Friday, December 11, 2015


The permanent collection galleries of the Milwaukee Art Museum have been closed for the construction of a significant expansion of the galleries and a remake of the existing ones.  The galleries reopened in late November and I paid a visit in early December.  Unfortunately, my time was limited, so I will just have to pay future visits to get a better appreciation of the changes that the museum has undergone.

The museum's expansion has allowed for the public display of a larger portion of the institution's permanent collection and I was really pleased to see a number of pieces that I had not seen on previous visits.  Those included the following.

This piece, an acrylic box with a subtle shading, seems too simple, but there was something about the shading that I thought had real power.

The following shot, which I rendered as a black & white, was really only a portion of a larger work, but it was, in my mind, the most important part.

Then there were a couple of pieces of wall art that I had not seen before (or had forgotten).

When I was looking to take this second shot (which is a portion of a larger work), I heard the following exchange between a mother and daughter of about 10:

      Mother:  Oh, this is a strange piece.
      Daughter: What's so strange about it?

Well, the piece speaks for itself, but the daughter, who may have been a bit bored, was trying to establish her sophistication.

The following was an unusual piece, essentially consisting of a long rectangular aluminum tube, affixed to a wall at eye level.  I really wouldn't have paid the piece much attention if I hadn't noticed another patron (with a fairly sophisticated camera) who spent a good deal of time taking pictures, not showing the length of the tubing but, instead, sighting down the tube's interior.  So after she moved on I tried to figure out what she was up to.  I guess this was it (maybe).

Actually, I tried a number of shots, varying the point of focus as well as the depth of field.  I did like this shot OK (I think), focusing on the end of the piece and allowing the remainder to go out of focus.    Taken at f/5.0.

Although the museum's collection has some interest, in my mind the physical facility remains the institution's biggest draw.  The general galleries have been freshened and seem less cluttered, allowing the individual pieces of art more "room" for contemplation.  Here is a shot of the overall scene in the 

The ergonomics of the gallery area have also been improved, including the stairways, something I find myself shooting.  I liked the following shot for the unusual indirect lighting.

During my visit I also paid homage to the Calatrava atrium, taking the following shot of the windows in the atrium's "prow," looking out over the lake.


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