Ralston Crawford: Art Is for Every Day

Through January 29, 2017
Godfrey American Art Wing, Level 2, Gallery K230

From his early paintings of the Great Lakes to prints and photographs of funerary monuments in New Orleans, the full range of Ralston Crawford’s output is featured in this exhibition thanks to a recent major gift to the Museum from the artist’s son. In 1958, Crawford had his most comprehensive and largest solo exhibition to date at the newly inaugurated Milwaukee Art Center. In the catalogue for that exhibition, Crawford described his work as “charged with emotion,” words typically not associated with the artist’s hard-edged, geometric depictions of America’s built environment and industrial landscapes. However, Crawford riffed on subjects in a manner similar to the New Orleans jazz musicians who influenced him, and he found inspiration in that music’s expressive sounds; like musicians, he also frequently worked serially and experimented with a single theme—finding inspiration in his daily routine and reminding people that “art is for every day.”

  • Ralston Crawford, Untitled [Red crane], ca. 1938. Gift of Robert Crawford. Photo by John R. Glembin.