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Art Curatorial

Highlights of the Chipstone Foundation in the Lower Level

View of Hidden Dimensions installation. Photo by Jim Wildeman
View of Hidden Dimensions installation. Photo by Jim Wildeman

As part of the first stages of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s re-installation, the Lower Level of the Collection is going through some changes. If you haven’t yet done so, go see curator Mel Buchanan and librarian Heather Winter’s 125th anniversary exhibition, which ends with a beautiful rendition of what the Milwaukee Art Museum will look like in the future. Read on for highlights of Chipstone’s collections in the Museum.

Chipstone’s galleries will be de-installed starting on September 17. For those of you that love the Chair Park and the Dave the Potter pot, these will stay up until the end of 2013. So, what does this all mean for you? It means that you should go take a walk through Chipstone’s Cabinet of Curiosities, the Hidden Dimensions Gallery, as well as sit in our round video room before September 17!

View of Loca Miraculi installation by Martha Glowacki. Photo by Jim Wildeman
View of Loca Miraculi installation by Martha Glowacki. Photo by Jim Wildeman

You can experience the three kingdoms in Martha Glowacki’s Loca Miraculi. Try to guess what the connection between the graphite covered taxidermied animals and the Newport high chest is. Spend some time in the ceramics room, opening drawers. Can you find the little babbling grotto? Do you know how agate ware is made (hint: there is a drawer that contains a video of Michelle Erickson explaining the process)? What are some extinct ceramic objects?

View of Hidden Dimensions installation. Photo by Jim Wildeman
View of Hidden Dimensions installation. Photo by Jim Wildeman

Next, go into Hidden Dimensions. Ask yourself questions such as: What did a tea table allow the sitters to do (yes, drink tea, but also something naughtier)? Why would an early 19th century banker have a table with Griffins in his home? Why do some 17th century chairs look like gravestones?

Finally, take a break in the round video room and watch Randy O’Donnell carve wood, Michelle Erickson throw clay, and Steve Farrell turn and make a face jug.

Thank you all for spending time in our galleries, and communicating your thoughts about objects and exhibitions with us! Come visit us at the Chipstone Foundation in Fox Point (open by appointment) or at two exhibitions we are curating at Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art, which will open on January 22.

Claudia Mooney works for Chipstone, the Milwaukee-based foundation dedicated to promoting American decorative arts scholarship. She researches objects and creates relevant programming for Chipstone’s exhibitions at the Milwaukee Art Museum and in the community.

Categories
Art Curatorial

The Rooms of Wonder

Entrance to Loca Miraculi
Entrance to "Loca Miraculi | Rooms of Wonder", lower level in the Milwaukee Art Museum. Photo by Jim Wildeman.

Recently, I’ve noticed that several museums have created their own versions of the wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities. The Walker Art Center, for example, has arranged their permanent collection into an exhibition called Midnight Party. This new installation, on view until February 2014, is inspired by Joseph Cornell’s film by the same title, and explores works dealing with dreams and fantasies. It also has a gallery dedicated to odd objects, such as a toothbrush that has teeth in the place of bristles.

The Brooklyn Public Library just closed their own wunderkammer, which was composed of artworks from Takeshi Yamada’s Museum of World Wonders. The objects reminded one of curiosities seen in carnivals, such as carnivorous plants and a hairy trout.

At this point you might be asking yourself, what exactly is a cabinet of curiosities?

And how does this relate to the Milwaukee Art Museum?