From the Collection–Porcelain Tankards

Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (Dresden, Germany, established 1710), Possibly Johann Gregorius Horoldt (German, 1696-1775), Tankard, ca. 1725. Glazed porcelain, polychrome overglaze decoration, gilding, and brass. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation, M1995.2. Photo: John  Glembin

Meissen Porcelain Manufactory (Dresden, Germany, established 1710), Possibly Johann Gregorius Horoldt (German, 1696-1775), Tankard, ca. 1725. Glazed porcelain, polychrome overglaze decoration, gilding, and brass. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the René von Schleinitz Foundation, M1995.2. Photo: John Glembin

[Last month, the Milwaukee Art Museum put on view three important Meissen tankards. Learn more about two of them with this re-posted entry from 2014.]

Previously, we demystified tin-glazed earthenware while putting it into a historical context. In this post, we’ll figure out the magic behind the material that tin-glazed earthenware attempted to fill in for: porcelain.

Introduced to Europe from China in the fourteenth century, porcelain was the most elegant and fascinating of materials. It was pristine, white yet translucent, and although it was thin and light-weight, it was also amazingly strong and durable. In other words, it was everything that tin-glazed earthenware and stoneware was not. Continue reading

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#ASocialEventArchive Opens!

Paul Druecke: A Social Event Archive, 1997-2007
Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts
May 12 – August 13, 2017

In 1997, Milwaukee native Paul Druecke (American, b. 1964) initiated A Social Event Archive by going door to door, inviting residents to contribute their personal snapshots of a “social occasion, public or private, current or historical” to his Archive. After ten years, he had 731 pictures. Drawn from disparate family albums and shoeboxes, the photographs in the Archive—removed from their original contexts and stripped of any personal associations—suggest universal stories and a larger narrative about cultural modes of socializing. A picture from a daughter’s birthday or a cousin’s wedding has become an example of a social gathering in Midwestern America at the end of the twentieth century. Through Druecke’s democratic system of participation, individuals freely chose which pictures to contribute, but while helping construct the collective, the images were at the same time subsumed by it, revealing the inherently complicated and dissonant nature of an archive.

Guidelines for contributing:
One photo contribution per person.
The photos should be no larger than 4×6”—b&w or color snapshots.
The photos must document a social occasion, public or private, and can be current or historical.
Inclusion of Title, Date, and Contributor’s name is encouraged.
The photos are archived in the order received.
The photos will not be returned.
Submission indicates agreement to participate in all presentations of the Archive.

With A Social Event Archive, Druecke sought to create a sociological typology that might capture how social interactions are collectively photographed, shared, and commemorated. The project, marking its twentieth anniversary, predates Instagram and Facebook but predicted the blurring of private and public that such social media platforms allow. Our performances for the camera—congregating, posing, and smiling—have since become practiced and conditioned by the knowledge of a wider audience. The advent of digital photography has also changed the way we interact with pictures: no longer primarily physical objects, they are now more often encountered on-screen in a public context than as prints in private albums. Druecke’s project encapsulates an American past just before this dramatic cultural shift.

In the exhibition catalogue, critic Lori Waxman notes, “Those are other people’s families and friends and events. That they seem to look so much like mine gives me pause.” On the occasion of this exhibition, we are examining how social occasion photographs and their circulation online have evolved over time.

— Lisa  J. Sutcliffe, Curator of Photography and Media Arts

In celebration of the exhibition, we’re inviting you to share the first image you uploaded to a public site: Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, MySpace, etc. Please share on the platform of your choice using #ASocialEventArchive @MilwaukeeArt.
In the comments please describe why you originally posted this picture, what event it captures, and how it is different from what you might share now.  Below are examples.  

@ljssf       189720_1002817663623_9081_n.jpg

My first Facebook profile pic from 2008 is a stark contrast to the red square I use today. When I first joined Facebook, I shared personal posts (like this picture taken after a picnic in Point Reyes, California) with friends. Now that I am more aware of how much the personal and professional intersect online, I’m hesitant to post private information. I almost never share pictures of myself and would never post something so spontaneous now.   – Lisa Sutcliffe, Curator of Photography and Media Art


  @anyway_pate   16835_100969106599737_4629633_n (1).jpg

First profile pic after a friend gifted me a Facebook account for Christmas in 2009. I was really uncomfortable with having an online presence, and likely googled “cool pattern” to find a stand-in image to use… I just reverse image searched it, and it’s actually a screenprint by a New Zealand artist, Richard Killeen, “Tropical Pattern” 1978—info I’d include nowadays if I was reposting someone else’s artwork!


@thegreengallery  image1 (1) (1).JPG

This pic was posted on Myspace, probably taken on a digital camera around 2000. I don’t think any planning went into this pic. The keyboard and headset are plugged into my backpack for good social media luck and digital longevity down the long meandering web road.


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Questions of Provenance–Stories Behind the Names

The Milwaukee Art Museum’s current feature exhibition, Milwaukee Collects, includes more than 100 objects from nearly 50 private collections in the Greater Milwaukee area. It offers an opportunity to see treasures that are typically not on public view. At the same time, it reminds us that the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection is part of a long tradition of collecting in the community. This is the third in a series of blog posts that will explore the provenance of selected artworks in the collection and how they came to be here.

Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch (Dutch, 1824–1903), Low Tide at Zeeland, Scheveningen, ca. 1900. Oil on wood panel. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Samuel O. Buckner Collection M1919.28. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch (Dutch, 1824–1903), Low Tide at Zeeland, Scheveningen, ca. 1900. Oil on wood panel. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the Samuel O. Buckner Collection M1919.28. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

As we’ve explored in the past, in many ways the collection of any museum is the result of the interests of its donors. Here at the Milwaukee Art Museum, we have outstanding European decorative arts from the Renaissance and Baroque periods due to Richard and Erna Flagg. We can boast of one of the deepest collections of nineteenth century German art in the country because of the generosity of René von Schleinitz. And with the gift from Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley, we have a world-class collection of twentieth century art.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at a few of the local collectors of earlier generations that you probably don’t know. Their story is the story of Milwaukee.

And this is just the whirwind tour—some of these historical donors warrant a longer post in the future!

Continue reading

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May is Member Month

Here at the Milwaukee Art Museum, our hope is that Members feel like VIPs with us all year long. We simply can’t do the work that we do in presenting exhibitions, stewarding art, and offering educational and family programming without the many thousands of individuals and families that choose to support us with membership donations each year. That being said, we know that our Members use the Museum in so many different ways—about as many different ways as there are members. Some Members never miss a Preview Celebration, when the feature exhibition is unveiled exclusively to Members with lectures, live music and a reception. Other Members plan their social calendars around the dynamic monthly MAM After Dark event. Other Members never miss the opportunity to bring an out-of-town guest to Windhover Hall and the collection galleries. Some Members are even out-of-towners themselves, and support the Museum’s mission from afar. Because we want all our Members to feel appreciated, throughout the month of May we’re offering a variety of specials and discounts available to all levels of membership. Stop by, and let us show our thanks for all that your support has made possible!

Bring a guest—for FREE!

All levels of membership are invited to bring a free guest with them during their visits in May. Bring your favorite art-viewing buddy every day if you like! Museum is not responsible for aesthetic debates that may ensue.

Enjoy Deeper Discounts in the Museum Store and all three Café locations

Members receive 20% off all purchases in the Museum store on Thursdays throughout May. The Museum Store offers an ever-changing selection of unique art objects and books, jewelry, home goods and more. Stop by and see what’s new!

Café Calatrava, the East End Wine Bar and Windhover Coffee will all be offering 20% off food and beverage to Members (with Member card) all month long! All three locations offer delicious food, paired with the most beautiful vista in city of Milwaukee. Be sure to stop by and experience the culinary stylings of our new chef, Zak Groh!

Online shoppers, take note…

All Museum store purchases made online by Members in the month of May over $25 will receive free shipping. It’s a great excuse to splurge on a mom in your life (or on yourself)!


Member Tour: Mommies and Babies: Sunday, May 14, 1pm and 3pm

The Exclusive Member Tour Series continues!

Explore the universal themes of motherhood and young life in art. The 3 p.m. tour is designed specifically for families; bring your kids in strollers and babes in arms. RSVP to or 414-224-3284.

Member Lecture with Barbara Brown Lee: Treasures from Friends of Art

Tuesday, May 23, 11 am- noon. 

Join Barbara Brown Lee, chief educator emerita and fifty-four-year Museum veteran, for this exclusive Member lecture about some of your favorite works at the Museum. Barbara is famous for her behind-the-scenes stories about  the Museum, and will be sure to shed some sassy light on the history behind works of art including the Janitor and works by Andy Warhol and Cornelia Parker.

There are so many ways to experience your Museum this May. Check out the full scope of all the Member Month offerings, here.

We hope to see you here during Member Month!



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And All That Jazz!

What did socialites in Milwaukee read during the jazz age of the late 1920s?

Well, naturally, everyone was reading The Modern Milwaukeean!

The magazine circulated from September of 1928 through the spring of 1930 and billed itself as the key publication for keeping up with the latest technological trends and everything modern. It proposed modernity as a way of life, but what really set The Modern Milwaukeean apart was its modern graphic design.

Continue reading

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