I have documented a number of pop up sculptures in Lake Park that are visible from Lincoln Memorial Drive. As I’ve mentioned before they have become touchstones or landmarks for me as I travel from Bay View to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee campus. But in the late spring and summer they are very very hard to keep track of as the foliage surrounds them.
So it was with a great deal of excitement that I found a brand new one during my recent sojourns to campus. This one is on park property and easy to see. It is just immediately south of the gardens of the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. One of the other major installations is just immediately north of these same gardens, on private property, but clearly visible from the park…currently just a bit obscured by some of the luscious summer foliage. So here it is (and I apologize for the photos…they are washed out a bit by the mid-day summer sun):
and to get a better idea of their construction, here are some close ups of the components.
And in the meantime, it seems to me that two of the smaller original pieces have been removed. Whether by the artist, the county parks people, or a vandal I have no way of knowing. But here are the two that I think have now gone missing.
As fall starts to denude the trees and shrubs and puts the vines and undergrowth to sleep for the winter, we all need to watch for new additions to the unseen art in our midst.
and if you know who the artist is, I’d like to talk with them. They can remain anonymous if that’s their wish. Or if you see more around town, I’d like to be able to document them…so let me know about them, please: email@example.com
The Paine Art Center And Gardens has been a museum that my wife and I have talked about visiting on any number of occasions. But it never quite fit our schedule. So recently as we headed for an opening of a membership show of the Wisconsin Pastel Artists at the Richeson School of Art and Gallery in Kimberly WI, we put a stop in Oshkosh on our itinerary.
The art center is housed in the beautiful English Tudor mansion shown in the photo that opens this post. Originally planned as an estate by Nathan Paine (Paine Lumber Company) and his wife, Jessie Kimberly Paine (Kimberly-Clarke Paper), construction was started in 1927 and the exterior was completed in 1930. But due to the depression, construction was halted for a time and by the post-WWII era, the Paines decided the mansion would house an art center/museum…the lovely space that we enjoy today.
The interior of the mansion consists of a number of grand staged rooms filled with period furnishings…much of it of French influence. And a great number of late 19th Century paintings by French and American artists and a solid representation of the Barbizon school. Behind the mansion is a group of formal, informal, and event gardens heavily influenced by English gardens. I took the following photos during our visit to the Paine…and my skills here…don’t do justice to the amazing art center.
And here we have the entry hall. As you will see, wood has a prominent place in design, construction, and decoration throughout the building.
Now here we have the Great Hall or ‘living room’. The influence here is Tudor and Elizabethan and the wood accents and carvings were completed by Paine Lumber Company artisans. Now, visitors aren’t allowed to enter the central areas of these rooms and are limited to small roped off areas just inside the doorways or the doorways themselves. This is fine for studying the rooms and furnishings but does limit one’s appreciation of some of the carving and the paintings displayed around each room.
And you also need a place to dine and eat breakfast…so these open and naturally lit spaces are just absolutely inviting!
Now I mentioned paintings. Every room has a selection of delightful paintings as do any number of hallways, passageways, and meeting areas. Prominent artists in the permanent collection at the Paine include George Innis, Jean-Francois Millet, Charles Francois Daubigny, Thomas Moran, Wilson Henry Irvine, Leroy Ireland, J Francis Murphy (a new name for me and an exciting painter), Theodore Rosseau, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, John Edward Costigan, Lillian M. Genth, and others. One highly recognizable painting is a portrait of George Washington attributed to Gilbert Stuart.
And one more photo of some worked wood in a banister and landing:
And a few photos of the gardens (the tulips were in full bloom) and the rear of the mansion from the gardens!
There is a nominal entry fee at the Paine Art Center and Gardens, currently $9.00 per adult and grants admission to both the mansion and gardens. And besides the permanent collection, there is an exhibition space on the first floor that features seasonal or traveling shows. On our visit it was an incredible show of contemporary bead work by South African women artists based on traditional beading. Here is a photo of part of the central piece.
The Paine also features The Studio on the lower level where a variety of art activities and classes take place…so it is actively and directly involved with the community.
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!