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Art Collection Collection Reflection Curatorial Photography and Media Arts

Collection Reflection: Curator Lisa Sutcliffe on John Houck

Two glass jars, one with paint and one with water and a brush
John Houck, First Set, 2015 (detail). Inkjet print. Image and sheet: 21 1/2 × 27 1/2 in. (54.61 × 69.85 cm). Purchase, with funds in memory of Betty Croasdaile and John E. Julien, M2016.76. Photo courtesy of On Stellar Rays, New York, New York. © John Houck
Two glass jars, one with paint and one with water and a brush
John Houck, First Set, 2015 (detail). Inkjet print. Image and sheet: 21 1/2 × 27 1/2 in. (54.61 × 69.85 cm). Purchase, with funds in memory of Betty Croasdaile and John E. Julien, M2016.76. Photo courtesy of On Stellar Rays, New York, New York. © John Houck

We invite you to join us as each curator focuses on a single work of art, exploring both that object and how the object speaks to the collection as a whole, as well as to the chosen theme in particular.

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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.

In the exhibition Photographing Nature’s Cathedrals: Carleton E. Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge, and H.H. Bennett, an image by Henry Hamilton Bennett illustrates the acknowledgement of the unseen Native American presence within the Wisconsin Dells landscape. Looking out from Black Hawk’s Cave is one example of Bennett labeling his photographs with fictional place names and after real historical figures. Bennett used the Sauk Chief’s name in an effort to sell a romanticized American Indian legend to tourists. 

Categories
Art Collection Contemporary Photography and Media Arts

From the Collection: Taxi Ride to Sarah’s Studio by Jim Campbell

Illuminated wires with square blocks that start densely packed on the left and slowly get more sparse
Jim Campbell (American, b. 1956), Taxi Ride to Sarah’s Studio, 2010. LEDs, wire, custom electronics. Milwaukee Art Museum, purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Art Society, M2011.25. Photo by John R. Glembin. © Jim Campbell
Illuminated wires with square blocks that start densely packed on the left and slowly get more sparse
Jim Campbell (American, b. 1956), Taxi Ride to Sarah’s Studio, 2010. LEDs, wire, custom electronics. Milwaukee Art Museum, purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Art Society, M2011.25. Photo by John R. Glembin. © Jim Campbell

It’s not unusual to see the work of an engineer at an art museum—especially here in Milwaukee. From the first step under the stunning Brise Soleil in the Quadracci Pavilion of the Milwaukee Art Museum, it becomes clear that an incredible mind must have devised this unique building. But what you may not know is that inside this engineering marvel, there is artwork by another artist with an engineering background: Jim Campbell’s Taxi Ride to Sarah’s Studio.