Ever wondered what it’s like to experience a religious epiphany? Just walk into Gallery 6 and look to Francisco de Zurbarán’s St. Francis of Assisi in His Tomb, one of the great masterpieces in the Museum’s Collection. St. Francis towers above us in a massive, stark painting, lit only by unseen torchlight, his face hidden and a skull cradled in his palms. The space is unclear, the colors muted. He is monumental, and walks towards us: his foot pokes out of his robes, entering into our space. When I stand in front of this painting, I always feel like I should take a step back and get out of his way.
Satellite students have been tagging, talking, and sketching in the past two weeks at the Museum. Traveling through Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and France (virtually, of course), we’ve looked at figural paintings, portraits, and still lifes, and have even done some time-traveling to compare artwork hundreds of years apart.
I recently had the opportunity to represent the Milwaukee Art Museum at the Fine Furnishings & Fine Craft Show held at The Garage at the Harley-Davidson Museum. First of all—what a great venue! If you haven’t yet been to the Harley-Davidson Museum, the cool industrial architecture is definitely worth checking out. Also, the Show was a perfectly timed experience for me, with the European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century exhibition open at the same time at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Our exhibition explores notions of design as either primarily for function, or for a more conceptual idea. I was able to see more examples of how craft and design intersect at the Fine Furnishings Show. Apart from one prototype plastic chair, the objects there demonstrate a beautiful melding of function and handcrafted one-of-kind design.
In honor of the upcoming celebration for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite rare books in the Museum’s Collection, the Monografía: Las Obras de José Guadalupe Posada, Grabador Mexicano. This first edition monograph, published in 1930, includes 406 of the estimated 20,000 works cut by the illustrator and engraver José Guadalupe Posada (Mexican, 1851–1913).
Attention art lovers: The Art Auction, sponsored by the Museum’s Contemporary Art Society, is happening this Saturday, October 23. Place your bids on over 150 items up for auction, currently on display in the Contemporary Galleries. The Art Auction is a semi-annual event that raises money to benefit new acquisitions for the Museum. Don’t miss out! Tickets are still available.