Tara Donovan exhibition now open

Posted on May 3rd, 2012

New installation by Tara Donovan highlights the extraordinary
Works at Milwaukee Art Museum showcase common materials in new lights

Milwaukee, Wis. – The Milwaukee Art Museum opens the latest installation in its “Currents” series with the sculptural works of contemporary artist Tara Donovan. The exhibition runs through October 7, 2012.

Recognized for her commitment to process, Donovan utilizes the inherent physical characteristics of common and manufactured materials—straws, pins, Styrofoam cups—and the multiplication and interaction of the individual units, to create organic installations with powerful perceptual and atmospheric effects. In 2010, the Museum acquired Donovan’s Bluffs, which is comprised of thousands of buttons, stacked and glued in such a way as to evoke glistening stalagmites or a coral reef.

“Donovan’s process involves selecting one material and finding one unique solution for its construction, whether it’s folding, gluing, stacking, or pressing,” said Brady Roberts, chief curator for the Milwaukee Art Museum. “This system—one material, one process, one solution—has its roots in the art of the 1960s. Donovan is an admirer of artists Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, and Chuck Close, each of whom developed rigorous systems and rule-based art.”

Currents 35: Tara Donovan features two of the artist’s major installation works: Haze, which covers a 32-foot wall with approximately three million straws, and Untitled (Mylar), which, activated by various sources of light, will face the lake.

The exhibition also includes four works made with thousands of nickel-plated steel pins—that are part drawing, part assemblage, part sculpture – and a large installation resembling crystals, made with clear plastic rods, broken into different lengths. As in all of her work, the source material is transformed and not immediately recognizable.

“’Currents’ is an ongoing series of exhibitions at the Museum that explores new trends in contemporary art, and Donovan is a rising star in the contemporary art world, known for her spectacular transformations of everyday objects,” said Roberts.

Tara Donovan has received numerous awards, including the prestigious McArthur “genius award.”

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.