Milwaukee Art Museum -- Info

Milwaukee Art Museum Exhibition Schedule as of April 2007


Posted on April 1st, 2007

All exhibitions and dates are subject to change; please call to verify before publication. Images available upon request.

FEATURE EXHIBITIONS IN QUADRACCI PAVILION –
ON VIEW IN BAKER/ROWLAND EXHIBITION GALLERIES

Martin Ramirez/Ramirez in Context
October 6, 2007-January 13, 2008

Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945

February 9-May 4, 2008

Gilbert and George
June 14-September 1, 2008

ON VIEW IN KOSS GALLERY

Photographs from the End of the Earth
September 13-December 24, 2007

The Powerful Hand of George Bellows: Drawings from the Boston Public Library
January 10-March 23, 2008

A Revolutionary in Milwaukee: The Designs of George Mann Niedecken
April 17-July 20, 2008

ON VIEW IN THE DECORATIVE ARTS GALLERY

Art and Reform: Sara Galner, the Saturday Evening Girls, and the Paul Revere Pottery
October 25, 2007-February 10, 2008

J. Palin Thorley: A Life in Pottery (not official title)
Winter/Spring 2008

ON VIEW IN SCHROEDER GALLERIA

ON SITE: Santiago Cucullu
September-December 2007 and March-August 2008

FEATURE EXHIBITIONS IN QUADRACCI PAVILION –
ON VIEW IN THE BAKER/ROWLAND EXHIBITION GALLERIES

Martin Ramirez/Ramirez in Context
October 6, 2007-January 13, 2008

From rancher to Mexican laborer to inmate at the DeWitt State Hospital in northern California, Martín Ramírez (1895-1963) is considered one of the Big Three among twentieth-century outsider artists. Antiques and the Arts magazine calls Ramírez “a superstar among outsider artists, Ramírez exemplifies one man’s determination to communicate at all costs and in the face of numerous obstacles.” Ramírez created nearly three hundred drawings during the last fifteen years of his life in confinement. His complex, multilayered drawings of stags, cityscapes, churches, the Madonna, railroads, and other experiential imagery from his life are rich with expressive power and bear encaustic-like surfaces; the substrate, a quilt of layered scraps. Where Ramírez has been codified primarily as a schizophrenic artist, this first major retrospective of the self-taught master in more than twenty years presents approximately ninety-seven of his works on paper as works of artistic quality and merit-mental illness aside. Don’t miss this exhibition that the New Yorker called a “marvel and a joy.” 

The Milwaukee viewing of Martín Ramírez will feature a complementary exhibition of outsider art gathered from widely acclaimed collections in the region. This second exhibition will provide a broader context for the work of Ramírez while simultaneously giving recognition to the numerous high-caliber collections of self-taught and outsider art that exist in Milwaukee and vicinity.

The exhibition was organized by the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, and presented by JPMorgran Chase.  Additional support was provided by Altria Group, Inc., National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Mex-Am Cultural Foundation, Inc., and Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945
February 9-May 4, 2008

The first exhibition devoted to photography throughout central Europe during the key period between the World Wars, this dynamic and visually exciting presentation establishes the vital role that photography played in shaping modern art and modern consciousness. Divided into eight thematic sections, Foto: Modernity in Central Europe, 1918-1945 charts the phenomenal surge in photography across the region, from its widespread instruction in art schools to its ubiquitous presence in the burgeoning mass media. As they transformed traditional creative practices and challenged existing political relationships, artists like El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, and Hannah Höch-as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Karel Teige and Jaromír Funke-created revolutionary images whose legacy shaped the course of art throughout the twentieth century. The show includes work by artists from both sides of the deep political divide that characterized central Europe during this chaotic, exhilarating, and ultimately tragic period of history. A fascinating visual experience for the viewer, the exhibition and its catalogue represent a landmark contribution to our knowledge of modern art and history. 

An exhibition catalogue will be available. The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and curated by Matthew S. Witkovsky, assistant curator of photographs. The exhibition is coordinated at the Milwaukee Art Museum by Lisa Hostetler, assistant curator of photographs.

Gilbert and George
June 14-September 1, 2008

Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore, two sculptors who met in college, have been creating work for the last forty years that, according to TimeOut London, “tap into public opinion at just the right time.” Confronting the punk anger and racial tensions of the ’70s to consumer capitalism in the ’80s to the terrorism fears of today, the artists’ brightly colored photomontages, though comprised of images gathered within walking distance of the artists’ home on London’s East Side, are raw examinations of human experience. Gilbert and George features two hundred works that trace the stylistic and emotional development of the artists-now icons as the central figures in their art. The picture of British gentility in their dapper tweed suits, Gilbert and George nonetheless wanted to break free of the narrow confines of the art world and communicate beyond those limits, adopting the motto: “art for all.” This exhibition, described by the Associated Press as “bold and racy,” was organized by the Tate Modern and is their largest retrospective of any artist to date.

The exhibition is curated by Jan Debbaut and Ben Borthwick, assistant curator at Tate Modern. The exhibition is coordinated at the Milwaukee Art Museum by Chief Curator Joe Ketner.

ON VIEW IN THE KOSS GALLERY

Photographs from the End of the Earth
September 13-December 24, 2007 
            
Since its invention in the mid-nineteenth century, photography has played an invaluable role in the exploration and documentation of unknown geographical territory-the Earth’s polar regions among them. Many photographers, rather than simply recording the landscape encountered on these polar expeditions, seized upon the capabilities of the photograph as an artistic medium to capture the unique visual and psychological experience of the region. Artists to this day continue to be inspired by the spare, Artic and Antarctic landscapes-their imaginations often set alight by the images of the nineteenth-century photographers who first ventured there. A selection of these rarely seen nineteenth-century photographs will be among the works featured in this fascinating and timely exhibition comprised of approximately 65 photographs and stereographs dating from 1860 to the present day. Included will be images of Greenland from the Isaac Israel Hayes expedition of 1860-61 and contemporary photographs by Stuart Klipper of Antarctica. These photographs may one day be all that remain of a region now providing the most extreme evidence of our rapidly warming climate.

This exhibition is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum in collaboration with the American Geographical Society Library of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries and curated by Lisa Hostetler, assistant curator of photographs.

The Powerful Hand of George Bellows: Drawings from the Boston Public Library
January 10-March 23, 2008

A key figure in early twentieth-century American art, George Bellows captured the atmosphere of modern life in America at street level-its smell, its taste, its grit, and its excitement. This exhibition presents a selection of his graphic work including studies and finished drawings that evoke the first blush of his quick-witted line on paper, and a small number of lithographs that flesh out his achievement. The Milwaukee Art Museum will highlight the ten works by Bellows in the Collection, including the celebrated painting, The Sawdust Trail (1916), as well as several rare prints.

This exhibition is organized by the Trust for Museum Exhibitions, Washington, D.C., in collaboration with the Boston Public Library, and coordinated at the Milwaukee Art Museum by Mary Weaver Chapin, assistant curator of prints and drawings.

A Revolutionary in Milwaukee: The Designs of George Mann Niedecken
April 17-July 20, 2008

It is easy to look back over the twentieth century and witness the rise and fall of particular styles of interior decoration. However, in placing ourselves in the shoes of those Milwaukeeans in 1907, we are able to see how the revolutionary interior designs of George Mann Niedecken must have appeared shocking, strange, and yet, intriguing. As outside of the norm as some of his creations appeared, Niedecken was able to garner a substantial list of clients from Milwaukee’s upper social strata. 

This retrospective of his works in the greater Milwaukee area seeks to explore his commissions as defined by the space, the client, and the designer himself. While Niedecken is often defined by his important work with Frank Lloyd Wright, it is by no means the entire story. Niedecken brought a breath of fresh European air to Milwaukee’s stagnant interiors. His schooling in Europe during a pivotal period in International design affected him greatly. He was able to bring back to Milwaukee those tools that he explored while on the Continent and to interpret them for eager clients wanting the new, and in many cases, the avant-garde.

One of his first major commissions was for the newly widowed Emma Demmer, who had just completed her new residence on Wahl Avenue in 1907. The exterior, a very correct shingle-style Queen Anne, did not betray what Mrs. Demmer had commissioned Niedecken to execute by way of interior design. Over the course of the next three years, Niedecken committed himself to creating one of the most fantastic and thoroughly modern interiors in the city. Niedecken designed the furniture, rugs, leaded windows, and light fixtures based on the principles of the Vienna Secession and all in cutting-edge fashion. What her reaction was to this completed interior will never be known. Mrs. Demmer sold the house in 1912. The Demmer commission is nonetheless an important watershed in Milwaukee interior design, and led to a who’s who of other Milwaukeeans expressing their interest in the talents of Mr. Niedecken. The exhibition will also delve into his work with the Pabst, Bogk, Harnischfeger, and Mayer families, among others, and how he employed different architectural modes for each project. His work and relationships with other Milwaukee architects will also be discussed.

ON VIEW IN THE DECORATIVE ARTS GALLERY

Art and Reform: Sara Galner, the Saturday Evening Girls, and the Paul Revere Pottery
October 25, 2007-February 10, 2008

The Saturday Evening Girls Club was established in 1899 to provide cultural activities for Italian and Jewish immigrant girls who lived in the tenements of Boston’s North End. In 1908, the reform-minded club leaders founded a pottery to provide the girls with a clean and educational means to earn money. They named the enterprise the Paul Revere Pottery. The pottery exemplified the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement, which promoted handcraftsmanship, the integration of art into everyday life, and healthy working conditions for artisans. Art and Reform: Sara Galner, the Saturday Evening Girls, and the Paul Revere Pottery comprises approximately one hundred works from the pottery designed with playful, stylized imagery such as barnyard animals, native flowers, and rural landscapes. Almost all of the featured works were decorated by one woman, Sara Galner, a young Jewish immigrant from eastern Europe. The exhibition catalogue follows Sara’s life and career, offering a unique, personalized view into the pottery, the Arts and Crafts movement, and immigrant life in America in the early twentieth century.

This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

J. Palin Thorley: A Life in Pottery (not official title)
Winter/Spring 2008

The Colonial Revival in America remains a monolithic movement of such vast influence that historians, critics, and the public at large are only beginning to parse out its roots and effects. One story of how historical styles influenced twentieth-century design can be told by the life and work of potter J. Palin Thorley (1892-1987). Thorley was a third-generation potter who trained as a decorative painter and designer in some of Staffordshire’s most prestigious companies, including Wedgwood. He brought his talents to America’s large industrial potteries and then to Colonial Williamsburg where he supplied the newly established museum shop with reproductions of eighteenth-century teapots and vases. Colonial Williamsburg was the undisputed arbiter of taste for revival-minded decorators in the mid-century. Through that outlet, Thorley’s design aesthetic and potting skill widely influenced popular conceptions of “colonial” style between 1949 and the 1970s.

J. Palin Thorley: A Life in Pottery will feature over one hundred pieces of Thorley’s work as well as some of his tools, molds, and memorabilia. The lively and personable look at the tablewares so familiar to Americans today will offer new insight into the way we think about industrialization and historic style.

This exhibition is guest curated by long-time friend of Thorley, John C. Austin, retired curator of ceramics and glass at Colonal Williamsburg, and coordinated by Robert Hunder, independent archaeologist, ceramics historian, and editor of Ceramics in America. The exhibition is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Chipstone Foundation.

ON VIEW IN SCHROEDER GALLERIA

ON SITE: Santiago Cucullu
September-December 2007 and March-August 2008

Milwaukee-based Argentinean artist Santiago Cucullu chooses historically marginalized figures and events (often from his homeland’s anarchist movement) as the subject of his works, which include large wall drawings made of contact paper, watercolors, and sculptures. With his brightly colored, abstract visual language, the artist echoes the utopian aspirations of past revolutionaries, questioning the possibility of painting history objectively and examining how specific historical figures have been represented and understood by Western culture. Cucullu merges biographical details from the largely forgotten lives of his chosen historical figures with places and people recollected from his own, creating composite visual storyboards that mix references to high and low culture, range across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and freely jumble the contemporary with the historical. 

Cucullu’s chosen material for his large wall drawings is contact paper-no different from that found in hardware stores and used to line kitchen cabinets. He arranges a random and roughly geometric pattern of swatches on the wall before outlining and coloring in the negative space of his image in white; the whitened segments are then excised with an X-acto knife, leaving an elegantly composed multicolored cut-out ready to be glued to the gallery wall. His compositional choices, often made on-site while installing, add a performative element to an art form that already engages in a sophisticated flirtation with traditions of drawing and painting.

Santiago Cucullu was born in 1969 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and currently lives in Milwaukee. He received his M.F.A. from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1999 and his B.F.A. from the Hartford Art School in Connecticut. Recent solo projects include exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. Group exhibitions include the 2004 Whitney Biennial; How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Fresh: The Altoids Collection at the New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York.

MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM FACTS

The Milwaukee Art Museum includes the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, completed in October 2001. The Milwaukee Art Museum’s far-reaching holdings include more than 20,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day.

HOURS 

Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursdays until 8 p.m. (Supported by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation)
Closed Thanksgiving Day and December 25

ADMISSION

General admission prices: free for Museum Members, $8 adults, $6 seniors, and $4 students; children 12 and under free

FEATURE
EXHIBITIONS           

Some feature exhibitions require a separate ticket; a feature exhibition ticket includes general Museum admission. See www.mam.org for details.

GROUP TOURS           

For group tour reservations and discounts, call 414-224-3842.

# # #