Categories
20th and 21st Century Design Art Curatorial Exhibitions

John J. Reiss: Artist, Designer, and Collector

John J. Reiss, photographed for Wisconsin Architect, January 1968
John J. Reiss, photographed for Wisconsin Architect, January 1968

Milwaukee has been home to many talented designers over the years, but they often fly under the radar. A designer’s main concern is to convey a message or idea on behalf of a client; one’s identity is secondary, but a talented designer finds a way to stand out.

John J. Reiss is one such designer. He was born in Milwaukee in 1922, and while he spent some time in New York, Milwaukee was ultimately where he made his home and his mark. As a design associate for the Milwaukee Art Center (now the Milwaukee Art Museum), he created many of the exhibition catalogues, invitations, and advertisements in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. However, he won recognition on a national and international level as well.

Categories
20th and 21st Century Design Art Curatorial

And All That Jazz!

What did socialites in Milwaukee read during the jazz age of the late 1920s?

Well, naturally, everyone was reading The Modern Milwaukeean!

The magazine circulated from September of 1928 through the spring of 1930 and billed itself as the key publication for keeping up with the latest technological trends and everything modern. It proposed modernity as a way of life, but what really set The Modern Milwaukeean apart was its modern graphic design.

Categories
Art Collection Events

If Milwaukee’s Festivals were Works of Art…

Warrington Colescott (American, b. 1921), Suite Louisiana: The Music of the Folks, 1996. Color soft-ground etching, aquatint, and spit bite, with à la poupée inking, and relief rolls through stencils. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the artist and Frances Myers M2004.538. Photo credit: Michael Tropea © Warrington Colescott
Warrington Colescott (American, b. 1921), Suite Louisiana: The Music of the Folks, 1996. Color soft-ground etching, aquatint, and spit bite, with à la poupée inking, and relief rolls through stencils. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of the artist and Frances Myers M2004.538. Photo credit: Michael Tropea © Warrington Colescott

Milwaukee has earned the title “City of Festivals,” and for very good reason. If you are looking to celebrate music, art, film, cultural heritage, specific holidays or simply a love of craft beer, Milwaukee has a festival for you!

In the summer months, when Wisconsin weather is arguably most pleasant for those outdoor activities that do not require snowsuits, you might even find yourself at a different festival every weekend. The Milwaukee Art Museum itself contributes to the city’s lively “festival culture” by hosting the Lakefront Festival of Art every June.

To coincide with the height of our local festival season, I’ve selected some works from the Museum’s collection for their visual resemblance to some of Milwaukee’s most popular upcoming summer festivals.  Have fun!

Categories
Art Museum Store

Milwaukee Studio Visit and Coloring Book Collaboration: Reginald Baylor

Cover art for the Collector’s Edition coloring book with Baylor’s drawing of The Wood Gatherer, 1881 by Jules Bastien-Lepage.
Cover art for the Collector’s Edition coloring book with Baylor’s drawing of The Wood Gatherer, 1881 by Jules Bastien-Lepage.

This coloring book is a perfect dialogue between myself as an artist and the art museum in my hometown. –Reginald Baylor

Ted and I visited Reginald Baylor’s studio space in development in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood to talk about his new coloring book collaboration with the Art Museum during a freakishly cold spring storm.

Car heater roaring and windshield wipers racing, we pulled up to a charming mid-century building on the corner of Sherman and North that was clearly undergoing an exciting renovation and re-invention by the Finney Arts Incubator.

Categories
Art Behind the Scenes Education

Teens Discuss Postcards from America

Donovan Wylie (British, b. Northern Ireland, 1971). The Preparatory City. Marquette Interchange, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2014. Inkjet print, 60 × 80 in. (152.4 × 203.2 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, purchase, Herzfeld Foundation Acquisition Fund, M2014.36.
Donovan Wylie (British, b. Northern Ireland, 1971). The Preparatory City. Marquette Interchange, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2014. Inkjet print, 60 × 80 in. (152.4 × 203.2 cm). Milwaukee Art Museum, purchase, Herzfeld Foundation Acquisition Fund, M2014.36.
On one of the last warm days in October, I led sixteen teens into the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Postcards from America: Milwaukee exhibition. This blog post is a description of our experience spending one hour together looking at a single photographer’s work in the exhibition.

Postcards from America: Milwaukee shows the recent work of eleven Magnum Photographers, invited to photograph Milwaukee during the prior year as part of the Postcards for America project. None of these photographers were local, so their photographs—ranging from portraits at the Wisconsin State Fair to polaroids to an installation memorial for a deceased musician—were provocative for a group of high schoolers who have spent their whole lives here.

Categories
Art Behind the Scenes Education

ArtXpress 2014: Remember Struggle Create Change

The mural in progress. Photo by Front Room Photography
The mural in progress. Photo by Front Room Photography
There’s a reason why the summer teen program at the Milwaukee Art Museum is called ArtXpress. In less than a month, a group of sixteen high school students came together to absorb the current Kandinsky: A Retrospective exhibition, digest the meaning of abstraction, and collectively orchestrate their own Kandinsky-esque abstract mural to be blown up onto an Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) bus that will travel routes all over the city. In addition, the teens also mentored Milwaukee Public Schools elementary schoolers through the exhibition, challenging the teens to more deeply articulate the important aspects of Kandinsky’s pioneering work in abstract art.

Categories
Behind the Scenes Education

Reflections of an Intern: Exploring the Milwaukee Art Museum

The Museum's Burke Brise Soleil among a blue sky

Some of my favorite rainy afternoons during my childhood were spent exploring the Milwaukee Art Museum. My family spent hours wandering through the halls—I would often stop and stare at a work, entranced by the interplay of colors or rich, varied textures, and then have to run and catch up with my parents. The experience always continued to inspire my brother and me for days afterwards, and we would spend our free time creating our own artworks or making up stories inspired by our favorite pieces.

Categories
Behind the Scenes Library/Archives

MAM Behind the Scenes: Heather Winter, Librarian/Archivist

Each day, hundreds of visitors enter the Milwaukee Art Museum to stare in awe at the incredible wealth of artworks within the museum’s collection. But what can too often go unrecognized is the equally awe-inspiring work of the many museum staff members, without whom the museum in its current state could not exist. “MAM Behind the Scenes” is a blog series written by Digital Learning intern Emma Fallone to showcase the wide range of positions that make up a museum, and to reveal just a few of of the many people whose work makes the Milwaukee Art Museum a source of inspiration and education. We begin with Heather Winter, Librarian and Archivist.

Can you give a brief description of your job, in thirty seconds or less?

A little bit of anything and everything. My responsibility is to take questions about the Museum’s collection and history, and then answer them with any number of materials from the library or the institutional archives. It’s my job to know where those materials are, and to use them to answer the questions quickly and accurately.

Categories
Behind the Scenes Education Events Museum Store

Milwaukee Studio Visit: Author and Illustrator Lois Ehlert–Part Two

Lois and Donele. Photo by Megan Yanz Photography
Lois and Donele. Photo by Megan Yanz Photography
I recently had the privilege of visiting the home and studio of Lois Ehlert, Milwaukee’s award-winning children’s book author, along with my photographer friend Megan Yanz. Ehlert published a personal and inspiring new book in March called The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life, which you can learn more about in our previous post about our visit to Ehlert’s studio. Ehlert’s home, as you can see from Megan’s photos that accompany this post, is a welcoming gallery-like space that deserves its own story. Please enjoy this continuation of our visit to Lois Ehlert’s home and studio, and note that there is a giveaway at the end of this post.

Categories
Behind the Scenes Museum Store

Milwaukee Studio Visit: Beth Eaton Pottery

Chatting in the studio. Photo by Megan Yanz Photography
Chatting in the studio. Photo by Megan Yanz Photography
Visiting the Bay View studio of Beth Eaton Pottery, I had the enviable sense of the elements of work and family, business and creativity in harmonious balance. Beth Eaton’s work is featured in the Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art exhibition store, and is full of warmth and laughter and radiates a go-with-the-flow attitude as well as a clear vision. She is someone who both creates and responds to possibilities. An early example: When Beth and her husband bought their home in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood, the property needed a garage. Even though their family was just starting out at the time, she thought, why not take the opportunity to create a studio space in this new structure, full of possibility? Although when her children were very young Beth had less time to dedicate to her craft, now that they are older (Hedy just celebrated her seventh birthday and Charlie is twelve), the space is now the base of operations for a growing professional pottery studio. Read on to learn more about Beth and see pictures of her beautiful studio (and for a giveaway!).