Tom Strini
Milwaukee Scribe

Four things I’ve been meaning to tell you

The Milwaukee Art Museum brings on curator Tanya Hall, Lee Ann Garrison on the late Cissie Peltz, "Eggs Benedict" update, the Pulitzer winner Ayad Akhtar.

By - Apr 18th, 2013 02:50 pm
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Tanya Paul, the Milwaukee Art Museum's incoming curator of European art.

Tanya Paul, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s incoming curator of European art.

The Milwaukee Art Museum has announced appointment of Tanya Paul as the Isabel and Alfred Bader Curator of European Art. Paul will join the Museum in June.

Paul is currently the Ruth G. Hardman Curator of European Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a position she has held for nearly four years. Among the exhibitions she has curated for the Philbrook, Scenes from the Low Countries: Dutch and Flemish Prints in the Age of Rembrandt, The Sinuous Line: Jacques Callot and the Rebirth of Printmaking in Early Modern France, and Precious Possessions: The Art of The Portrait Miniature.

The exhibition Elegance and Refinement: The Still-Life Paintings of Willem van Aelst, which Paul organized while she was at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, was based on her 2008 dissertation on the Dutch painter. The exhibition later traveled to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and received excellent reviews in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

“Tanya Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this new position at the Museum,” said Brady Roberts, chief curator for the Milwaukee Art Museum. “Her expertise in Dutch still life paintings, as well as her expertise in European printmaking, makes her a tremendous asset as we begin our reinstallation process. I look forward to working with Tanya as we move forward.”

Paul has previously worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the University of Virginia Art Museum (now the Fralin Museum of Art), and the J. Paul Getty Museum. She received her MA and her PhD from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Paul’s position at the Museum as curator of European art is newly funded by Alfred and Isabel Bader, longtime supporters of the Milwaukee Art Museum. Alfred Bader is a renowned collector and dealer of European old master paintings.

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Artist Lee Ann Garrison remembers Cissie Peltz, the late gallery owner:

I met Cissie when she opened her gallery in the old purple Victorian house on Knapp Street. I began showing work there in 1997 and from then on in the annual Remarkable Women shows. At first I used to think she should create a new postcard design for the Remarkable Women. But each year she sent out the same card with one of her cartoons of woman dashing about with art in front of the Victorian gallery. Only the information on the back was updated. There were our names listed alphabetically, along with the nationally famous, such as Lesley Dill, Jane Freilicher, Alison Saar and Kiki Smith.

After a few years, I grew attached to this card and looked forward to its annual return. A month or so before the show, Cissie would always call and ask me to bring in work for Remarkable Women. I can still hear her voice. You could tell she was smiling, even over the phone. Whenever I stopped in the gallery she would greet me like her best friend, ask me to sit down, and offer me some wine, even mid day (which I never accepted). All of her artists were her best friends. All of her clients, too. We all will miss her.

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Debra Brehmer, of the Portrait Society Gallery, emailed the latest on the controversial “Eggs Benedict,” which has attracted international attention:

“After a month of worldwide attention Eggs Benedict, Niki Johnson’s portrait of emeritus Pope Benedict XVI woven from 17,000 condoms, is being offered for public sale.

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Strini, working hard at TCD World Headquarters.

“A percentage of the final sale price will go toward AIDS research and advocacy. An initial bid of $20,000 has been offered by Milwaukee LBGT activist and philanthropist Joseph R. Pabst. Offers are being accepted at www.eggsbenedictproject.com. The deadline for bidding is May 21, 2013. The artwork is on view at the Portrait Society Gallery through May 28, 2013.”

Milwaukee playwrightAyad Akhtar, 42, claimed the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Drama earlier this week, for his play Disgraced, a sharp look at a successful lawyer who set aside his cultural heritage as a Pakistani Muslim, only to have it resurface as a result of – in a great theatrical tradition – the fateful dinner party gone wrong. Akhtar’s play was first performed just south in Chicago, at American Theater Company in January 2012, before making its Broadway debut at Lincoln Center Theater last fall, starring Aasif Mandvi. Among Akhtar’s other works: a novel, American Dervish, about a Pakistani-American boy growing up in Brookfield and his struggle to define his identity and religion – a plotline with reflections of Akhtar’s own life.

Categories: Theater, Visual Art

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