There is more than one way to look at a work of art. This spring, the Milwaukee Art Museum will give visitors the opportunity to view and appreciate paintings, photographs and videos from a variety of perspectives.
"Our responsibilities as a museum go beyond protecting and showcasing art. We must provide context, invite fresh interpretation and help visitors see something new in the works, and even in themselves," said Marcelle Polednik, PhD, Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director, Milwaukee Art Museum. "With the variety of exhibitions and programs in this season of perspectives, we aim to encourage visitors to look at art in new ways and also explore their own points of view."
Opening Feb. 15, "Bouguereau & America" showcases more than 40 masterful paintings by French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905). The exhibition explores the artist’s remarkable popularity during America’s Gilded Age and shares the stories of the people who acquired the paintings on view. The first major exhibition on the artist since the 1980s, "Bouguereau & America" will offer new perspectives on the paintings that form the backbone of many museum collections. "Bouguereau & America" is co-organized with the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and on view in Milwaukee through May 12.
Through the video and photography in "Sara Cwynar: Image Model Muse," opening March 8, Canadian-born and Brooklyn-based artist Sara Cwynar (b. 1985) explores the subjects of color and design, particularly in the context of how we conceptualize beauty. The exhibition, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, reveals the ways in which commercial goods can stand in for larger systems of power. Image Model Muse is co-organized with the Minneapolis Institute of Art and is on view in Milwaukee through July 21.
In the Collection Galleries, prints from the significant collection of works on paper that Chicagoans Kevin Fahey and Ray Grzebielski recently gifted to the Museum highlight two important yet seemingly oppositional modern subjects: the city and the farm. The prints, by 20th-century masters, are on view through March in The Godfrey American Art Wing. A second selection from their collection will open in April.
On March 1, illuminated manuscripts, or handwritten books, from the Middle Ages and Renaissance will be on view in the European art galleries. The exhibition, composed of objects from local collections, looks at the bookmaking process and at how creating and interacting with the manuscripts was once a form of religious devotion.
Featured in the 20th- & 21st-Century Design Galleries is an installation about the adaptive clothing line Functional Fashions (1955–76), which explores notions of independence and rehabilitation in postwar America.
Up-and-coming talent is presented in the 400 works of art by Wisconsin students, grades seven through 12, featured in the 2019 Scholastic Art Awards: Wisconsin Exhibition. On view Feb. 2 through March 17, in the Schroeder Galleria of the Museum, the juried exhibition celebrates young talent from around the state. The works are selected from over 3,500 submissions in categories that include Comic Art, Photography, Video & Animation and Ceramics & Glass. The Milwaukee Art Museum has hosted the Scholastic Art Awards for the Wisconsin region since 1976.
"How does Milwaukee make it through winter? By making sure we make the most of spring," said Krista Renfrew, Director of Special Events, Milwaukee Art Museum."With installations by some of the most talented florists around, one-of-a-kind workshops and classes, as well as a marketplace full of local vendors, it’s growing into the best one yet."
April 11–14, visitors will be able to see a floral perspective on works from the Museum’s Collection at Art in Bloom, presented in partnership with the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Garden Club. Over 35 art-inspired floral installations will be on display throughout the Museum. The annual event includes family activities, informational presentations and friendly competitions such as the Beauty in Bloom Fashion Show, on Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m., and the fast-paced floral arrangement elimination challenge Pruned, at 11 a.m. on April 13.
Educators Credit Union is the presenting sponsor of the event. Art in Bloom adult admission is $19 in advance and $24 at the door. Member admission is $5, and kids 12 and under are always free thanks to Kohl’s Cares. Some of Art in Bloom’s special programs may require an additional ticket. More information is available at mam.org/bloom.
On March 10, the Museum will host a reunion for graduates of the Museum’s Junior Docent School Program of any age. For more than 40 years, third- to fifth-grade students from all around the Milwaukee area have participated in the popular program, which offers regular art education and interpretation. All Junior Docents are invited to bring artwork they created, share their experiences, sign the "yearbook" and more. For more information, contact Sarah Ozurumba, email@example.com.
At Play Date with Art, on Feb. 8, March 8, April 19 and May 10, the Museum’s youngest visitors can drop in with family members to create art to take home and sing along during Singing Time at 10:30 and 11:15 a.m. Activities are designed for children ages 0-5 along with their caregivers.
Docents also lead Drop-In Tours of the Museum building and highlights from the Collection each Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m. Drop-In Tours are free with Museum admission.
MAM After Dark, the semi-monthly party at the Museum supported by Northwestern Mutual, returns this spring with themes tied to the seasonal exhibitions.
"People sometimes have the impression that an art museum is a quiet, reserved place. And there are still people who haven’t had a chance to check out the Museum," said Amanda C. Peterson, Director of Marketing and Communications, Milwaukee Art Museum. "So we try to change that by throwing parties 10 Friday nights a year, celebrating the art and creativity, but also just as a fun thing to do with friends for less than the cost of regular Museum admission."
On Feb. 15, a night of old world Glitz and Glam at MAM After Dark makes for an unforgettable pal-entine’s or gal-entine’s evening, with luxury and fun inspired by Bouguereau & America in its first day of being open to the public.
March 15, MAM After Dark hosts a throwback edition of the popular Quiet Clubbing, with multiple DJs competing for the ears of the crowd under glowing wireless headphones.
Each MAM After Dark event features music, DIY stations, non-traditional art tours, Quizmasters team trivia, a photo booth from Front Room Photography, a scavenger hunt through the galleries and access to the Museum throughout the evening. Admission is $12 in advance, $14 at the door and free for Milwaukee Art Museum Members.
Yoga @ the Museum, presented by omTownYogis, continues on Feb. 16, March 16 and April 20. Yoga fans of any skill level can reserve a space under the wings, overlooking the waters of Lake Michigan, with a $15 donation.
Thanks to Meijer, admission to the Milwaukee Art Museum is free on the first Thursday of each month for individuals and families, excluding group and school tours. Meijer Free First Thursday takes place Feb. 7, March 7, April 4 and May 2, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Throughout the spring, enjoy time with friends, family or that special someone, around a table with good food and one-of-a kind lake views.
On Feb. 14, for Valentine’s Day, those who want a special experience can treat their Valentine to a three-course dinner at the Museum, while experiencing the romance of Bouguereau & America during Member preview. Reservations can be placed at mam.org/vday. Pricing is $150 per couple ($125 for Members), plus tax and gratuity.
April 21, visitors can enjoy a festive Easter brunch in Windhover Hall before exploring the Museum. Reservations can be made at mam.org/easter; pricing is $55 for adults ($45 for Members) and $15 for kids 7-12. Kids 6 and under are free.
On May 12, Moms will be spoiled with a sumptuous brunch in Windhover Hall. Reservations for Mother’s Day Brunch can be made at mam.org/mom; pricing is $55 for adults ($45 for Members) and $15 for kids 7-12. Kids 6 and under are free.
The 2019 Visionaries, supporting the exhibitions and artistic vision of the Milwaukee Art Museum throughout the year, include John and Murph Burke, Sheldon and Marianne Lubar, Joel and Caran Quadracci, Sue and Bud Selig and Jeff Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation.
For more information on these exhibitions and events, as well as additional programs, visit mam.org.