Functional Fashions

*Within the disability community today, some may prefer identity-first language (e.g., “disabled person”), or person-first language (e.g., “person with a disability”). Because the curators do not know the preferences of the historical subjects in the “Functional Fashions” display, they chose to use identity-first language based on the recommendations of collaborators.

The mistaken belief that there is no history of clothing designs for disabled users has had a number of repercussions. Among them: nearly all designers treat their own iterations as inaugural, there has been a dearth of innovation as designs are continuously repeated, and disability-led innovation is written out of the historical record [1]. Not only is there a long history of clothing designed by and for disabled persons, but in some cases it sets a higher standard than the efforts that followed. “Functional Fashions,” a display in the 20th- and 21st-Century Design Galleries at the Milwaukee Art Museum, introduces the largest collaborative clothing line for disabled persons in American history.

FF 1

Installation view, “Functional Fashions,” Milwaukee Art Musuem, 2019.

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May Is Member Month

Members—May is all about you! The Milwaukee Art Museum is so thankful for your support throughout the year, and to show our appreciation, we are giving you a full month of added benefits, special offers, and extra Member-only events.


Bring an additional guest to the Museum for FREE during each visit this month. Share your love of MAM with a family member or friend—especially if they’ve never visited the Museum before.

Café Calatrava, Windhover Coffee, and the East End Café

Take advantage of 20% off food and beverage* purchases all month long. Whether you’re looking to recharge with a coffee or linger over a gourmet lunch, our cafés are sure to satisfy.

*Excludes alcohol

Museum Store

Receive 20% off your full purchase* every Thursday in May, plus free shipping on online orders over $25 (after discount).

*Discount cannot be combined with any other offers or vouchers.

Member Events

Enjoy special Member-only events throughout the month, starting with Member Swap Day on May 5. For one day only, receive free general admission to a number of area museums when you show your Milwaukee Art Museum Member card.

Reserve your spot on May’s Member Trip to Crab Tree Farm, a dairy farm turned lakeside estate in Lake Bluff, Illinois. Inspired by the exhibition Charles Radtke: Contained, the trip will not only highlight the estate’s eclectic architecture, but also the stunning furniture housed on the property.

New and long-time Members alike can learn more about utilizing a Museum membership at the Member Morning: Orientation on May 19. Enjoy early access to Windhover Coffee, followed by an hour-long orientation and tour.

We close out Member Month with the Annual Members’ Meeting on May 28. Join us as we celebrate our accomplishments and look ahead to the Museum’s future. RSVP by Monday, May 20.

Thank you for helping the Museum remain an important space for education, creativity, and inspiration. We hope you, as Members, feel special not just this month, but every time you walk through our doors.

Not a Member? Join today, and start taking advantage of all the benefits of membership.

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How Can You Support MAM? Nine Ways to Make a Difference

How did we maintain 65,340 square feet of granite plazas, fill 39,913 square feet of exhibition space, and inspire 355,878 visitors in the past year? With your help! As a private nonprofit, the Milwaukee Art Museum relies on the generous support of its Members, donors, visitors, and volunteers.

No matter what you’re able to do, there are so many ways to help the Museum remain a source of learning, inspiration, and creativity—from a one-time donation to year-long membership. Read below to learn all the ways you can show your support (and have fun at the same time).

1. Visit the Museum.

Explore thousands of inspiring artworks in the Collection Galleries and so much more. The cost of your admission ticket helps support the conservation, preservation, and maintenance of the Museum’s Collection—and includes all special exhibitions in one price. Ticket revenue only covers about 10% of the Museum’s costs.

2. Become a Member.

Members not only get exclusive access and great benefits for an entire year—they also directly support Museum exhibitions and programming. Your ongoing support makes it easy to stop by any time, and helps underwrite important activities that keep the Museum running. Join today.

3. Make an annual donation.

Help the Museum continue to inspire for years to come. Your donation strengthens the ability of the Museum to plan ahead, connect to the community, and truly make it a resource for everyone in Milwaukee. You can donate online at any time. Have a project, program, or exhibition you’re passionate about? Consider becoming an official sponsor, as an individual or as a brand. Contact for all the opportunities.

4. Shop in the Museum Store.

Find creative gifts or something to commemorate your visit. All proceeds benefit the Museum’s general fund, making everything from building clean-up to art conservation possible. And wearing, carrying, sipping from, or sending something that shows your MAM pride helps us get the word out. Shop on-site or online.

5. Grab a bite at the Museum’s cafés.

Indulge in a gourmet meal at Café Calatrava, recharge with a latté at Windhover Coffee, or linger with a light lunch at the East End Café. The East End also hosts happy hour every Thursday, from 5–7:30 p.m., making it a great spot to stop off after work. Members receive a 10% discount on all food and beverages*—every day.

*Excludes alcohol

6. Attend an event.

Sip on a cocktail while taking in a stunning view of Lake Michigan, enjoy hands-on art projects with the whole family, practice mindfulness, or dance to live music under the Museum’s iconic “wings,” all while simultaneously supporting Museum programs. Check out the calendar to see all the upcoming events and happenings that would be perfect for you. Events are also a great way to introduce a friend who’s never been to the Museum to experience it for themselves.

7. Book a tour.

Make your own event a Museum event. Discover engaging tours for every sort of visitor—from animal-themed school tours to grown-up tours that end with a cold beer. Bond with coworkers, engage students’ imaginations, or celebrate a bachelorette. Contact to get started.

8. Help or host an online fundraiser.

You can donate right on Facebook or start a fundraiser for your birthday. Spending time, and money, on Amazon? Select the Milwaukee Art Museum as your charity on and they will donate 0.5% of your purchases to the Museum, at no extra cost to you. Every dollar, and new donor, makes a difference to the Museum.

9. Tell someone.

If you’re reading this, you probably know how special the Milwaukee Art Museum is. But there are many people, including those living in Milwaukee, who haven’t experienced the Museum yet.

Invite a friend, write a review, or tell a neighbor what about the Museum excites you. Tell someone who thinks they can’t afford the Museum about Meijer Free First Thursdays or the Access Membership program. Thank a sponsor for supporting the Museum, a program you care about, or an exhibition you loved.

Help the Milwaukee Art Museum truly be Milwaukee’s art museum so that we can continue to act as an important resource for the city, the region, and the world for years to come.

Thanks for all that you do to support the Museum. However you help, we’re proud to be your art museum.

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20th-Century Tools for Measuring Time and Bodies

Isamu Noguchi for Measured Time, Inc., Clock and Kitchen Timer, ca. 1932. Bakelite, metal, glass, and painted metal. Gift from the George R. Kravis II Collection M2018.246. Photo: Sotheby’s, © Sotheby’s, Inc. 2016, © 2017 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Isamu Noguchi for Measured Time, Inc., Clock and Kitchen Timer, ca. 1932. Bakelite, metal, glass, and painted metal. Gift from the George R. Kravis II Collection M2018.246. Photo: Sotheby’s, © Sotheby’s, Inc. 2016, © 2017 The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Clocks, calculators, measuring tapes, and scales—tools for measurement and calculation have long been important for people to accomplish tasks at work, school, and home. A new display in the 20th- and 21st-Century Design Galleries considers the role designers played in shaping such devices in the twentieth century, with examples from the 1920s-1980s. On one hand, these objects demonstrate how many designers aimed to make tools that are simple to use and easy to read, such as the streamlined kitchen clock and timer that Isamu Noguchi designed for Measured Time, Inc. in the early 1930s. At the same time, these designs bring to light how measurement and calculation have been closely linked to the human body in the twentieth century, as this post explores.

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The Herzfeld Center: Championing Women Artists

Since its opening in 2015, the Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts has proudly featured many world-renowned female artists working in photography, film, video, and digital media, specifically through solo exhibitions and special programming. These initiatives contribute to an institution-wide effort to highlight more women artists, challenging the art world’s male-dominated past.

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we are looking back at some of the most recent Herzfeld Center exhibitions that have focused on women artists. Read below to learn more.

Sara Cwynar: Image Model Muse
March 8–July 21, 2019

Sara Cwynar, Tracy (Cezanne), 2017. Dye sublimation print on aluminum mounted on Dibond, 43 x 54 in. Courtesy of the artist, Cooper Cole, Toronto, Foxy Production, New York. © Sara Cwynar

Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Sara Cwynar (b. 1985) explores through film and photography the subjects of color and design, the ways that they operate politically, socially, and historically, particularly in the context of how we conceptualize beauty. This first U.S. solo museum exhibition for the artist presents three of her latest films—Soft Film (2016), Rose Gold (2017), and Cover Girl (2018)—together with photographs from her ongoing Tracy series.

Co-organized with the Minneapolis Institute of Art


Supporting Sponsor:
Live Wire Productions

Exhibitions in the Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts sponsored by:
Herzfeld Foundation
Madeleine and David Lubar

John and Murph Burke
Sheldon and Marianne Lubar Charitable Fund
Mr. and Mrs. Joel Quadracci
Sue and Bud Selig
Mr. Jeffrey Yabuki

Helen Levitt: In the Street
January 27–April 16, 2017

Helen Levitt (American, 1913–2009), New York, ca. 1939. Gelatin silver print. Gift of Marvin Hoshino M2016.157. Photo by: John R. Glembin

American photographer Helen Levitt (1913–2009) captured the life of New York City’s sidewalks for over five decades, revealing through her work a unique “way of seeing” (the title of her 1965 book) rather than an overt message. This exhibition presented early black-and-white photographs, later color work, and Levitt’s film In the Street (1952).

Rineke Dijkstra: Rehearsals
September 9, 2016–January 1, 2017

Leading contemporary artist Rineke Dijkstra is internationally praised for her elegant and sensitive photographic and video work. This exhibition featured two of the Dutch artist’s large-scale video installations—portraits of young dancers during the precious years of early adolescence.

Penelope Umbrico: Future Perfect
May 5–August 7, 2016

Penelope Umbrico (American, b. 1957) 30,240,577 Suns from Sunsets from Flickr (Partial) 03/04/16, 2016. 1,512 chromogenic prints, dimensions variable. Purchase, with funds from The Moore Family Trust M2015.78 © Penelope Umbrico

Embracing the flood of images available in the Internet age, contemporary artist Penelope Umbrico sifts through millions of images shared on Craigslist, Flickr, and other social media sites and appropriates them as source material for her work. This exhibition featured over 30 photo-based installations—comprising nearly 5,000 individual images—along with photographs, videos, and books that trace Umbrico’s obsessive systems of inquiry and online research since 2006.

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