For more than two years, the conservation team at the Milwaukee Art Museum has been collaborating with other experts to conserve Robert Gober’s Untitled installation so it can return to the galleries and again immerse viewers in an animated, watery scene, as the artist originally intended. When visitors peer inside the suitcase, they often think the watery tableau is created by a screen. The truth is much more exciting! What you see is a sculpted pool filled with gently lapping water, silicone seaweed, and wax limbs. But this installation, like all artwork, is not inert. Gober made the work in 1997, and over the course of 26 years, mechanical elements became worn and algae grew.
In the Driver’s Seat: Steering a Volvo into the Museum
Spoiler alert: Visitors who come to the Museum for the exhibition Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980 will find a Volvo in the galleries. Dedicated to the extensive cultural exchange between Scandinavia and the U.S. in the 20th century, the exhibition presents the Volvo and its innovative seatbelts as examples of design for social change.
Paging Through the Publications on View in “Scandinavian Design and the United States”
Alongside the brightly colored Dala horses, large-scale woven artworks, and fabulous furniture featured in the Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980 exhibition are eight publications from the Milwaukee Art Museum Research Center—two magazines, an exhibition catalogue, three books, a beautiful serigraph, and an interactive ergonomics manual.
Why, you may be asking, are these publications on display in an exhibition with works of art and design?
Travel to the studio of Tom Jones, and watch as he creates Bella Falcon, a monumental beaded photograph. The artwork received its debut in the exhibition Native America: In Translation at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The work is the latest addition to Strong Unrelenting Spirits, his portrait series of present-day Ho-Chunk people.
Learn how different objects and materials can change colors and sounds! Look closely at how Christopher Wool used stencils in his Untitled painting in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection. Then use tape resist to make your own colorful paintings. Hear local chamber ensemble Microcosm perform a song where objects block sounds like our tape blocks colors.