As the summer travel season kicks off, Milwaukee’s iconic art institution showcases new and redesigned spaces and access to more of its impressive collection
Milwaukee, Wis. – June 1, 2016 – Following a 6-year, $34 million transformation that opened last fall, the Milwaukee Art Museum – the largest visual art institution in Wisconsin and one of the oldest art museums in the nation – is set to welcome summer visitors from far and near.
“The Milwaukee Art Museum is one of the crown jewels of Milwaukee and, especially following our recent expansion, a top-notch cultural destination for casual visitors and art aficionados alike,” said Praveen Krishnamurti, Milwaukee Art Museum chief experience officer. “With some especially unique and innovative special exhibitions, we’re ramping up for a busy and exciting summer hosting the thousands of summer travelers set to pass through our city as well as local residents who have not yet had a chance to experience the new Museum.”
With dramatically enhanced exhibition and public spaces, the recent renovation and expansion creates an intuitive and welcoming visitor experience. In collection galleries now spanning 150,000 square feet, the Museum has installed 2,500 works – almost 1,000 more than have been on view previously – from its world-class Collection of 30,000.
With the official opening of the expansion last November, the Museum unveiled its first spaces devoted to 20th- and 21st-century design. In addition, the 10,000-square-foot Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts – a space unparalleled in magnitude and scope for a museum of this size – represents the first time the Museum has dedicated significant permanent collection and gallery space to photography, video and light-based media.
Other enhancements include new, expanded and interactive spaces for families including the Kohl’s Art Generation Gallery and Kohl’s Art Generation Lab; a new entrance along Lake Michigan that connects the Museum to the lakefront path; East End Wine Bar, a coffee and wine bar with outdoor lakeside seating; and panoramic views of the lake and the Museum’s iconic Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion. The new Bradley Family Gallery doubles the capacity for special exhibitions.
This summer’s feature exhibition, American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood, will be on view June 10 – September 5 in the Baker/Rowland Galleries. This major re-evaluation of Benton’s art, the first in more than 25 years, explores how the motion picture industry influenced and ignited the artist’s imagination.
Melding Old Master European painting traditions with Hollywood’s cinematic and production techniques, Benton reinvented 20th-century American narratives and captivated the public with his signature brand of visual storytelling. The exhibition pairs clips from Hollywood movies with Benton’s art from the 1920s through the 1960s to take visitors on a journey through America’s myths and into its national character.
“As the final stop on the national tour of American Epics, we’re delighted to present visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museum with a rare look at more than 100 of Benton’s works, including paintings, murals, drawings, prints and illustrated books,” said Brandon Ruud, Abert Family Curator of American Art at the Museum.
This summer, the new Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts will feature Penelope Umbrico: Future Perfect, the first major museum exhibition of the New York-based photographer whose career spans the advent of the Internet. Umbrico mines the flood of images on Craigslist, Flickr, and other social media sites and appropriates them as source material to create large-scale installations that reveal contemporary society’s collective photographic habits and the underlying desires that shape them. On view now through August 7, Future Perfect features new work made specifically for Milwaukee alongside the artist’s most acclaimed projects from the past decade.
During the coming months the Milwaukee Art Museum will also prepare to welcome Dr. Marcelle Polednik as the first Donna and Donald Baumgartner director. Polednik, who succeeds Dan Keegan as Museum director, was selected after a robust national search from a field of dozens of candidates and is expected to begin working at the Museum in mid-August.
Finally, the Museum will once again host Milwaukee’s definitive summer arts event, the Lakefront Festival of Art (LFOA), June 17-19. LFOA features the works of more than 170 national artists amid activities, food and entertainment, while serving as a primary fundraiser for the Museum.
For a full calendar of summer events and exhibitions along with comprehensive visitor information, please visit www.mam.org/uncrated.
About the Milwaukee Art Museum
Home to a rich collection of over 30,000 works of art, the Milwaukee Art Museum is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Its campus includes the Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion, annually showcasing three feature exhibitions, and the Eero Saarinen–designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center and David Kahler‒designed addition. The Museum recently reopened its Collection Galleries, debuting nearly 2,500 world-class works of art within dramatically transformed galleries and a new lakefront addition.
American Epics is organized by the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, in collaboration with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas. The exhibition was made possible in part by National Tour Sponsor Bank of America and a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 years of excellence, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Additional support provided by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Friends of Art.
Penelope Umbrico is presented by the Herzfeld Foundation.