The fall slate of visual art events examines life from distinct individual and cultural viewpoints.
The Milwaukee Art Museum opens European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century on Oct. 9. This overview of household objects, utilitarian in purpose but glorious in aesthetics, should awaken a new awareness of the benefits and pleasures of haute design. The show will contrast two design strains that have competed for sales, attention and intellectual high ground: Post-Modernism, with its whimsy and irony, vs. the Bauhaus sincerity, elegance and simplicity of a new generation of Modernists.
A very different sort of look at utilitarian objects is currently on view at MAM, in Art in Clay: Masterworks of North Carolina Earthenware. This exhibition, important for its depth of scholarship, is paired with the contemporary ceramics of Michelle Erickson. Erickson’s The Body Politic explores social, political and economic issues and sharply subverts the passivity of a traditionally decorative medium.
Politics and religion take center stage at the Haggerty Museum of Art, at Marquette University. Current exhibitions Let There Be Light: Stained Glass from the Collection of Oakbrook Esser Studios, and Holiness and the Feminine Spirit: Paintings by Janet McKenzie focus on contemporary work with a devotional aspect. And then we have The Black Panthers: Making Sense of History, the intimate politically and historically resonant work of Stephen Shames. He photographed key figures in the Panther movement from 1967 to 1973. Aperture, a non-profit arts group, organized this touring show. Shames will be in Milwaukee to speak about his work at 6 p.m. on Sept. 29.
The Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, commemorates another journey, with Here at Last! African-American Artists Who Teach at Wisconsin Colleges, Universities and Schools. The history of African-American artists in Wisconsin begins with a man named Joe, an escaped slave and a man of many talents, documented in this show through picture he painted of children wearing clothes he made. This show highlights the work of contemporary teachers of art who are active in higher education and prolific in their own work. The include Trenton Baylor (UW-Parkside), Brad Bernard (Mount Mary College), Larry Chatman (MIAD), Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis (UW-Madison) and George Williams (Beloit College).
UWM’s Inova is showing a retrospective of Adolph Rosenblatt’s painted clay sculpture, including Rosenblatt’s vibrant rendering of the late, lamented Oriental Pharmacy lunch counter, at the on-campus gallery through Nov. 10. Rosenblatt shares the gallery with sculpture by former students Joe Boblick and Henry Klimowicz and with paintings by his son, Eli Rosenblatt. Inova Kenilworth, at Prospect Avenue and Kenilworth Street, is showing a retrospective of the varied work of the late Bruce Conner and group show, Psychotrope, a survey of new video work, through Sept. 26. The 2009 Mary L. Nohl Fellowship winners show opens Oct. 8 at Kenilworth and runs through Dec. 12.
It’s not too early to mark your calendars for the next installment of Gallery Night on Friday, October 15 and 16.
And did this overview cover everything in visual art for the coming season? Of course not. Check the TCD calendar often to keep up with event in all the arts.