The inspiration, thought, and planning that happen before a single brush or tool is picked up can be as important to a work of art as the masterful execution of the object itself. In the season of process, the Milwaukee Art Museum will explore works that intricately merge conceptual exploration and art making into the final object.
Beginning April 19, Museum visitors will have the opportunity to see the meticulously crafted works of Cedarburg, Wisconsin–based furniture maker Charles Radtke. On view through August 25, Charles Radtke: Contained, the first retrospective for the artist, features more than 35 works, including cabinets, tables and chairs that blur the boundaries between furniture and contemporary sculpture. The exhibition celebrates Radtke’s explorations into the function of the cabinet as a container, and several works have intricately designed interiors or hidden compartments.
“This season at the Museum, we highlight two artists, James Nares and Charles Radtke, whose lengthy careers are marked by deep conceptual rigor and technical mastery. Each has continually evolved and adapted his artistic process to translate ideas into compelling art objects,” said Marcelle Polednik, PhD, Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director, Milwaukee Art Museum. “The multifaceted films, photographs, and paintings in Nares: Moves and the incredibly detailed cabinets in Charles Radtke: Contained invite viewers to look beyond the materials to consider, respectively, motion and time, and ideas of containment. I am eager for our visitors to experience these exhibitions and the accompanying programs and to enjoy an inspired and inspiring summer at the Milwaukee Art Museum.”
The Museum will also present the first retrospective exhibition for New York–based artist James Nares this season. On view from June 14 to October 6, 2019, Nares: Moves explores in-depth the artist’s films as central to his artistic practice, and reveals his significant five-decades-long career bringing the concept of motion into the spotlight. Through photographs, drawings, paintings and sculpture, the exhibition highlights the key projects of this prolific, perpetual inventor and investigates his seminal contribution to contemporary art.
A new display of selected prints from the collection of Kevin Fahey and Ray Grzebielski will be on view in the American art galleries through August 4, featuring works by the 19th-century master etchers and lithographers James McNeill Whistler, Francis Seymour Haden, and Joseph Pennell. Fahey and Grzebielski amassed their collection over three decades and have enriched the Museum’s collection with a series of significant gifts.
The longtime Chicago residents, who have roots in Wisconsin, noted, “We have been collecting prints for several years and are glad that works from our collection have found a good home at the Museum.”
Kohl’s Color Wheels, the Museum’s mobile studio offering free art activities, will visit a variety of outdoor community events throughout the summer, including Polish Fest, Juneteenth Day, Summerfest, Bastille Days, Wisconsin State Fair, and Mexican Fiesta. Through Kohl’s Color Wheels, kids and families will create art inspired by the Museum’s summer exhibition and Collection.
Sculpture Milwaukee returns to Wisconsin Avenue for a third year this summer. The Museum will again host docent-guided trolley and walking tours, beginning June 12. Tours are $17 for adults and seniors and $6 for kids 12 and under.
“When the weather gets nicer, it’s almost like the Museum becomes a different place, with the gorgeous lakefront, the patios opened up and people taking advantage of the Museum as part of a full day of enjoying the city,” said Amanda C. Peterson, Senior Director, Audience Engagement, Milwaukee Art Museum. “From family fun to evening parties, we try to host one-of-a-kind creative experiences so everyone can find themselves at the Museum.”
MAM After Dark, the mostly monthly party at the Museum and supported by Northwestern Mutual, continues this spring and summer with themes tied to exhibitions, plus one theme chosen by Museum Members. On April 19, local talent takes center stage at MAM After Dark, thanks to evening sponsor Summerfest, with local bands, local artists and all sorts of Milwaukee-loving fun just a few days after 414 Day.
Retro New York City is the MAM After Dark theme on August 16, thanks to evening sponsor Educators Credit Union. Visitors will explore a taste of the urban playground that inspired James Nares and the No Wave scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Hip hop and punk-inspired music and performances will make it an evening to remember.
The 2019 Visionaries, supporting the exhibitions and artistic vision of the Milwaukee Art Museum throughout the year, include Debbie and Mark Attanasio, John and Murph Burke, Sheldon and Marianne Lubar, Joel and Caran Quadracci, Sue and Bud Selig and Jeff Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation.