The Milwaukee Art Museum is prepping to reopen after being closed for 14 months while the collection was de-installed, an addition built – along with other construction work, including a new HVAC system.
The new-look MAM swings its doors open to the public on Nov. 24 (though members get a preview on Nov. 21-22), but we went inside to see what's happening right now. (Here's a similar peek we got in January.)
The expansive new galleries will display 2,500 works of art – 1,000 more than before – and benefit not only from more space, but much improved sightlines, brighter lighting, better wayfinding and more. I'm especially pleased that the new HVAC system has rid the Saarinen building of that damp smell that lingered there for decades.
Although the permanent galleries are still closed, the museum restaurant, cafe, Kohl's Art Generation studio and shop remain open. And this week, MAM opens a great photography show, too.
1. The museum now has much-improved sightlines; 200 feet in some cases
2. More space and creative use of space means more than 1,000 more works can be displayed
3. Once-dark areas are now better lit
4. The addition brings visitors right up to the lake and creates new vistas
5. Some works, including especially fragile ones, are already in place
6. Some old favorites are coming back
7. The clackety wooden Kahler building steps have been snugged up and cleaned ... gorgeous!
8. You can now again enter the museum from the lakefront
9. This intimate second-floor gallery is my favorite
10. The lower level has a large photography gallery
11. Like the Calatrava, the addition now has an oculus, too
12. The entrance from the Quadracci Pavilion features a Milwaukee icon
13. The addition will have a cafe space here
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.