Wisconsin art and artists
From March 27 – August 2008, the work of Milwaukee-based artist Santiago Cucullu will be installed in the Schroeder Galleria at the Milwaukee Art Museum. This is a long narrow space flooded with light from the west, and should work well with the large wall drawings constructed of sculptures, contact paper and watercolors. Please note that I refer to Mr. Cucullu as “Milwaukee-based,” and I do so with a specific goal in mind, i.e. to quiet the thrum of those who paw the ground whenever MAM dares to feature the work of artists not born in Wisconsin, raised in Wisconsin or shaped their careers in Wisconsin. Cucullu was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina (in 1969) and art-educated in Minneapolis and Connecticut. He’s exhibited on both coasts and at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. His is a global vision. Regional art isn’t being deep-sixed, in fact, it has found a home at the Museum of Wisconsin Arts (MWA) in West Bend, a venue that has ambitious plans for expansion. It’s a bit unclear at this point if MWA will also include artists with no ties to Wisconsin, but I venture to guess they will. I can think of no good reason why they shouldn’t if the quality is high and their mission is to educate and illuminate. The Milwaukee Art Museum’s mission is quality work, no matter where that work is produced. Nothing is ever perfect, but their position strikes me as reasonable rather than confrontational. It’s ridiculous to imagine they base their curatorial decisions on where artists hail from.
Meanwhile, I’m waiting for a list of “Wisconsin” artists who are part of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s permanent collection. I’m wondering myself who will turn up on the list. MAM just purchased their 8th piece of work by former Milwaukeean, Michelle Grabner. That’s good for starters.