Meet up with family and friends to enjoy art making with the Kohl’s Art Studio, a variety of music performances, yoga, and more at this free outdoor event series. Everyone’s invited to the Museum’s east lawn to soak up summertime creativity and culture, weather permitting.
Grab a seat, find a table, or bring your own picnic blanket—and enjoy the outdoors during Lakeside at MAM. Create art, catch live programming, attend a yoga class, and take in the sights on the green space where the Museum hugs Lake Michigan. Weather permitting, Lakeside at MAM is open with free admission; it’s all-ages friendly and easily accessible from the Oak Leaf Trail.
Some highlights are family art making with the Kohl’s Art Studio team, yoga, any number of diverse musical groups, Milwaukee favorite Ko-Thi Dance Company, story reading and games!
My wife is a working artist and educator. I have dabbled in art most of my life. So vacations nearly everywhere we go includes visits to museums or other cultural sites. So this idea has been wandering around in the back of my brain for a month or two now. But it is finally starting to come into focus.
But basically the idea is to write about actual museums. When critics visit museums it is generally to review a particular seasonal or traveling show. All well and good and quite exciting to read. But unless a museum is opening or re-opening after a remix/remodel, nothing is written about the actual museum.
So my plan is to change that. As we travel and visit museums I certainly may continue to comment on significant shows…but I want to document the actual museum; its location, its physical appearance, its physical presence, its various amenities, and its collection(s) or specialties.
Sound like fun? I hope so.
But why the title, A Place For A Muse? Well one of the hang ups in putting this idea to work was a working title. And that all came apparent to be apparent while attending a university class on mythology and the professor mentioned that museum comes from muse. And looking around the internet I found any number of fuller translations from the Latin or Greek…like seat of the muses, shrine to the muses, place for the muses, etc. So I pondered any number of these sources and definitions and went with a simpler and hopefully more apropos title.
Hope you come back to read about my discoveries and thoughts about museums!
If you’ve been following along you know what I did on my pre-holiday vacation. A little trip to Cleveland and a lot of time spent at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Just across the hall from the Revealing Krishna show is Picturing Motherhood Now! Quite a thought provoking locally curated show that presents us with a lot of different representations of what we think motherhood can be. Some of the works are exceptionally touching. Some of them didn’t quite connect me to the idea of motherhood. But there is a lot of very accomplished and dynamic work to see here.
One of the paintings that captured my attention and emotions is Portrait of her Mother by Mequitta Ahuja (American, born 1976). She writes, “I make paintings by scraping away paint, figuring something new out of loss”. This painting was done during the last months of her mother’s life and I find it quite compelling.
Another painting that puts me in a similar frame of mine is Titus Kaphar’s Not My Burden. The painting features two Black women who have been touchingly depicted and are certainly two individuals. But they are holding children consciously absent…so absent that the canvas has been actually cut away to show the exposed gallery wall in a brilliant white. The museum wall card suggests that the missing children might represent white children who are often cared for by Black women or Black children who have been tragically lost and a hole is left to their mothers. This painting is probably the show’s centerpiece and most gripping…
There are a number of very elegant but evocative sculptures as well. This clay mother and child or Madonna by Rose B. Simpson (American, born 1983) is a prime example. Ms. Simpson is working with traditional methods used by her family and ancestors in the American Southwest. Titled Genesis this sculpture is both tied to our immediate era and timeless at the same time.
And then we have a group of multi-media sculptures by Alison Saar (American, born 1956) that are troubling in their content. These works are based on an enslaved child character, Topsy, from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I am going to post a number of photos here. One from the museum that shows us the clear vision of Rice, one of three sculptures on display from a series of five. And then I will provide two more that I took that show all three in the context of the show. The three figures are Indigo, Cotton, and Rice. The youngster is clearly shown wielding the tools of slavery and harvesting cotton. A clear indictment of our past…and a prod to think about what that means to our present.
And now a bit of whimsy: Louise Bourgeois (American, 1911 – 2010):
Picturing Motherhood Now runs through March 13, 2022. This show is ticketed and tickets can be purchased online at the link shown here. Be sure to check the museum website for COVID precautions before visiting.