Postcards From America: Milwaukee Now On View at Milwaukee Art Museum

Posted on January 2nd, 2014

Postcards from America: Milwaukee presents 11 distinct photographic visions of Wisconsin
Artists respond to State Fair, Miller Park, Black River Falls

Milwaukee, Wis. – The Milwaukee Art Museum is proud to present Postcards from America: Milwaukee, the first museum exhibition of photographs from the Postcards from America project, initiated by a group of photographers to foster artistic and intellectual collaboration. The exhibition, which features pictures of Milwaukee and surrounding communities, from State Fair to women laborers, opened July 10 in the Museum’s Contemporary Galleries.

The Postcards from America artists, by nature of their participation in Magnum Photos, the international photographic cooperative founded in 1947, share a common interest in going out into the world to make pictures. This project has taken them through the Southwest; over the mountains to Utah; to Rochester, New York; and to Florida during the last Presidential election. For this most recent iteration of the series, the Museum partnered with Bruce Gilden, Jim Goldberg, Susan Meiselas, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Mark Power, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Jacob Aue Sobol, Alec Soth, Zoe Strauss, and Donovan Wylie. They visited the region in three stages from August, 2013 to April, 2014.

Drawing on the theme of the postcard, an informal souvenir sent from faraway places, the artists offer varied perspectives on the localities to which they travel, informed by their distinct histories, methods, and styles. The project fosters collaboration with each community it visits. In Milwaukee, students from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee acted as assistants to the visiting artists, often connecting them with subjects and research.

“From Donovan Wylie’s investigation of Wisconsin’s highway infrastructure, to Martin Parr’s playful look at the
State Fair, the works featured in the exhibition reflect the artists’ individual interests and visions,” said Lisa Sutcliffe, curator of photography for the Milwaukee Art Museum. Subjects range from students in Black River Falls to women laborers, candidates at a casting call, and ‘Milwaukee’s Best’ citizens.

As a part of the project, a selection of pictures will enter the Museum’s Collection, creating a lasting record of their exploration of the region.

“Rather than defining Milwaukee or Wisconsin, the resulting pictures offer different responses to place, ultimately suggesting the subjective nature of photography,” said Sutcliffe. “Through its uncommon structure and emphasis on process, this project offers an opportunity to reconsider the responsibilities and capabilities of documentary style photography—and allows viewers to see the region anew, through the eyes of a diverse group of outsiders.”

Postcards from America: Milwaukee is generously supported at the Milwaukee Art Museum by the Herzfeld Foundation. Additional support provided by Milwaukee Art Museum Photography Council and Pier 24 Photography. The exhibition runs July 10–October 19, 2014.

The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Admission is $17 for adults; $14 for students and seniors; and free for Members, Veterans and Active Military (through Labor Day),  and for children age 12 and under.
The first Thursday of each month is Target Free First Thursday and admission is free for individuals (does not apply to groups).

The Milwaukee Art Museum houses a rich collection of over 30,000 works, with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and is the world’s leading repository for work by untrained creators. The Museum campus is located on the shores of Lake Michigan and spans three buildings, including the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion and the Eero Saarinen-designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. For more information, please visit mam.org.