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.

Art Behind the Scenes Curatorial Exhibitions

Making an Exhibition, Part 2: Research (with Travel!)

"Grete Marks" display at the Jewish Museum Berlin. Photo by the author.
“Grete Marks” display at the Jewish Museum Berlin. Photo by the author.

As I moved through the stages of putting together the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Grete Marks: When Modern Was Degenerate exhibition (on view September 6, 2012 – January 1, 2013), I began by researching the designer through secondary literature and compiled a list of 417 Grete Marks ceramics and watercolors in institutional collections.

Those tasks I could do mostly from my office in Milwaukee, thanks to great library services and generous colleagues at other institutions.

However, to build relationships with curators for borrowing artwork, to meet with Grete Marks’ daughter Frances Marks, and to personally examine objects so that I could make informed decisions about which of the ceramic vessels we might want to request for loan to our exhibition, I needed to take a research trip to London and Berlin.

It was a tough job, but someone had to do it…

While researching in England, I made visits to “store” (Brit speak for “storage”) to see artworks at the Victoria & Albert Museum, The British Museum, and the National Museum in Wales. Those institutions have in their collections gifts from the artist herself, as well as from her husband, Harold Marks, and her daughter, Dr. Frances Marks (as do the Potteries Museum and the Museum at Wales’ Prifysgol Aberystwyth University, which I did not visit).