Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Heart Milwaukee Art

The Milwaukee Art Museum is perched on the shore of Lake Michigan.  From the side, it looks like a sleek sailboat.  The architect was Santiago Calatrava -- just how Spanish a name is that! 

We arrived early and took photos on the grounds.  Then, just before opening time, we climbed the stairs to the deck where we could get a good view.  Because at opening time, two giant wings come out of the building and suddenly, from a sailboat, the structure is transformed into a swan about to soar above the lake. 

Inside the building, light and shadows create intricate patterns.  The walls are poured concrete, smooth as silk and pure white.

Our excellent docent described Calatrava as a biomorphic architect -- and you can see the influence in this -- calling it a structure is inadequate, it's a work of art!  These rib-like constructions line the corridors which link the new part of the building to the older section which was designed by Eliel Sarinen and completed by his son, Eero.

The only color in the vast entry hall is this Chihuly piece.

Looking straight up -- I wondered what it would look like with the wings folded in.

Smoothly sculpted skylights provided illumination and interest.

The museum's collections range from antiquities to contemporary pieces.  I particularly liked this Renaissance creation -- late 16th-early 17th c, Flemish or Southern German.

I was surprised at the number of O'Keeffe paintings -- most of them were given to the museum by  Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley who had a personal association with the artist.  O'Keeffe, was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and attended high school in Madison.

Among the contemporary works, I was fascinated by this one by English artist Cornelia Parker.  Called "Edge of England," it is made up of chunks of stone which fell from the White Cliffs of Dover.

As usual on press trips, we literally ran through the galleries, unable to take time to really savor the experience.  Next time, rather than getting just a taste of this treat, I want the entire meal!