About 2 weeks ago, I embarked on a trip to lovely Milwaukee, WI to catch a Rolling Stones concert (kicking off Summerfest 2015) and stop by to check out the Milwaukee Museum of Art, one of my favorite artistic locations I’ve visited thus far on my journeys. The incredible design and architecture notwithstanding, the museum usually boasts an impressive collection and/or exhibition. This trip was no different, it was actually one of the best museum exhibits I have ever seen…
“Van Gogh to Pollock – Modern Rebels”; strong title and expectation put forward. The show did not disappoint, neither did the Rolling Stones. (just so happened Buddy Guy was opening, and also joined the Stones on stage for a guttural rendition of “Champagne and Reefer”, amazing surprises were afoot.) With an exhibition involving such a scope of modern masters, I was hoping the responsibility of covering so many artists wouldn’t thin out the strength of the works included in the show. It surely did not. The best Miro I have ever seen in person, very strong work from Van Gogh and one of the largest and most captivating Pollocks I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Gallery after gallery, room after room, all star pieces from Dali, from Rothko, from everyone.
The accompanying audio guide was very well done, succinct and insightful. The same was true for the descriptions and details on the wall for each piece. I prefer these to be interesting and direct, and short. Much of one’s mental energy is spent just looking at the artwork in any given museum let alone reading 2 paragraphs of history on the piece. The museum did a splendid job in describing the works and displaying information on the walls throughout the numerous rooms and it never distracted from the presence of the artwork. At every turn it seemed a powerful piece from the pantheon of modern art awaited us. It was like traveling through an era, catching glimpses of expressions from the creative beings of the time. We spent a few hours going through the exhibition and exploring the museum and it’s surrounding areas. Gorgeous. Well done, Milwaukee. Well done.
The Milwaukee Museum of Art
Architects: Eero Saarinen, David Kahler, and Santiago Calatrava
“Van Gogh to Pollock – Modern Rebels” – Artwork on loan from Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York
Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Edgar Degas, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, among others.
Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983). “Le Carnaval d’Arlequin (Carnival of Harlequin)”, 1924-25. Oil on canvas. Support: 26 x 35 5/8 inches (66 x 90.5 cm)
Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989). “The Transparent Simulacrum of the Feigned Image”, 1938. Oil on canvas. 28 1/2 x 36 1/4 inches (72.4 x 92.1 cm).
Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956). “Convergence”, 1952 Oil on canvas 95 1/4 x 157 1/8 inches (241.9 x 399.1 cm).
Mark Rothko (American, born Russia, 1903–1970) “Orange and Yellow”, 1956 Oil on canvas 91 x 71 inches (231.1 x 180.3 cm)