Categories
Art Behind the Scenes Curatorial Exhibitions

Being an Intern: It’s not only Makin’ Copies

Prancing Horse with Head Turned, Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE), detail.
Prancing Horse with Head Turned, Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE), detail. James E. Conley, Jr. Collection. Photo by the author.

In 2005, as a senior Art History major at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I worked as an intern for the Museum’s Curatorial Department in Earlier European Art. Working under the expert intern-wrangling leadership of Catherine Sawinski, Assistant Curator of Earlier European Art, I industriously contributed my research (compiling artist biographies for the 2006 Biedermeier: The Invention of Simplicity exhibition) and customer service (answering public inquiries) skills to the greater cause of making the Milwaukee Art Museum run.

Breaking my daily routine, Laurie Winters (now the Museum’s Director of Exhibitions) and Mary Weaver Chapin (now the Museum’s Associate Curator of Prints & Drawings) asked me if I could go to Chicago with Mary for the day to help with a cataloging project.  We would be visiting an Asian art collection to inventory, measure, and photograph all the objects.

As an intern, I was thrilled with this great opportunity, but I had no idea that this material would reappear in my life 6 years later!

Categories
Art Exhibitions

“Summer of CHINA” Primer–Scholar’s Rocks

Zhan Wang, Artificial Rock No. 43 (detail), 2008. Stainless steel. Private collection. Photo by the author.
Zhan Wang (Chinese, b. 1962), Artificial Rock No. 43 (detail), 2008. Stainless steel. Private collection. Photo by the author.

What do you think of when I say rocks?

Probably not much of consequence. Rocks scattered on the ground, surrounded by grass and dirt. Perhaps lining a path somewhere. Maybe caught in your shoe. Rocks are not a huge part of daily American culture (unless, perhaps, you are a gardener).

But in China (you knew that was coming, right?), rocks played an important cultural role in the life of an intellectual. For that reason, rockeries (or, rock gardens) are a theme threading through many of the Summer of CHINA exhibitions here at the Museum. Let’s bring those threads together in this primer on an essential component of Chinese art and culture: scholar’s rocks!

Categories
Behind the Scenes Education Exhibitions

How We’re Getting Ready for the Summer of CHINA

Zhan Wang, Artificial Rock No. 43, 2008. Stainless steel. Private collection. Image courtesy of the artist and Long March Space, Beijing. This work is in the "On Site: Zhan Wang" exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum this summer.
Zhan Wang, Artificial Rock No. 43, 2008. Stainless steel. Private collection. Image courtesy of the artist and Long March Space, Beijing. This work is in the "On Site: Zhan Wang" exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum this summer (2011).

When one exhibition closes, another always opens.

While I’m bummed that Frank (are we allowed to be on a first-name basis after my exhibition Express Talks and school tours?) is leaving the Museum after May 15, I am so excited for the epic series of upcoming exhibitions included in the Summer of CHINA!

You might have heard about this endeavor: the Museum will have no less than five–five!–exhibitions that feature thousands of years of Chinese art, all in one place here at the Museum. (You can read all about them in the press release.) Right now, as I’m studying The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City exhibition catalog, I thought I’d give you all a sneak peek as to some of the things that happen around here before an exhibition opens to the public.

Warning: This post might exhaust you! We get pretty busy…