A Little Time for Some Culture

With a little time between press checks, and sleep deprivation not having set in yet, one of my co-workers and I headed downtown to the Milwaukee Art Museum. I'd passed by on my last trip out here, so was able to kind of retrace my steps when we go lost (actual navigation technique: that big gray area over there is the lake; let's aim for that and turn before we hit it).

Of course, the big draw is the Santiago Calatrava Quadracci Pavilion, a big, beatiful soaring white annex to the main building. Inside, it's an amazing open space, with kind of a "bow" surrounding by windows pointing to the lake, where the gray sky that had accompanied our arrival was starting to break. A huge oval atrium kind of thing allows you to look straight up at the Burke Brise Soleil (the "wings"). There's a long hallway, all swooping arches and windows and gleaming white that leads to the original part of the museum and just put me in the mind of a '60s sci-fi epic. It was an impressive entry to the main building.

We passed on paying the additional entry fee (I'm still adjusting to paying to get into museums, coming from DC) to the Bruce Nauman and headed to the first floor permanent collection. It's a series of around 24 rooms, maybe 10-15 pieces in each room, arranged chronologically from Medieval art to contemporary. We started at the end, in the Minimalism room, and worked our way through from there. An impressive collection, and though we were messing with the flow of time by working backwards (and stumbling into the wrong gallery occasionally), it's a plan that works well. My favorite discovery was a painting by Everett Shinn, one of those painters whose work up close just looks like slashes and blotches of paint, but from away presents an dynamic, evocative image.

We were there at closing time, so headed across the pedestrian bridge from the Pavilion to watch the Brise Soleil fold its wings down to cover the building for the night.

Still regretting not having brought the camera, but my co-worker took some photos. I might be able to get some to show here later.


Marsha 'Mars' said...

Apparently all that 'forced culture' paid off.

Steffen said...

For another view of forced culture at the MAM, see this note in the LA Times.

Good that they can sort that out those minor security issues before the comics show travels there next month.