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Art Behind the Scenes Curatorial Exhibitions

Herzfeld Photography, Print, and Drawing Study Center

Herzfeld Photography, Print, and Drawing Study Center. Photo credit: John Glembin.
Herzfeld Photography, Print, and Drawing Study Center. Photo credit: John Glembin.

Did you know that nearly half of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection consists of works on paper? We have more than 15,000 rare prints, drawings, photographs, and book arts.

Works on paper cannot be shown indefinitely, because they are light-sensitive; light will cause them to fade.  Accordingly, in order to preserve them in the best condition possible, they are rotated.  A rotation is when one work is taken off view and replaced with another, usually every three to four months.

The Museum has a number of new spaces dedicated to works on paper.  The focus of these areas range from European prints and drawings (Gallery S202), to modern art from the Bradley Collection (Gallery K215), to Folk and Self-Taught art (Gallery K122). When not on view, those works on paper are stored safely in the dark.

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Art Curatorial

A one-hour exhibition: “Winter Scenes Across the Ages”

East Side Street in Winter Richard H. Jansen  n.d. Gouache sheet: 17 1/4 x 23 3/4 in. (43.82 x 60.33 cm)  Layton Art Collection, Gift of Layton Art League
Richard H. Jansen (American, 1910–1988), East Side Street in Winter, n.d. Gouache sheet: 17 1/4 x 23 3/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of Layton Art League, L1948.2.

Last week I had the opportunity to drop in on a new event at the Museum. It was a one-hour exhibition featuring “Winter Scenes Across the Ages” from the prints and drawings collection. It was a perfect winter day, all blizzardy as I walked to my internship at the Museum. A better setting could not have been wished for to coincide with the winter theme of the pop-up exhibition.

I had encountered this event through the Museum’s Web site, on the Calendar + Events page. I try to check it regularly as not to miss out on the numerous special programs that are available. I was thrilled at the  opportunity to encounter art that is so rarely seen by the public (how exciting!) And, as someone interested in the inner workings of museums, I thought it was simply a brilliant idea! Museums try to find new ways to engage the public and share their collections, and to me this seemed like a lively way to see prints and drawings based on a timely issue. In this case: Winter!