On the shoreline of Lake Michigan, amidst the vibrant city that is Milwaukee, you will find a masterpiece of architectural design – The Milwaukee Art Museum. Having been only a visitor to Milwaukee in the past, I had never made it out to the museum. As a local now, I feel it is my responsibility to play tourist and learn about the incredible landmarks that make this city special and its people proud.
Quadracci Pavilion’s design “responds to the culture of the lake: the sailboats, the weather, the sense of motion and change…in the crowning element of the brise soleil, the building’s form is at once formal (completing the composition), functional (controlling the level of light), symbolic (opening to welcome visitors), and iconic (creating a memorable image for the Museum and the city).” – Santiago Calatrava
Talk about vision! The museum with its signature wings (actually a moveable sunscreen), floor to ceiling windows, and shaped like the bow of a ship overlooking Lake Michigan is a treat for the eyes. All white in design (inside and out) it is the perfect landscape to showcase a variety of art and events. Its clean and minimal design excites the imagination and left me curious about what art lay in its midst. Before strolling through the exhibitions and galleries, make sure to take a moment to appreciate the beauty of Windhover Hall and its incredible views. You can even grab a light bite or beverage to be enjoyed in the café. A quick stroll through the gift shop provides you with a slight glimpse of the artwork displayed and gives you more reason to leave with a fun memento.
30,000 works of art..
Yes, you read that right. 30,000 works of art can be found throughout four floors and over forty galleries! Artists such as Monet, Picasso, Warhol, and Homer are some that are represented. Ranging from paintings to sculptures to photography, prints and decorative art … there is something for everyone here to appreciate.
Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America
“Design is highly approachable for our visitors, especially today where people are surrounded by more thoughtfully designed experiences than ever before. This exhibition is not only an opportunity to highlight this pivotal moment in design history, but also engage visitors in a new way.” – Marcelle Polednik
The highlight of my tour was certainly the newest exhibit, Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America. Creativity uninhibited. This exhibit was exquisitely done. From start to finish, you enjoy the history of midcentury design not just in furniture or the home, but how it played a role in corporate settings, children’s products, and how it encouraged problem-solving and experimentation. The exhibit is also interactive, allowing children and adults alike to engage with toys of the time. Giant cards (like the ones you will find at the entrance of the museum) are also provided to visitors to play and build with. Irving Harper, Isamu Noguchi, Charles and Ray Eames are some designers featured in this exhibition. The “spirit of play” is emphasized and reflects how important it can be to innovation and originality. If you have not yet seen this exhibit, lucky for you, it runs till January 6, 2019.
A gift shop specifically for this exhibit can be found at the end of the tour, allowing visitors the opportunity to pick up playful gifts for the family… perfect stocking stuffers for the upcoming holidays!
Another display worth mentioning is the Constable? A Landscape Rediscovered exhibit. This exhibit runs till February 17, 2019, and provides a glimpse into the research and examination that many artworks require on the backend. Did you know that the Milwaukee Art Museum has a conservation lab? I certainly didn’t! This display walks you through the investigation of a painting and whether or not the artist was, in fact, John Constable. Documents, video, and the painting itself are on display. No spoilers here… but I encourage you to go find out for yourself by visiting! All I will say is, a mystery was solved.
If the artwork alone doesn’t rouse you to explore the museum, events like MAM After Dark, yoga, Storytime in the Galleries and Kohls Art Generation Studio are worth checking out (for both adults and families)!
Interested in paying a visit? Make sure to check out details on their website!
Watch the latest segment on Fox 6 reviewing the museums most recent exhibit too!
Have you ever visited the Milwaukee Art Museum? If so, is there an artist or gallery you like most?
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