photography and Media Arts

In celebration of the exhibition, we’re inviting you to share the first image you uploaded to a public site: Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, MySpace, etc. Please share on the platform of your choice using #ASocialEventArchive @MilwaukeeArt.
 
In the comments please describe why you originally posted this picture, what event it captures, and how it is different from what you might share now.  Below are examples.  

@ljssf       189720_1002817663623_9081_n.jpg

My first Facebook profile pic from 2008 is a stark contrast to the red square I use today. When I first joined Facebook, I shared personal posts (like this picture taken after a picnic in Point Reyes, California) with friends. Now that I am more aware of how much the personal and professional intersect online, I’m hesitant to post private information. I almost never share pictures of myself and would never post something so spontaneous now.   – Lisa Sutcliffe, Curator of Photography and Media Art

 

  @anyway_pate   16835_100969106599737_4629633_n (1).jpg

First profile pic after a friend gifted me a Facebook account for Christmas in 2009. I was really uncomfortable with having an online presence, and likely googled “cool pattern” to find a stand-in image to use… I just reverse image searched it, and it’s actually a screenprint by a New Zealand artist, Richard Killeen, “Tropical Pattern” 1978—info I’d include nowadays if I was reposting someone else’s artwork!

 

@thegreengallery  image1 (1) (1).JPG

This pic was posted on Myspace, probably taken on a digital camera around 2000. I don’t think any planning went into this pic. The keyboard and headset are plugged into my backpack for good social media luck and digital longevity down the long meandering web road.

 

Categories
20th and 21st Century Design Art Curatorial

And All That Jazz!

What did socialites in Milwaukee read during the jazz age of the late 1920s?

Well, naturally, everyone was reading The Modern Milwaukeean!

The magazine circulated from September of 1928 through the spring of 1930 and billed itself as the key publication for keeping up with the latest technological trends and everything modern. It proposed modernity as a way of life, but what really set The Modern Milwaukeean apart was its modern graphic design.