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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

Conversation with the Curator: Way of the Dragon

Chipstone curator Kate Smith standing in "Way of the Dragon" at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Photo by Claudia Mooney.
Chipstone curator Kate Smith standing in "Way of the Dragon: The Chinoiserie Style, 1710-1830" at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Photo by Claudia Mooney.

The Chipstone Foundation recently opened its Summer of China exhibition: Way of the Dragon: The Chinoiserie Style, 1710-1830, which will be on view until November 6.

I sat down with the show’s curator, Kate Smith, to discuss the concept of “chinoiserie” as well as the exhibition process.

Claudia Mooney: I know a lot of visitors are probably wondering this, What does chinoiserie mean?

Kate Smith: The term “chinoiserie” basically means “in the Chinese style”. It refers to objects that are made outside of China in imitation of Chinese objects and images.

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Art Events Exhibitions

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: June 27-July 4

It’s another busy week at the Museum, with Gallery Talks, lectures, and the opening of a new exhibition. And don’t forget the Museum is open on Monday, July 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Tuesday, June 28, enjoy a Gallery Talk at 1:30 p.m. in The Emperor’s Private Paradise. There’s also a 30-minute Express Talk at noon on Thursday, June 30 for those looking for something different to do over the lunch hour.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

Object Lab 3.0

Ethan Lasser taking the group around the decorative arts galleries at the Milwaukee Art Museum
Ethan Lasser taking the Object Lab group around the decorative arts galleries at the Milwaukee Art Museum

It’s one of my favorite times of the year again: The Chipstone Foundation’s Object Lab 3.0 just took place last week. As always, we were incredibly impressed with the depth and creativity emanating from the participating students.

For those of you that haven’t heard about Object Lab, it is a student workshop focused on intense object study. Nine college juniors and seniors from all over the country are selected to participate. They spend four days in Milwaukee, alternating between the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Chipstone Foundation house in Fox Point and going on various field trips around the city. The Object Lab has been in existence for three years. Each year has a different focus, but is always centered around handling museum objects, something that even college students interested in the decorative arts might never have been allowed to do before.

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Art Curatorial

To touch, or not to touch?

Jon Prown, Executive Director of Chipstone, sitting on Tanya Aguiñiga's Rock Sofa
Jon Prown, Executive Director of Chipstone, sitting on Tanya Aguiñiga's Rock Sofa
Art museums, as opposed to children or science museums, are often thought of as places for looking and not touching. As you walk through the galleries you will hear parents reminding their children to not touch, and most people immediately understand why. You wouldn’t want to accidentally stain William Merrit Chase’s Portrait of Grace Beatrice Dickerman or break Beth Lipman’s carefully blown glass still life. While recently speaking about the Chipstone Foundation’s Green Furniture exhibition, however, I found myself discussing the merits of touch and the opportunities the Milwaukee Art Museum presents for exploring this sense.

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Art Events Exhibitions

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: April 11-April 17

Frank Lloyd Wright in His Workroom at Taliesin, Spring Green, WI, 1956, Photo by Ed Obma, © 2010 Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ.

The Museum has a jam-packed week of events, lectures, and more, which means there’s plenty to do and see! Let’s get started!

On Tuesday, April 12, there’s a Frank Lloyd Wright Gallery Talk scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and on Thursday, April 14, there’s a Frank Lloyd Wright Express Talk scheduled for noon. Come in and learn even more about “America’s greatest architect” and why he is still so relevant today.

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Art Curatorial

Why The New Materiality?

Tim Tate, Virtual Novelist, 2008. Blown and cast glass, electronic components, original video. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Anything Photographic
Tim Tate, Virtual Novelist, 2008. Blown and cast glass, electronic components, original video. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Anything Photographic
I was recently at a party and upon mentioning where I work, I was asked: How do you pick exhibitions and how do you decide on the programming? I realized that this part of the process is probably a mystery to many (including me before I started doing it myself). Exhibitions can be curated in-house, in which case the curator researches a subject he/she is interested in, comes up with a thesis or story for the show, and selects objects (usually a combination of pieces the museum owns and pieces loaned by other museums and collectors) that tell the story.

Sometimes museums exhibit traveling shows that have been curated at another institution. If this is the case, how do you learn about the shows in the first place? Chipstone’s current exhibition, The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft, was first shown at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. It was curated by University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee professor Fo Wilson. We learned about the exhibition through Fo, who sent us the catalog for us to see what she had been working on. The exhibition instantly appealed to us. It was edgy, interesting and thought provoking.

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Art Events Exhibitions

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: March 14-March 20

Welcome to yet another busy week at the Museum, especially for kids and Frank Lloyd Wright fans!

Just opened, “Just the WRIGHT Size: Designing and Building Small Houses” is the new Kohl’s Art Generation Gallery feature exhibition. Try your hand at building as you learn from the pros. “Just the WRIGHT Size” considers Frank Lloyd Wright’s lessons for the present day, and in this hands-on exhibition, you will lean about the techniques Mr. Wright used to make small homes.

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Art Education Events

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: March 7-March 13

Donald Fortesque and Lawrence LaBianca, Sounding, 2008.

This week, the Museum opens two new exhibitions and hosts its monthly MAM After Dark event. Plus lectures, gallery talks, and more.

On Thursday, March 10, the Chipstone Foundation opens The New Materiality: Digital Dialogues at the Boundaries of Contemporary Craft in the Museum’s Decorative Arts Gallery on the lower level. This stunning exhibition features sixteen established and emerging artists who push the boundaries of art by combining new technologies with old-school craft. Curated by UWM’s Fo Wilson, the exhibition features work by Donald Fortesque and Lawrence LaBianca, Tim Tate, Sonya Clark, Lia Cook, and more.

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Art

It’s all in the clay: Chipstone’s new “making” video

A screenshot from Dan Ollman’s video of Steve Ferrell, which can be viewed in Chipstone’s round video room on the Museum's Lower Level
A screenshot from Dan Ollman’s video of Steve Ferrell, which can be viewed in Chipstone’s round video room on the Museum's Lower Level

I have previously blogged about the Dave Project, which centered around a Dave Drake pot, and about Chipstone’s round video room at the Milwaukee Art Museum. When we were first planning the Dave Project we had envisioned having a reproduction of Dave’s pot made to tour around with us. We asked Steve Ferrell, a talented potter and Dave enthusiast in Edgefield, South Carolina (the town where Dave Drake was from) to complete the ambitious task. Steve had not only seen Dave pots, but owns Dave pot fragments, and uses clay from the same source as Dave did in his work. While speaking with Dan Ollman, the Milwaukee artist and filmmaker who filmed the Dave Project, we decided that a video of Steve making both the Dave pot reproduction and a South Carolina face jug, would be a good addition to our round room videos on the Milwaukee Art Museum Lower Level.

Categories
Art Events Exhibitions

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: January 10–January 16

Taliesin, Spring Green, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Jim Steinhart, TravelPhotoBase.com

After a highly successful and much-raved-about run, European Design Since 1985 has closed, and now the Museum looks forward to its next feature exhibition, Frank Lloyd Wright: Organic Architecture for the 21st Century. Stay tuned here for more information about this extraordinary look at “America’s greatest architect.”