Exploring Visual Arts across Madison
Apr 9, 2014
Art Worth a Road Trip
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM
"Hit-Mu-To (Hitler-Mussolini-Tojo)" by Lawrence H. Lebduska, part of the Milwaukee Art Museum's "Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art" exhibition
Now that warmer weather has finally arrived, you might be inkling for a little road trip. This past weekend, I ventured east to check out Uncommon Folk: Traditions in American Art at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
The exhibition features nearly six hundred paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, textiles, decorative arts and other works from the museum’s extensive collection of folk and self-taught art, which it began amassing in the 1950s.
Walking through the show is overwhelming—in a great way. Vibrant quilts and colorful paintings jump out at you, while wooden sculptures demand a closer look. A collection of duck decoys makes you pause and consider the beauty of these objects, and a wall of wooden fish serves as a striking end note.
Uncommon Folk runs through May 4, and an upcoming show makes the museum worth a future visit. Kandinsky: A Retrospective (June 5–September 1) highlights masterworks by Wassily Kandinsky alongside the artwork of his contemporaries.
And there’s plenty of interesting art to be found across the state this spring.
• The Racine Art Museum celebrates clay art in a variety of exhibitions: Magic Mud: Masterworks in Clay from RAM’s Collection (through May 4) is a large group show of contemporary sculpture and functional clay works, while Collection Focus: Sergei Isupov (through June 8) is a mid-career retrospective of the innovative clay artist. In addition, Madison artist Martha Glowacki’s If Only We Had Met—Six Stories (through July 20) features an installation inspired by historical photographs found at Wisconsin flea markets and antique stores. And the 5th Annual International PEEPs Art Exhibition (April 18–May 4) turns the colorful, sugar-coated marshmallow candy into art.
• Among the seasonal highlights at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend are Handmade for Hard Times: The Milwaukee Handicraft Project (through June 15), highlighting the toys, prints, furniture and fabrics women were taught to make during the Depression-era work program; Carl Corey: For Love and Money (April 25–July 27), in which the Hudson photographer documents longstanding family-owned businesses in Wisconsin; and Fresh Impressions: Contemporary Wisconsin Printmakers (April 17–July 16), a showcase of printmakers from around the state.
• Nearby, at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Arts/Industry: Collaboration and Revelation (through August 31) marks the fortieth anniversary of the Arts/Industry residency program through nearly 250 works made by artists in the Kohler Co. Pottery, Iron and Brass Foundries and Enamel Shop.
• In The Photography of David McLain (April 15–27), the Trout Museum of Art in Appleton honors the photographer who made a name for himself shooting features around the world for National Geographic Magazine and other publications.
• And Wausau's Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum shows an environmental focus through three exhibitions: ReDress: Upcycled Style by Nancy Judd; Nature Composed: The Insect Artistry of Jennifer Angus, a site-specific installation by the UW–Madison professor; and Salvage & Selvage: Artwork by the Fiber Artists Coalition. All three shows run April 12–June 15. And Pop art lovers won’t want to miss Pop Art in America (June 21–August 24), which features works by the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jim Dine and more, from the NSU Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale.