The first week of June marked the 15th Annual Junior Kindergarten Art Show for Ms. Gaudynski and her young scholars. Using works of art from the Milwaukee Art Museum and neighboring museums as inspiration, students learn about the artist, artwork, and art genres.
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.
A man’s suit is not an unusual sight within an art museum–though usually one would expect such a garment to be worn by a visitor, and not hanging up on the wall as a work of art itself. Yet this is the case with Joseph Beuys’ artwork, entitled Felt Suit (Flizanzug). It consists of simply that: a man’s suit, made entirely of a soft grey felt, suspended neatly on a hanger on the museum wall. In the large gallery space, surrounded by brightly-colored canvases and monumental works of sculpture, this piece seems quite out-of-place. It is easy to imagine amusing backstories for the existence of this intriguing piece of clothing–perhaps a curator had brought a suit to change into for an evening event, yet had no room to hang it in his office, so he simply wandered into the galleries and hung it upon an unused nail?
Picture this: Fall semester, high school years. You eagerly await your first art assignment, hoping to be given the added bonus of self-expression. A few weeks pass and you hand in your artwork, hoping it might be considered by your teacher for submission to the Scholastic Art Awards jurying process. Fast forward a few months–the jurying has been completed and… Congratulations! Your piece has been given a Gold Key award. You mark the Awards Ceremony date on your calendar, where your artwork will be on display at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and then… you wait.
But ever wonder what happens to your work while you’re waiting? Let’s take a look at the behind-the-scenes portion of the whole process.
The Chipstone Foundation’s previous post introduced you to Temple Burling, our resident biophysicist. This post continues his story as he recounts his experience with a blue and white teabowl in Chipstone’s collection.
At the end of my last post, I found myself asking: “How did a porcelain tea-cup with an Asian inspired shape and decorative scheme come to be made in eighteenth-century America?”
This cup is a container for tea, but, as it turns out, the cup also overflows with wonderful stories that partially answer this question. These stories combine science, history, technology, commerce, and cultural exchange, making the cup a slice of a long and fascinating history of porcelain–from its invention in China in the 7th century, to the mania for porcelain collecting by European aristocrats beginning in the Renaissance and exploding during the 18th century.
Temple Burling, professor of physics, astronomy, biology and great ideas at Carthage College, has been part of the Object Lab team since 2009. He first connected with Chipstone staff through a shared interest in cabinets of curiosities, an example of which is our Rooms of Wonder exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Since we first got to know him, Temple has been bringing his museum studies class up to Milwaukee every year (yes, he is a biophysicist that teaches a course on museums), as well as discussing possible collaborative projects with us. The opportunity came up when Temple was awarded a sabbatical, and he asked if he could spend this year’s fall semester in Milwaukee studying the Chipstone Foundation’s collection.
We jumped at the chance to have a scientist interpret our collection. Since his sabbatical is almost over, I asked Temple to write about his experience these past few months. View an object in the Chipstone collection through the eyes of a brilliant scientist, in part one of two posts, below.
On December 14, 1894, Frederick Layton, the Milwaukee meat packer and philanthropist who founded the Layton Art Gallery (the predecessor of the Milwaukee Art Museum), wrote a letter to Julius Gugler of the Milwaukee Art Association.
Layton requested the organization to raise $10,000 by subscription to purchase a painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema which was currently on display at Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel as a loan from one of Layton’s art dealer friends.
The subscription must have been successful, because the Layton Art Collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum has a wonderful painting by Alma-Tadema!