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Behind the Scenes Exhibitions

Behind the Scenes–The Music of the “Wings”

Quadracci Pavilion, Milwaukee Art Museum. Designed by Santiago Calatrava.
Quadracci Pavilion, Milwaukee Art Museum. Designed by Santiago Calatrava.

Picture this: You’re watching the wings open on the Museum’s Quadracci Pavilion and you realize you hear music… Ever wonder who is behind its creation? I have! The answer is the talented Kris Martinez, Interactive Designer at the Museum. Below, straight from Kris, is everything you ever wanted to know about the music of the Museum.

My name is Kris Martinez, and I am an Interactive Designer at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Some of my daily tasks include designing websites for our feature exhibitions, creating interactive installations, and creating television commercials. I also compose musical themes for the Museum.

For the past year, the Museum has featured short musical pieces that play when the wings open and close. This happens three times a day: 10 AM when the Museum opens, noon when the wings flap, and 5 PM (or 8 PM on Thursdays) when the Museum closes. Each arrangement is unique and is inspired by the Museum’s feature exhibition.

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Art Events Exhibitions

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: August 29-September 5

Looking for something to do as the kids head off to school this week? Come in to the Milwaukee Art Museum! The Museum is open seven days a week through Labor Day, and active military and their families receive FREE admission, thanks to Blue Star Museums.

But – on Thursday, September 1, admission is FREE for ALL individuals thanks to Target Free First Thursdays! The Museum is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, and it will be your last chance to see The Emperor’s Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City for free before it closes on Sunday, September 11.

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Art Behind the Scenes Museum Store

A Simple Translation from Museum Artwork to Museum Keepsake

The Museum Store has a dedicated staff person whose primary responsibility is “Product Development.”

Julia Jackson is the Museum Store’s creative brain-power and organizational manager behind items like the Roy Lichtenstein Crying Girl V-neck T-shirt shown at left (I get so many complements when I wear mine and it’s really soft, too!) and the Calatrava-inspired “Wings” earrings that I love.

Every time you pour coffee into your Edmund Tarbell’s Three Sisters mug or admire Bastien-LePage’s Woodgatherer on a poster on your wall, you can thank Julia!

Here is a simplified breakdown of Julia’s design and organization process:

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Behind the Scenes Education

“Help Harmony Blossom”–Art Xpress 2011

Araceli puts finishing touches on her panel for the mural.
Araceli puts finishing touches on her panel for the mural.

This summer, fourteen teens from all around the Milwaukee area came together for three packed weeks with a hefty task: to create a mural for the side of a Milwaukee County Transit System bus that would address an important issue in the community, inspired by themes in the Museum’s The Emperor’s Private Paradise exhibition of Chinese art.

That’s right: these teens, pretty much all on their own, had to design a bus mural that included a thought-provoking slogan, a high quality work of public art, and which, as a whole, positively encouraged a viewer to consider how we can improve our city. When I bragged about these teens and their work to my friends, family, and colleagues, I got some raised eyebrows. No one asked, but I could see it in their eyes:

Fourteen people all work together on a project like this? On a public art piece that would be displayed for an entire year?

How could adults accomplish that, they seemed to say, let alone teens?

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Art Behind the Scenes Curatorial Exhibitions

Being an Intern: It’s not only Makin’ Copies

Prancing Horse with Head Turned, Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE), detail.
Prancing Horse with Head Turned, Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE), detail. James E. Conley, Jr. Collection. Photo by the author.

In 2005, as a senior Art History major at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I worked as an intern for the Museum’s Curatorial Department in Earlier European Art. Working under the expert intern-wrangling leadership of Catherine Sawinski, Assistant Curator of Earlier European Art, I industriously contributed my research (compiling artist biographies for the 2006 Biedermeier: The Invention of Simplicity exhibition) and customer service (answering public inquiries) skills to the greater cause of making the Milwaukee Art Museum run.

Breaking my daily routine, Laurie Winters (now the Museum’s Director of Exhibitions) and Mary Weaver Chapin (now the Museum’s Associate Curator of Prints & Drawings) asked me if I could go to Chicago with Mary for the day to help with a cataloging project.  We would be visiting an Asian art collection to inventory, measure, and photograph all the objects.

As an intern, I was thrilled with this great opportunity, but I had no idea that this material would reappear in my life 6 years later!

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Art Events

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: July 18-24

Bring the family to the Chinese Cultural Festival, July 23 and 24

Summer has hit Milwaukee with a big whollop of hot and humid, but the Milwaukee Art Museum is cool, so bring the family down and enjoy. Kids 12 and under get in free everyday.

This week the Museum plays host to a few exciting events. On Thursday, July 21, the Museum welcomes Melissa Chiu, director and curator for contemporary Asian and Asian-American art at the Asia Society in New York. She’ll be giving a lecture at 6:15 p.m. in Lubar Auditorium about contemporary Chinese art. Stick around after the lecture and walk amongst the new installation by contemporary Chinese artist Yue Minjun.

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Art Events Exhibitions

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: July 11-July 17

Contemporary Chinese Warriors, Yue Minjun, 2006

Welcome to another sweltering week in Milwaukee, with big things happening at the Museum.

Have you seen the latest installation in the Summer of CHINA series? It’s called Contemporary Chinese Warriors and it’s by Chinese artist Yue Minjun. The 26 satirical statues are located in the Museum’s Contemporary Galleries, on the Main Level.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

Conversation with the Curator: Way of the Dragon

Chipstone curator Kate Smith standing in "Way of the Dragon" at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Photo by Claudia Mooney.
Chipstone curator Kate Smith standing in "Way of the Dragon: The Chinoiserie Style, 1710-1830" at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Photo by Claudia Mooney.

The Chipstone Foundation recently opened its Summer of China exhibition: Way of the Dragon: The Chinoiserie Style, 1710-1830, which will be on view until November 6.

I sat down with the show’s curator, Kate Smith, to discuss the concept of “chinoiserie” as well as the exhibition process.

Claudia Mooney: I know a lot of visitors are probably wondering this, What does chinoiserie mean?

Kate Smith: The term “chinoiserie” basically means “in the Chinese style”. It refers to objects that are made outside of China in imitation of Chinese objects and images.

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Art Events Exhibitions

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: July 4-July 10

Happy Fourth of July from the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Museum is open Monday, July 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for active military and their families is free. We hope you include the Museum in your Independence Day plans.

Also happening this week, there’s a Gallery Talk on The Emperor’s Private Paradise at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5, and an Express Talk on the feature exhibition on Thursday, July 7 at noon.

Categories
Art Events Exhibitions

What’s Happening at the Milwaukee Art Museum: June 27-July 4

It’s another busy week at the Museum, with Gallery Talks, lectures, and the opening of a new exhibition. And don’t forget the Museum is open on Monday, July 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Tuesday, June 28, enjoy a Gallery Talk at 1:30 p.m. in The Emperor’s Private Paradise. There’s also a 30-minute Express Talk at noon on Thursday, June 30 for those looking for something different to do over the lunch hour.