Categories
Art Exhibitions

American Epics on the Silver Screen: Classic Clips

lg1_002457American artist Thomas Hart Benton continues to be praised for his ability to translate the dynamism of a major motion picture onto a two-dimensional canvas. Having worked directly on film sets, Benton captured the entire production process and behind-the-scenes culture of Hollywood. To him, the movie industry was “very much American” and significantly focused on real-world themes such as war and the quest to achieve the “American dream.”

To accompany the Museum’s feature exhibition of Benton’s work, American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood, the Museum is screening four of the films that inspired the artist’s vibrant, dramatized pieces.

Categories
Art Library/Archives

A Museum’s History in Moving Image

Film still: View in to the Layton Art Gallery’s sculpture court, circa 1957. Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives.
Film still: View in to the Layton Art Gallery’s sculpture court, circa 1957. Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives.

One of my favorite film gems in the Museum’s audio-visual archive is rare film footage of the institution’s changing location and architecture. This film–soundless, in black and white, circa 1957–features the Layton Art Gallery, the Milwaukee Art Institute, and the Eero Saarinen-designed War Memorial and Milwaukee Art Center building, into which the museum moved officially in 1957.

While the 15-minute film is rather grainy and hazy, the images are nevertheless a stunning peek into the last days of the Layton Art Gallery and the Milwaukee Art Institute in the early 1950s before their demolition, and the subsequent rise of the War Memorial building and the (then) Milwaukee Art Center. Excerpts from this film will be featured in our upcoming 125th Anniversary Exhibition, but if you’d like a sneak peek, read on.