On view now through March 25th in the Bradley Family Gallery, Jaime Hayon: Technicolor brightens up wintertime in Milwaukee with a colorful splash of fun and fantasy. The energetic exhibition features work from two decades of the Spanish artist-designer’s career, including textiles, ceramics, glass, drawings, and playground equipment. These works represent a wide range of approaches to making, thinking, and viewing, while also remaining unified by a refreshing sense of playful whimsy.
My grandmother made about a dozen quilts in her lifetime and having them around so much as a kid, I sort of took them for granted.
Before I worked at the Museum as an intern, I visited the Milwaukee Art Museum’s exhibition American Quilts: Selections from the Winterthur Collection in the summer of 2010. As many exhibitions of material culture tend to do, the display gave me a new appreciation for artforms that had surrounded me my whole life. I saw my grandmother’s craft in a new way, and as someone who just a few years ago mastered sewing on a button, the awe I feel for the craftsmanship is possibly only outdone by the respect I feel for the artistry of quilt making.
Quilting for America’s earliest settlers was first and foremost a practical endeavor. A time consuming but necessary task, scraps of worn-out clothing and bits of fabric were reused to create bedding. By the late nineteenth century, quilts existed in many styles, some of which were purely decorative, meant for display in the parlor or front room.
One such type was the “crazy quilt,” as seen in this spectacular example from the Milwaukee Art Museum’s permanent collection.
One of the seemingly mysterious practices associated with curating an exhibition is selecting artists and artworks. Once you have an idea for an exhibition, how do you know who and what to include? How do you know what artists are creating?
Even though I’d love to pretend that it’s some innate knowledge that all curators share, this is simply not true.
Studio visits are a great way to learn about artists’ practices. Usually when we at the Chipstone Foundation meet an artist, hear about an interesting artist, and/or we see an engaging artwork, we try to request a studio visit. Most artists are very accommodating and happy to show their work to those excited by it.