Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

Still Controversy Over Art Museum Addition

Journal Sentinel offers inaccurate account of how new addition got built. Here's the real story.

By - Nov 17th, 2015 10:19 am
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Journal Sentinel offers inaccurate account of how new addition got built. Here's the real story. Back to the full article.

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8 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: Still Controversy Over Art Museum Addition”

  1. Chris says:

    Geez, Bruce. Is this more a behind-the-scenes story of the art museum addition or a slambastic journalistic critique of Schumacher’s coverage of the story? The controversy you’re highlighting seems less with the art museum and more with the Journal Sentinel. You should at least title it as such.

  2. Frank Galvan says:

    Schumacher is definitely mediocre enough to survive the coming purge and then continue serving up her tripe at the new J-S.

  3. Anonymous Architect says:

    The now abandoned initial design is clearly a derivative of the much lauded Discovery World white brick. From basic composition (solid block over glass) to material and color (glass and white metal panels) to its proportions. And yes, Discovery World is another building that could aptly be described as an above average suburban office park denizen.

    Why is it so unbelievable that an acknowledge Shields’ design a mere couple hundreds yards away, could never be a Shields design on the Art Museum? Politic-design insider games notwithstanding, I believe there is a curious effort to distance the designer’s name from a design that couldn’t be more identifiable due to its brethren immediately adjacent.

  4. Bruce Murphy says:

    Actually, Discovery World and the new Milwaukee Art Museum are quite different, both successful in their own way, both designed by Shields. And if you truly are an architect, how about revealing your name?

  5. casey says:


    I believe the commenter was referencin the initial design that was scrappes not what we see today.

  6. Does the anonymous architect make anonymous buildings too?

    Seriously, I don’t understand your point.

  7. Bill Kissinger says:

    What a treat of a tale, one sweetened by the tasty glazed-over details. So much Kabuki for such a tiny tart!

    Chris above believes this article is about the credulous critic and should say so in the headline. I disagree. It is a story about a confident critic who called BS, the editor & publisher who stood with him and the consequences of their acts. Let’s focus on the exemplary rather than the mediocre. Spotlight the exemplary & send the mediocre to the shadows.

    Congratulations to Jim Shields, an exemplary architect who absented himself rather than lend his name to a mediocrity. And who, with just a whisper, rescued an exemplary design.

  8. Bill Kissinger says:

    Anonymous architect makes a key observation, but somehow misses the point entirely. As his/her comparison clearly demonstrates, form & palette alone don’t guarantee a good design. In Shields’ hands the bar & cylinder forms and the palette of glass & metal panel are employed to great effect at Discovery World. We need only look at the scrapped design for the MAM to see the same form & materials in the hands of a lesser talent.

    And, as I’m sure AA knows, good buildings are knocked off by hacks all the time. It seems clear that, while laboring in Shields’ shadow, this lesser talent brought in when Shields withdrew asked WWJD? (What Would Jim Do?) To that architect I say, “I knew Jim Shields, I worked at HGA with Jim Shields. You sir are no Jim Shields.”

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