Categories
Behind the Scenes Education

Community Outreach–The Collaborative Chihuly

A close-up of the Kohl's Color Wheels Chihuly project.
A close-up of the Kohl’s Color Wheels Chihuly project.
As the Kohl’s Color Wheels Team Coordinator, I have the chance to bridge the gap between the Collection and the world outside the Museum walls. I am given the awesome task of working with area schools and art teachers to bring part of the Collection to them. I wanted to share this process through photos of a past event with Shady Lane Elementary.

Categories
Behind the Scenes Education

Voting Counts: The Kohl’s Art Generation Lab

View of the voting stations in the Kohl's Art Generation Lab: Museum Inside Out. Photo by John R. Glembin
View of the voting stations in the Kohl’s Art Generation Lab: Museum Inside Out. Photo by John R. Glembin
The Kohl’s Art Generation Lab—part of the new Kohl’s Education Center, which opened February 25, 2012—is the Museum’s new “technology room” for kids and families. It features an exhibition entitled Museum Inside Out, which takes visitors on a behind-the-scenes tour of different departments at the Museum through high-tech interactives (and some low-tech ones, too). Kids and families can X-ray a painting, choose the frame for a work of art, and “Ask a Curator” their art-related questions. The Kohl’s Art Generation Lab is open during normal Museum hours through August 31, 2013.

One of the higher-tech attractions in the Lab is the Museum’s voting interactive. Five touch-screen monitors each randomly display two artworks side by side; the visitor is instructed to “tap to vote” for his or her favorite work between the two. Upon each selection, the information is collected, the results are tabulated, and two new works are displayed. A larger “leaderboard” screen above the touch-screens displays the current top 20 works in the contest, along with a list of recently selected works.

We started out not knowing how many votes to expect, and we were pretty surprised by the results.

Categories
Art Behind the Scenes

Advice and Praise for Museum Interns

Visitor Services Intern working at the Kahler Information Desk. Photo by Nell Rae.
Volunteer Program Intern Gwen working at the Kahler Information Desk. Photo by Nell Rae.

Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed or lost in my own career trajectory, I remind myself that I have paid some serious dues to get my sensibly-heeled foot in the door of the museum world.

I licked envelopes at the Hudgens Center for the Arts in Georgia when I was a moody, but somewhat artistic high school junior. Soon after I interned at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where my duties included tasks for registrar Frances Francis and helping with family programming for H. Nickels B. Clark (apologies if I have gotten the spellings wrong- it was a LONG time ago).

Another great internship followed the High Museum, I got to work at the Musée du Petit Palais in Geneva, Switzerland while studying abroad. My memories are vague–did I really try to translate French visitor guides into English using my remedial high school language skills? Did I really try to help conserve Karl Gotsch artworks by carefully moving works on paper off of acidic mats to prevent horrible speckling? One thing sticks: My friends were doing political internships at NGOs, curing cancer, and saving the world, but I felt just as meaningful working with art all day in one of the most incredible cities in the world.

What I mean to say about my internships is that they changed my life, and I know I’m not alone.

Categories
Art Curatorial Exhibitions

Looking at “Posters of Paris” Through the Lens of Graphic Design

Jules Chéret, (French, 1836–1932), L'Horloge: Les Girard, 1875/1878 or 1880/1881. Color lithograph. Collection of Jim and Sue Wiechmann. Photo by John R. Glembin.
Jules Chéret, (French, 1836–1932), L’Horloge: Les Girard, 1875/1878 or 1880/1881. Color lithograph. Collection of Jim and Sue Wiechmann. Photo by John R. Glembin.

Even though the exhibition Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec & His Contemporaries may be billed as a fine art retrospective, it also serves as the largest and most extensive graphic design exhibition Milwaukee has ever seen. Featuring posters from the turn of the 20th century, Posters of Paris hearkens back to the roots of the profession. The artworks are situated at a time before “graphic design” was a legitimate term, but well after the world started recognizing the power of arresting visual communication.

And the line-up curator Mary Weaver Chapin has pulled together is impressive. The exhibition includes works by who I’d call the godheads of posters–Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to Leonetto Cappiello and Alphonse Mucha. For a casual observer, or a trained graphic designer, there’s no shortage of exuberant eye candy to indulge in.

Posters of Paris will likely leave you drooling for days.

Categories
Art Museum Buildings

Museums and the Parking Business

Milwaukee’s United Performing Arts Fund “Ride for the Arts” happened along the gorgeous lakefront this weekend. Included was a Milwaukee Art Museum team of bicycle riders including staff, members, friends, family, and neighbors who woke up early on a Sunday morning to ride 25 miles in support of the arts.

To be honest, I joined the ride because it’s fun. But the lines between work and play can blur very easily for non-profit professionals, so I’m going to put on my Director of Visitor Services hat and talk to you a little bit about how I see bicycles, cars, and all things public access.

Because “parking” is a part of my job description at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Categories
Behind the Scenes Education

Young Authors and Artists Celebration

Eva Hesse (American, b. Germany, 1936–1970) Right After, 1969 Fiberglass approximately: 5 x 18 x 4 ft (152.39 x 548.61 x 121.91 cm) Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Friends of Art M1970.27  Photo credit P. Richard Eells © The Estate of Eva Hesse. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Eva Hesse (American, b. Germany, 1936–1970)
Right After, 1969
Fiberglass
approximately: 5 x 18 x 4 ft (152.39 x 548.61 x 121.91 cm)
Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Friends of Art M1970.27
Photo credit P. Richard Eells
© The Estate of Eva Hesse. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Each fall, students in grades 3-12 from across the state of Wisconsin descend upon the Milwaukee Art Museum to participate in the Young Authors and Artists Conference. Young writers and artists use the Museum as inspiration for creating a narrative or artwork in this one-day, statewide conference. Through brainstorming, drafting, revising, and working with teachers and peers, they produce a compilation manuscript with artwork that is published!

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial Modern

From Joan Miró to Easter – Six Degrees of Separation

Joán Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983), The King's Jester (Le Fou Du Roi), 1926. Oil, pencil and charcoal on canvas; 45 x 57 1/2 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice W. Berger M1966.142. Photo credit John Nienhuis, Dedra Walls © Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.
Joán Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983), The King's Jester (Le Fou Du Roi), 1926. Oil, pencil and charcoal on canvas; 45 x 57 1/2 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice W. Berger M1966.142.
Photo credit John Nienhuis, Dedra Walls © Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

Since Easter is Sunday, I thought it would be fitting to write an Easter-themed blog post for the occasion. But other than choosing a piece of art depicting the crucifixion of Christ, I wasn’t exactly sure how I could approach the topic.

Therefore in the spirit of Easter egg hunts I have decided to make a two-fold hunt of my own to find out more about pieces in the Museum’s collection as well as creating a post that is related to the holiday.

Let’s use a little game by the name of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” (or more simply “Six Degrees of Separation”) to relate a non-Easter-themed work of art to the holiday!

Categories
Education

Teens and Art: An Intern’s Experience

Gabby made pies inspired by Wayne Thiebaud's "Refrigerator Pies."
Gabby made pies inspired by Wayne Thiebaud's "Refrigerator Pies."

This past semester, I was fortunate enough to have a talented, dedicated art education student named Jessica Janzer interning as a teaching assistant for the Satellite High School Program. Jessica worked hard every Thursday and Friday on all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating a program, and also taught one of the sessions. As part of her internship, she wrote the below blog post reflecting on the program. I’m thrilled that Jessica will continue to intern with me in the spring semester, too! –Chelsea Kelly, School & Teacher Programs Manager

The Milwaukee Art Museum. To most, the Museum is a beautiful and almost untouchable place – a place of high class and good taste, and of course, it is also Milwaukee’s most attractive asset. When I saw an internship opening there, I promptly jumped on the opportunity. The fact that I would be working at the Museum excited me, but I was intrigued even further when I learned it would be in the Education Department!

Categories
Art Collection Curatorial Prints and Drawings

A one-hour exhibition: “Winter Scenes Across the Ages”

East Side Street in Winter Richard H. Jansen  n.d. Gouache sheet: 17 1/4 x 23 3/4 in. (43.82 x 60.33 cm)  Layton Art Collection, Gift of Layton Art League
Richard H. Jansen (American, 1910–1988), East Side Street in Winter, n.d. Gouache sheet: 17 1/4 x 23 3/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of Layton Art League, L1948.2.

Last week I had the opportunity to drop in on a new event at the Museum. It was a one-hour exhibition featuring “Winter Scenes Across the Ages” from the prints and drawings collection. It was a perfect winter day, all blizzardy as I walked to my internship at the Museum. A better setting could not have been wished for to coincide with the winter theme of the pop-up exhibition.

I had encountered this event through the Museum’s Web site, on the Calendar + Events page. I try to check it regularly as not to miss out on the numerous special programs that are available. I was thrilled at the  opportunity to encounter art that is so rarely seen by the public (how exciting!) And, as someone interested in the inner workings of museums, I thought it was simply a brilliant idea! Museums try to find new ways to engage the public and share their collections, and to me this seemed like a lively way to see prints and drawings based on a timely issue. In this case: Winter!

Categories
American Art Collection Curatorial

From Museum Storage–Elihu Vedder’s “Star of Bethlehem”

Elihu Vedder (American, 1836–1923) Star of Bethlehem, 1879–80 . Oil on canvas; 36 3/16 x 44 3/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Montgomery Sears, M1925.2
Elihu Vedder (American, 1836–1923), Star of Bethlehem, 1879–80 . Oil on canvas; 36 3/16 x 44 3/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Montgomery Sears, M1925.2.

Thanksgiving has come and gone and you know what that means – the “holiday” season is officially upon us!

If you hadn’t already experienced  red and green decorations and Christmas music vying for your attention in October before your pumpkin could be carved, then surely by now, during this week of creative reuse of turkey, you have noticed that December’s holiday mania has set in.

Cue: Sweaty palms, anxiety over what gifts to buy, and finding time to do get it all done. All so that you can have a merry, happy, snowy holiday celebration full of family, friends, food, gifts, etc…whew!

The frantic holiday scene I’ve described is starkly in contrast to the peaceful one we find in Star of Bethlehem created by American painter Elihu Vedder in 1879-80.