- April 1, 2023
- Posted by: Phil Block
- Category: Uncategorized
A March adventure ended the month for my partner and me. Taking advantage of a nice day, which are sometimes hard to come by in the late-winter climate of Wisconsin, got us on the move. Our main intent for this adventure was to see two feature exhibits currently on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum, to be followed by subsequent stops to be determined.
Milwaukee Art Museum
Native America: In Translation
The museum’s website describes this exhibit as follows.
“The ultimate form of decolonization is through how Native languages form a view of the world. These artists provide sharp perceptions, rooted in their cultures.” —Wendy Red Star
In Native America: In Translation, 10 artists consider Indigenous histories, cultures, and representation through a contemporary lens. Photography, a medium historically used to suppress and stereotype Native cultures, is reclaimed by these artists, who are, in the words of the curator Wendy Red Star, “opening up space in the art world for new ways of seeing and thinking.”
The exhibition highlights the featured artists’ perspectives on community, identity, heritage, and the legacy of colonialism on the American continents. Among them, Martine Gutierrez used the fashion magazine format to question the social construction of identity in her work Indigenous Woman. In nindinawemaganidog (all my relations), Rebecca Belmore combined symbolic elements from her past performance works to call attention to violence perpetrated by governments against Native people. And in photographs unique to the Milwaukee Art Museum’s presentation, Tom Jones beaded portraits of people from his community with patterns referencing their Ho-Chunk cultural traditions.
Also featured in the exhibition are Nalikutaar Jacqueline Cleveland, Koyoltzintli, Duane Linklater, Guadalupe Maravilla, Kimowan Metchewais, Alan Michelson, and Marianne Nicolson. All 10 artists represent various Native nations and affiliations throughout what is now called North America, including Cold Lake First Nations, Ho-Chunk Nation, Lac Seul First Nation, Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw First Nations, Native Village of Kwinhagak Tribal Government, and Six Nations of the Grand River.
Native America: In Translation is curated by Wendy Red Star, an Apsáalooke artist whose work was included in the Museum’s recent exhibition On Repeat: Serial Photography. Native America: In Translation is organized by Aperture and was developed from the Fall 2020 issue of Aperture magazine guest edited by Red Star. The Native Initiatives Advisory Group at the Museum was instrumental in helping develop the programs we are offering in conjunction with this exhibition.
As with most of my other museum visits, key elements of the exhibit found their way into my camera’s viewfinder.
Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980
This exhibit appealed to us due to my partner’s Swedish ethnic heritage. The museum’s website describes this exhibit as follows.
Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980 is the first exhibition to explore the extensive design exchanges between the United States and Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland during the 20th century. The exhibition proposes an alternative to the dominant narrative that cites Germany and central Europe as the primary influences of modern American design, presenting new scholarship on the crucial impact the Scandinavian countries and America had on one another’s material culture. From this perspective, Scandinavian Design investigates timely themes such as the contributions of immigrants to their adopted societies, the importance of international exchange, the role of cultural myths, and designing for sustainability and accessibility.
Spanning from the arrival of Nordic immigrants to the U.S. in the late 19th century through the environmentally and socially conscious design movements of the 1960s and 1970s, the exhibition showcases more than 180 objects, including furniture, textiles, drawings, ceramics, jewelry, glass, and product designs that reflect the far-reaching effects of the Scandinavian and American cultural exchange. Highlights of the presentation include Paulding Farnham’s Viking Punch Bowl (ca. 1893) for Tiffany & Co. and a study for the woven hanging Festival of the May Queen (1932) by Eliel Saarinen and Loja Saarinen, which documents motifs most recently seen in the 2019 film Midsommar.
Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980 is co-organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in collaboration with the Nationalmuseum Sweden and the Nasjonalmuseet in Norway.
As with the previous exhibit, much of the creative artistry on display caught my photographer’s eye.
Bridgewater Modern Grill
After finishing up at the museum, it was time for lunch. We decided to try the Bridgewater Modern Grill, an new restaurant south of downtown Milwaukee. The contemporary decor was attractive and the food excellent. Recommended!
The Bridgewater website states,
Nestled in the heart of Milwaukee’s emerging Harbor District, The Bridgewater Modern Grill reflects its presence on the historic Kinnickinnic River with a specially crafted menu that explores the essence of fire in fine food.
A few lunchtime photos:
Exploring Bay View
After lunch we headed to Bay View, a lakeside suburb south of Milwaukee. Although I’ve lived in Wisconsin for almost 39 years now, I’ve never been to Bay View. It’s a great older community with picturesque downtown storefronts and several majestic old churches. Our goal today was to find Bay View Books and Music, since my partner and I like visiting used bookstores. We also ended up stopping in at nearby Rushmor Records. Finally, we ended today’s adventure by stopping for dessert at Honey Pie Cafe, where we enjoyed some dramatically overpriced, but excellent pie.
Of course, a few more pictures documented the last part of our adventure.