We are just a week from opening the new exhibition in the Kohl’s Art Generation Gallery, Illusions: Near and Far! Have you ever wondered how an artist makes a work of art seem “real”? We tell all the tricks of the trade—you’ll get to see just how an artist makes us think we are looking into space when we’re really not. Better yet, you get to make your own magic!
Let’s begin with three seemingly disparate thoughts.
One: Since I started working here at the Museum as the Team Coordinator for the Kohl’s Color Wheels art education outreach program in August, I have seen over 25,000 people while out in the community. As you can imagine, the idea of the accessibility of art has definitely been on my mind.
Two: As part of the Museum community, last month, I had the chance to see two lectures in one day: one on the German potter Grete Marks, given by Mel Buchanan, the Assistant Curator of 20th Century Design at the Museum; the other about the creative process at Pixar Animation Studios, given by Dan Holland, a sketch artist there. It made my day.
Three: I also teach freshmen at MIAD. One of my classes focuses on discussing the philosophical and practical underpinnings of these young artists’ budding visual practices. The other day my students started an impromptu discussion about Felix Baumgartner jumping from the stratosphere. It was a great class.
So, where am I going with all of this? Let me explain.
As the Kohl’s Color Wheels Team Coordinator, I have the chance to bridge the gap between the Collection and the world outside the Museum walls. I am given the awesome task of working with area schools and art teachers to bring part of the Collection to them. I wanted to share this process through photos of a past event with Shady Lane Elementary.
The Kohl’s Art Generation Lab—part of the new Kohl’s Education Center, which opened February 25, 2012—is the Museum’s new “technology room” for kids and families. It features an exhibition entitled Museum Inside Out, which takes visitors on a behind-the-scenes tour of different departments at the Museum through high-tech interactives (and some low-tech ones, too). Kids and families can X-ray a painting, choose the frame for a work of art, and “Ask a Curator” their art-related questions. The Kohl’s Art Generation Lab is open during normal Museum hours through August 31, 2013.
One of the higher-tech attractions in the Lab is the Museum’s voting interactive. Five touch-screen monitors each randomly display two artworks side by side; the visitor is instructed to “tap to vote” for his or her favorite work between the two. Upon each selection, the information is collected, the results are tabulated, and two new works are displayed. A larger “leaderboard” screen above the touch-screens displays the current top 20 works in the contest, along with a list of recently selected works.
We started out not knowing how many votes to expect, and we were pretty surprised by the results.
The year 2012 is considered the 50th anniversary of the American Studio Glass movement. The anniversary is being celebrated with exhibitions and events across the country, organized in large part by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass.
The Milwaukee Art Museum has a terrific collection of studio glass, and we were thrilled to be part of the celebration. Along one wall of the newly-designed Kohl’s Art Generation Studio is a new installation that celebrates using glass as a medium of creative impulse.
The glass sparkles, tells an important art history story, and I hope that its visual beauty inspires young artists as they create their own artwork nearby.
What is the American Studio Glass movement, and what is this anniversary?