When you look at the painting below, what do you see? American artist Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) was an Abstract Expressionist;these artists used line, shape, and color to express themselves.
Frankenthaler invented her own painting technique, which she called “soak staining.” First, she added turpentine to her oil paints to make them thinner (and very runny!). Then, she laid a cotton canvas flat on the floor, and poured, dripped, and brushed the paint onto its surface. Since her canvases were unprimed, or raw, the paint soaked into the fabric.
This weekend, take to your sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots to create bright, joyful chalk art! We’re joining with the Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA) and many other arts organizations throughout the state to encourage a weekend of outdoor art making. Spread positive messages to family, friends, and neighbors—or create your own masterpiece, inspired by works in the Museum’s collection!
Many famous artists have used chalk to make both sketches and finished works of art. To create the drawing below, Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) used pastels. Pastels are made from pigment, or color, and chalk; the two are blended and held together with a binder. Picasso’s pastel drawing of a rooster shows many of the special things you can do with this material. Use sidewalk chalk to make a drawing outdoors. Save pastels for drawing on paper!
Here are some tips and tricks for working with chalk and pastels:
The artistic talent of Lois Mailou Jones (1905–1988) was recognized at an early age. She received a wide range of encouragement, including scholarships to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, in her native Boston, and after graduating with honors, she assumed teaching was a likely next step. But, in what was the first of several rejections in an openly racist society, she was told to go south and help “her people.”
This year the Milwaukee Art Museum celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the Mrs. Harry L. Bradley Collection. Upon its donation in 1975, the collection elevated the status of the Milwaukee Art Museum from a local art museum to a museum with a world-class collection.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) is not usually considered a political artist. His favorite artistic subjects were still-lifes, portraits, harlequins, and other seemingly uncontroversial images.
But in some key instances, world events were an important influence on him. We don’t have to look far to find an example: the Milwaukee Art Museum’s The Cock of the Liberation (Le Coq de la Liberation), painted by Picasso in 1944.
Comparing the painting by Chaïm Soutine (Russian, 1893–1943, active in France) in the Modern Rebels show (Carcass of Beef) with the one in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection (Children and Geese, seen at left), it is almost difficult to believe that the two works are by the same artist. The former depicts the body of a cow, flayed open from neck to tail, its scarlet inner organs glistening vividly against the shadowed blue background. In contrast, the artwork within Milwaukee’s own collection is a simple rural scene: a young boy and girl walking down a country path, with abstract brushstrokes suggesting a flock of white geese beside them.
A shockingly graphic image of blood and death versus an innocent, bucolic portrayal of childhood. How could these two works have been painted by the same artist?
Only one artwork from the Milwaukee Art Museum’s own collection is displayed as part of the newly-opened Modern Rebels exhibition: Wassily Kandinsky’s Fragment I for Composition VII. When one reads the title of the equally vibrant artwork from the Albright-Knox Gallery hung next to it, the reason for its inclusion becomes instantly clear.
Fragment I for Composition VII, meet Fragment II for Composition VII.
Modern art is no exception. We have to look no further than the sculptures of Jacques Lipchitz (1891–1973).
Jacques Lipchitz was a Jewish artist from France who was born in Lithuania. He was classically trained in Paris, although he soon worked in a cubist style, such as Sailor with Guitar in the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
Now that it’s finally starting to feel like summer, let’s talk about dandelions. Sure, they’re technically weeds, and you probably don’t want them taking over your lawn. But it’s fun to make wishes on the white puffy ones, even if it does scatter seeds and just increases the dandelion population exponentially.
Though the soaring wings of the dramatic Santiago Calatrava building sometimes steal the show, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Quadracci Pavilion is just one of two internationally significant architectural gems here on the Museum campus.
Modernist architect Eero Saarinen (American, b. Finland 1910–1961) is known for dramatic design accomplishments like the St. Louis Gateway Arch (1965), JFK Airport’s TWA Flight Center terminal (1962), and the iconic “Tulip chair” (1955). He took over the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center commission at the death of his father, Eliel Saarinen (Finnish, 1873–1950). The designs called for an arts complex that would “Honor the Dead by Serving the Living,” including a museum, performing arts center, and veterans’ memorial.
On the western facade of Saarinen’s Modernist concrete, steel, and glass floating cruciform is a purple and blue tile mosaic. You probably see this mural best when driving toward the building on Mason Street.
I had been working in this stunning building for several years before I finally paused to ask: What is that mosaic? What do the letters mean? Who is the artist?