Categories
Art Curatorial Exhibitions

30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations IV – VI

Christopher McIntyre and Robert Burns visit the Museum on July 24, 2013. Photo by the author.
Christopher McIntyre and Robert Burns visit the Museum on July 24, 2013. Photo by the author.

30 Encounters with 30 Americans is a ten week blog series showcasing the perspectives of thirty visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museum’s 30 Americans exhibition (June 14 – September 8, 2013).

Read about the experiences of these visitors–from couples to families, from students to scholars–and see how their thoughts compare to your own. What are visitors saying about this dynamic exhibition of paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video, and more made by African American artists since 1970?

Ranging from a Wisconsin 30 artist to a young woman visiting the Milwaukee Art Museum for the first time, this week’s conversations are as marvelously varied as the parcipants.

Categories
Art Curatorial Exhibitions

30 Encounters with 30 Americans: Conversations I – III

Anthony and AlyssAnthony and Alyssa Neff visiting the Museum, July12, 2013. Photo by the author.
Anthony and Alyssa Neff visiting the Museum, July 12, 2013. Photo by the author.

30 Encounters with 30 Americans is a ten week blog series showcasing the perspectives of thirty visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museum’s 30 Americans exhibition (June 14 – September 8, 2013).

Read about the experiences of these visitors–from couples to families, from students to scholars–and see how their thoughts compare to your own. What are visitors saying about this dynamic exhibition of paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, video, and more made by African American artists since 1970?

From a husband and wife married nearly fifty years to a couple recently engaged, this week’s three conversations are all about pair experiences at the 30 Americans exhibition.

Categories
Art Collection Contemporary Curatorial

Can I walk on it?

Carl Andre (American, b. 1935) 144 Pieces of Zinc, 1967 Zinc plates each plate: 12 x 12 x 3/8 in. (30.48 x 30.48 x 0.95 cm) Purchase, National Endowment for the Arts Matching Funds M1969.22 Photo credit Larry Sanders © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Carl Andre (American, b. 1935), 144 Pieces of Zinc, 1967. Zinc plates;
each plate: 12 x 12 x 3/8 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, National Endowment for the Arts Matching Funds M1969.22.
Photo by Larry Sanders.
© Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Yes!

Carl Andre’s 144 Pieces of Zinc is one of the few artworks in the Museum’s Collection that is meant to be experienced physically, and that visitors may touch.  The artist felt that the qualities inherent in the material were the most important aspect of his work, and that they were meant to be discovered through touch.

Imagine 144 Pieces of Zinc wasn’t in a museum, but, say, come upon in a hardware store surrounded by a bunch of home improvement tiles.   You don’t have to imagine.  The Tate Museum did it.  They installed their collection’s 144 Magnesium Square on the floor in a hardware store in Liverpool, England, and then asked residents of Liverpool what they thought about seeing the minimalist work in a non-art context.

As you see in the video, people have strong feelings about this sort of thing…

Categories
Art Behind the Scenes Curatorial

Restoring Duane Hanson’s Beloved “Janitor”

Duane Hanson (American, 1925-1996), Janitor, 1973. Polyester, fiberglass, and mixed media; 65 1/2 x 28 x 22 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Friends of Art M1973.91. Photo credit John Nienhuis. © Estate of Duane Hanson/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Duane Hanson’s lifelike Janitor (1973) is one of the Museum’s most beloved works of art. It generates curiosity on many levels: How did the artist make the sculpture so realistic? What does this photo-realistic artwork mean? What does he wear under his uniform? How does the Museum take care of this unusual work of art?

To that final question, “carefully and creatively” is the answer that the Museum’s Docents recently learned from senior conservator Jim DeYoung. The Milwaukee Art Museum agreed to loan Janitor to the Walker Art Center for the Lifelike exhibition, Feb 25 – May 27, 2012. In preparation for the artwork’s exhibition in Minneapolis, Jim’s conservation team turned their restoration attention and considerable skills to making Janitor appear in pristine condition and ready for travel.

The details of this restoration are fascinating.

Curious about how a conservator cleans 40-year-old human hair affixed to plastic? Hint: They don’t use Head and Shoulders shampoo. Read on to find out more!

Categories
Education

Hip-Hop in the Galleries, Inspired by Art

Dwight and Marquis Gilbert demo music-making in front of Jim Campbell, Jim Campbell, Taxi Ride to Sarah's Studio, 2010. LEDs, wire, custom electronics. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Art Society. © Jim Campbell. Photo by the author
Dwight and Marquis Gilbert demo music-making in front of Jim Campbell's Taxi Ride to Sarah's Studio, 2010. LEDs, wire, custom electronics. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Art Society. © Jim Campbell. Photo by the author.

Scratching, turntables, bass, melodies, rhythm. Not exactly vocabulary you’re used to hearing about in an art museum, is it?

In an experiment with H2O Milwaukee Music/the Peace Propaganda Project, an urban music education organization, we put teens, music educators, and video art all together in a gallery to see what would happen.

The mission: Create an original piece of music inspired by Jim Campbell’s Taxi Ride to Sarah’s Studio (2010).

First, we took 15 minutes to look closely at the piece, which is made up of many small LED lights programmed to blink at certain intervals, creating an unusual video installation (see video below). Teens immediately centered in on one of Campbell’s primary interests: visually representing peripheral vision. Then, with an array of equipment–turntables, laptops, keyboards, subwoofers, speakers–we set about creating a piece of music inspired by the look, mood, and rhythm of Campbell’s piece.

Categories
Art Exhibitions Membership

Must-See at the Museum: November

Cryopreservation Unit, Cryonics Institute, Clinton Township, Michigan, 2004/2007 Chromogenic print 37 ¼ x 44 ½ in. © Taryn Simon. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Big things are happening in November at the Milwaukee Art Museum – from lectures and classes to after-hours soirees and artist visits. This is the place to be!

Thursday, November 3: See the art for free on Target Free First Thursday. The Museum is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Stop in for two Express Talks on Impressionism, one at noon and another at 5:30.

Saturday, November 5: Come be a part of the dialogue with curator Lisa Hostetler and photographer Taryn Simon as part of “Coffee, Art, and Conversation” at 10:30 a.m. Learn more about Taryn Simon: Photographs and Texts, and talk to the artist directly via Skype. Plus veterans receive free admission all day, and a special discount in the Museum Store.

Categories
Art Curatorial

Studio Visit with artist Christy Matson

One of the seemingly mysterious practices associated with curating an exhibition is selecting artists and artworks. Once you have an idea for an exhibition, how do you know who and what to include? How do you know what artists are creating?

Even though I’d love to pretend that it’s some innate knowledge that all curators share, this is simply not true.

Studio visits are a great way to learn about artists’ practices. Usually when we at the Chipstone Foundation meet an artist, hear about an interesting artist, and/or we see an engaging artwork, we try to request a studio visit. Most artists are very accommodating and happy to show their work to those excited by it.

Categories
Art Art News

Do you like America’s Next Top Model?

Sacrifice PAINTINGS Brown, Iona Rozeal American, b. 1966 2007 Mixed media on framed panel 52 x 38 in. Purchase, with funds from African American Art Alliance and Contemporary Art Society M2007.60
iona rozeal brown (American, b. 1966), sacrifice, 2007. Acrylic and paper on framed panel, 52 x 38 in. (132.08 x 96.52 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from African American Art Alliance and Contemporary Art Society M2007.60. Photo credit John R. Glembin. © iona rozeal brown

So do I.

Which is why I was excited to learn that an artist in the Museum’s permanent collection, iona rozeal brown, is collaborating on a project with America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) guest star Benny Ninja. Ninja is a master of “vogueing” and dramatic posing; his style of dance influenced the iconic Madonna Vogue video.

This past weekend in New York City iona rozeal brown, along with Benny Ninja and Javier Ninja (“House of Ninja”), presented a preview of a Kabuki- and voguing- inspired performance work called the battle of yestermore, which has been commissioned for the Performa 11 Biennial this November 1-20.

You can see an image of a costume designed for brown’s upcoming performance here.

Categories
Art Art News Collection Contemporary Curatorial Prints and Drawings

From the Collection–Fab 5 Freddy (Told Me Everybody’s Fly)

Fab 5 Freddy (American, b. 1959), Untitled, 1986. Ink and oil pastel on paper. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Susan L. Strande, M1992.57.

A new exhibition Art in the Streets is on view April 17 to August 8, 2011 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles). The exhibition is the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art and it features an artist in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s permanent collection: Fred “Fab 5 Freddy” Braithwaite.

Early on the hip hop scene in Brooklyn, graffiti artist, close friend of Jean-Michel Basquiat, fan of Andy Warhol, and host of “Yo! MTV Raps”, Fab 5 Freddy is a pioneer of the street art genre.

Categories
Art Art News

Wafaa Bilal wants to do what?!

Wafaa Bilal's "Bar at the Folies Bergère (after Manet)" in the Milwaukee Art Museum's Impressionism gallery. Image from the artist's website http://www.wafaabilal.com.

I love that the Milwaukee Art Museum doesn’t shy away from controversial contemporary artists.  You might remember a work in the Museum’s Collection Galleries by Wafaa Bilal and Shawn Lawson that was temporarily installed in the Museum’s Impressionism Gallery in 2007: the Bar at the Folies Bergère (after Manet). Here is the Museum’s 2007 press release “Viewers Enter a Masterpiece in New Installation”. You can see photographs and a video of the Bilal piece on the artist’s website.

In the latest news, Mr. Bilal is now on to a new project that involves having a video camera surgically implanted into the back of his head!  You can read about it in the NYTimes.com ArtsBeat blog here and here in The Art Law Blog post.