Milwaukee Art Museum Milwaukee Art Museum
Milwaukee, WI
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Milwaukee Art Museum
700 N. Art Museum Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Phone: 414-224-3200
Fax: 414-271-7588

Email: mam@mam.org


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The San Quentin Project: Nigel Poor and the Men of San Quentin State Prison
October 18, 2018–March 10, 2019
Bradley Family Gallery

This exhibition debuts Nigel Poor’s San Quentin Project and presents personal narratives about life inside prison through visual documents, photographs, and an acclaimed podcast. The project’s visual documents were made collaboratively by Nigel Poor (American, b. 1963) and the men incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, the photographs are from the prison’s archive, and the audio, from Ear Hustle, is a podcast featuring stories of life inside prison, shared and produced by those living it.

Begun in 2011, The San Quentin Project has evolved from Poor’s experience teaching visual literacy at the prison for the Prison University Project. Tracing the evolution of her social practice, from mapping exercises to essays and interviews, the work in this exhibition utilizes personal narrative to illuminate and counter common stereotypes the public might have about prison populations.

The San Quentin Project not only invites audiences to consider how images of prisoners have been codified, but also seeks to promote the critical reading of cultural codes and power structures inherent within visual images. Ultimately, the project hopes to raise awareness of the overwhelming benefits arts and humanities offer to incarcerated individuals and the communities they will re-enter. A three-day symposium, co-organized with Marquette University, will envision the role of the arts in criminal justice reform by inviting scholars and artists to Milwaukee to address these issues.

Organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum
Presenting Sponsor:
Brico Fund
Supporting Sponsors:
Bader Philanthropies Milwaukee Art Museum’s Photography Council
Education Sponsor:
Mastantuono & Coffee, S.C.

Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America
September 28, 2018–January 6, 2019
Baker/Rowland Galleries

Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America explores the projects of over 40 designers who advocated for playfulness and whimsy within their creations for corporations, domestic interiors, and children. The exhibition presents play as a serious form of inspiration, experimentation, and problem solving. In midcentury America, such playful design occurred against the backdrop of a booming consumer market and as a counterbalance to Cold War–era anxiety. Furniture, toys, textiles, films, posters, ceramics are among the objects featured.

Co-organized with the Denver Art Museum

Family Pictures
September 14, 2018–January 20, 2019
Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts

Family Pictures explores the ways in which black photographers and artists have portrayed a range of familial relationships, from blood relatives to close-knit neighborhoods to queer communities.

Beginning with Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes’s groundbreaking 1955 book The Sweet Flypaper of Life, the exhibition gathers photographic series, installations, and videos by an intergenerational group of artists, including John Edmonds, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Lyle Ashton Harris, Deana Lawson, Lorraine O’Grady, Gordon Parks, Sondra Perry, Ming Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems. Their images of family life often maneuver between intimate, everyday stories and broader political realities, between the universal human condition and the particular histories of race in the United States. As Lawson says of her work, “Every day is political, the everyday is personal.”

A touchstone for several of the artists in the exhibition is the work of Roy DeCarava (American, 1919-2009). Coming of age in Harlem during the 1940s, DeCarava reacted against what he saw as superficial stereotypes and “sociological” studies of his neighborhood by mostly white outsiders. With the aid of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1952, the artist set out to create expressive photographs of life in his community. He eventually published 140 pictures along with text by Langston Hughes in The Sweet Flypaper of Life (1955), a fictional family album that tenderly captures intimate moments of domestic life both in Harlem and seemingly everywhere.

Organized by the Columbus Museum of Art
Supporting Sponsor:
Milwaukee Art Museum’s African American Art Alliance
Exhibitions in the Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts sponsored by:
Herzfeld Foundation Madeleine and David Lubar

Constable?: A Landscape Rediscovered
September 7, 2018–February 17, 2019
European Art Galleries, Level 2, Gallery S202

The Annual Layton Art Collection Focus Exhibition

The Museum houses over thirty thousand works of art; behind the scenes, staff care for and continue to research all the works that reside within its walls. In focus here is a painting that was ascribed to the great English landscape painter John Constable (1776–1837) when it entered the Layton Art Collection, in 1941. Recent conservation on the painting has brought this attribution into question.

Listen to the Constable?
Follow along with the twists and turns in uncovering the mysteries of this work of art in a three-episode podcast produced by House of Who. Episodes 1 and 2 are available now on iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

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