Final Days of Accidental Genius; Free Admission Thursday, May 3

Posted on April 19th, 2012

Acclaimed Self-Taught Art Exhibition to Close May 6
Last chance to see Accidental Genius: Art from the Anthony Petullo Collection for Free on Thursday, May 3

Milwaukee, Wis. – Accidental Genius: Art from the Anthony Petullo Collection, an original exhibition of two hundred modern self-taught art works, will close on Sunday, May 6. The exhibition includes many of the most important European and American artists in the genre, and celebrates the significant gift of works by Milwaukee collector Anthony Petullo to the Museum.

Accidental Genius showcases an exceptional collection of eclectic modern self-taught art from creators driven by impulse, vision, and necessity, without regard for acclaim, popularity, or profit,” said Margaret Andera, adjunct curator. “The exhibition features drawings, paintings, and objects by leading artists, including Henry Darger, Martín Ramírez, Bill Traylor, Adolf Wölfli, Anna Zemankova, and Carlo Zinelli, among others.”

According to Museum Director Daniel Keegan, Accidental Genius highlights over two-thirds of Petullo’s gift, which represents one of the most extensive groupings of modern self-taught art in any American museum or private collection. In all, over three hundred works were gifted to the Museum.

“The gift of the Petullo Collection establishes the Milwaukee Art Museum as a leading American institution for the work of untrained creators, and comes at a crucial turning point in the history of the genre,” said Keegan.

Previously defined as “outsider art,” “art brut,” or “naïve art,” the works in the Petullo Collection, more often than not, were made by artists whose personal stories and motivations are as compelling as the art itself. The exhibition has received rave reviews from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, OnMilwaukee.com, The Shepherd Express, ThirdCoast Digest, and more.

Petullo, a retired Milwaukee businessman, built his collection over a span of three decades. Objects from the Petullo Collection have been on display throughout the country, including a six-stop museum exhibition, and various objects have been loaned to museums and galleries around the world.

“My collection reflects the driving passion of both the creators, and the collector,” said Anthony Petullo. “When I began collecting I had no idea the impact that my collection would have on the self-taught art world. I am grateful that I have had the fortune to share these incredible objects with so many, and I am honored that they will continue to be enjoyed at the Milwaukee Art Museum.”

Generous support for Accidental Genius: Art from the Anthony Petullo Collection is provided by The Anthony Petullo Foundation, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Einhorn Family Foundation, and Donald and Donna Baumgartner.

The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults; $12 for students, seniors, and active military; and free for Members 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’s far-reaching holdings include more than 30,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day. With a history dating back to 1888, the Museum houses a collection with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. The Museum includes the Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion, named by Time magazine as “Best Design of 2001.” For more information, please visit www.mam.org.