Art Art News

Do you like America’s Next Top Model?

Sacrifice PAINTINGS Brown, Iona Rozeal American, b. 1966 2007 Mixed media on framed panel 52 x 38 in. Purchase, with funds from African American Art Alliance and Contemporary Art Society M2007.60
iona rozeal brown (American, b. 1966), sacrifice, 2007. Acrylic and paper on framed panel, 52 x 38 in. (132.08 x 96.52 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from African American Art Alliance and Contemporary Art Society M2007.60. Photo credit John R. Glembin. © iona rozeal brown

So do I.

Which is why I was excited to learn that an artist in the Museum’s permanent collection, iona rozeal brown, is collaborating on a project with America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) guest star Benny Ninja. Ninja is a master of “vogueing” and dramatic posing; his style of dance influenced the iconic Madonna Vogue video.

This past weekend in New York City iona rozeal brown, along with Benny Ninja and Javier Ninja (“House of Ninja”), presented a preview of a Kabuki- and voguing- inspired performance work called the battle of yestermore, which has been commissioned for the Performa 11 Biennial this November 1-20.

You can see an image of a costume designed for brown’s upcoming performance here.

Art Art News Collection Contemporary Curatorial Prints and Drawings

From the Collection–Fab 5 Freddy (Told Me Everybody’s Fly)

Fab 5 Freddy (American, b. 1959), Untitled, 1986. Ink and oil pastel on paper. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Susan L. Strande, M1992.57.

A new exhibition Art in the Streets is on view April 17 to August 8, 2011 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles). The exhibition is the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art and it features an artist in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s permanent collection: Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Braithwaite.

Early on the hip hop scene in Brooklyn, graffiti artist, close friend of Jean-Michel Basquiat, fan of Andy Warhol, and host of “Yo! MTV Raps”, Fab 5 Freddy is a pioneer of the street art genre.

20th and 21st Century Design Art Art News Collection

From the Collection—Toshiko Takaezu

Oil of the Earth

The ceramic artist Toshiko Takaezu generously gave the Milwaukee Art Museum ten of her fine art vessels in 2006.

Today I was nonchalantly compiling information on her life in preparation for a potential display of those vessels, when I was suddenly saddened to read of her recent death on March 9, 2011. In Toshiko Takaezu’s obituary in the New York Times, she is credited with helping “to elevate ceramics from the production of functional vessels to a fine art.”

As one often does when encountered with the loss of either someone close or someone distant but admired (like an artist), I ran through my bank of fond memories.

Art Art News

Packers, Steelers, and Impressionism

Gustave Caillebotte, Boating on the Yerres (Périssoires sur l’Yerres), 1877 (detail). Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Milwaukee Journal Company, in honor of Miss Faye McBeath. Photo by John R. Glembin
Gustave Caillebotte, Boating on the Yerres (Périssoires sur l’Yerres), 1877. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Milwaukee Journal Company, in honor of Miss Faye McBeath. Photo by John R. Glembin

All of my friends and coworkers can attest to just how ridiculously excited I was after the Packers and the Steelers won the playoff games. Full confession, though—it’s not because I’m a football fan. Nah. It’s because I knew this meant my current workplace, Milwaukee Art Museum, of course, and my former workplace, the Carnegie Museum of Art (yep, I’m from the ‘Burgh), would be pitted against each other in the now-annual Super Bowl Art Bet.

Art Art News Events

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: Jan. 31-Feb. 6

Greetings Packers fans! For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with Museum news, the Museum has placed a friendly-but-serious wager on Super Bowl XLV, featuring your Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The wager: If the Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh will loan its Renoir “Bathers with Crab” to the Milwaukee Art Museum. If the Steelers win, the Milwaukee Art Museum will loan its Caillebotte “Boating on the Yerres” to Carnegie for a few months. It’s French Impressionist v. French Impressionist for the Lombardi Trophy and bragging rights this Sunday, February 6.

But before that, come down to the Museum and see the Caillebotte in person! Thursday, Feb. 3 is Target Free First Thursday, and a great opportunity to head down to the lakefront.

Art Art News

American Industrial Design Stamps

2011 "Pioneers of American Industrial Design" postage stamps from

One could say that I’m jumping the gun on this post. But I’ll argue that I’m giving design-lovers six months fair warning, and I can’t contain my excitement: The United States Postal Service has announced their 2011 special stamps. In July we’ll see a sheet celebrating the “Pioneers of American Industrial Design”!

The stamp series honors twelve of the nation’s most important and influential industrial designers. Their combined work encompasses everything from furniture and appliances to office buildings and locomotives, and it shaped the look of everyday life in the 20th century. This new pane of stamps will be “Forever” rate, so I’ll be stocking up to use these for years of rent checks and utility bills.

The stamps are beautifully designed–and they beautifully connect to many design objects in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection.

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.

Art Art News

Bertoia in Limbo?

View of Bertoia sculptures in the Milwaukee Art Museum's Bradley Collection of Modern Art

Check out this article in The New York Times blog about a major work by an artist in the Museum’s Collection, Harry Bertoia (American, b. Italy, 1915–1978). You can see several of his works in person in the Museum’s Bradley Collection of Modern Art on the Upper Level.

Here’s the link: