Milwaukee Art Museum
Press Release

Herzfeld Foundation Endows Curator of Photography and Media Arts Position at Milwaukee Art Museum

$3.5 million commitment continues the Herzfeld investment in highlighting photography at the Museum, and a steady trend of endowed positions at the institution.

By - Mar 8th, 2018 01:36 pm
Milwaukee Art Museum.

Milwaukee Art Museum.

Milwaukee, Wis. – March 8, 2018 – The Milwaukee Art Museum has announced the commitment of a major endowment from the Herzfeld Foundation in support of the Museum’s photography program. This most recent gift provides for the position of the Herzfeld Foundation Curator of Photography and Media Arts at the Museum in perpetuity.

“The legacy of Richard and Ethel Herzfeld and the thoughtful stewardship and leadership of the Foundation by Carmen and William Haberman have enriched the Museum, the community and the region,” said Marcelle Polednik, PhD, the Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. “Their generosity not only acts as a foundation, but also as a role model for future generations to come.”

This donation brings the total support from the Herzfeld Foundation of the Milwaukee Art Museum to over 9.9 million dollars. Previous gifts established the Herzfeld Photography, Print, and Drawing Study Center, which provides visiting scholars and students access to the Museum’s extensive collection of works on paper in 2001; founded the Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts, an integrated exhibition space dedicated to photography and the related media of film, video, and light installation in 2015; and supported more than 60 exhibitions and the acquisition of nearly 400 photographs for the permanent collection at the Milwaukee Art Museum since 1985.

“The generous support of the Herzfeld Foundation has been truly transformational for the photography program at the Milwaukee Art Museum,” commented Lisa J. Sutcliffe, the Museum’s first Herzfeld Curator of Photography and Media Arts. “The photography collection has been expanded both in scope and breadth over the last three decades with their support. From early nineteenth century masterpieces by William Henry Fox Talbot to experimental photograms by László Moholy-Nagy, and iconic photographs by American visionaries including Robert Adams, William Eggleston, Robert Frank, Helen Levitt and Stephen Shore, the photographs made possible by the support of the Herzfeld Foundation define key moments in the development of the medium. Edward Steichen’s Pool, Milwaukee, acquired in 1993, is particularly significant to this collection because it represents a moment in which Milwaukee’s history overlaps with that of photography.”

This position is the most recent in a series of endowed positions at the Milwaukee Art Museum, including the Barbara Brown Lee Senior Curator of Education and Programs in 2013 and, in 2016, underwriting for both the Abert Family Curator of American Art and the Donald and Donna Baumgartner Director as Marcelle Polednik, PhD became the Museum Director.

“The Herzfeld Foundation believes that an endowment provides a long term, secure and sustainable financial base, which along with the great space of the Herzfeld Center, will attract and retain the top talent needed to continue building a prestigious collection and mount great exhibitions,” commented Bill and Carmen Haberman of the Herzfeld Foundation.

The Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts, which opened in 2015 as part of the Museum’s extensive expansion and reinstallation, presents an integrated exhibition space dedicated to photography and the related media of film, video, and light installation. Presenting rotating collection-based and feature exhibitions, this dynamic gallery space enables the examination of light-based media in a broader 21st-century context.

The Herzfeld Center has been home to critically acclaimed photography and multimedia exhibitions, including Rineke Dijkstra: Rehearsals (2016), Penelope Umbrico: Future Perfect (2016), and Anthony Hernandez (2017). It is also the home to long-term multimedia installations from the Museum’s collection, such as Selections from The Survival Series, 1984-85, by Jennifer Holzer and You and I, Horizontal (II), 2006, by Anthony McCall. The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip, organized by Aperture Foundation, New York, is currently on view in the Herzfeld Center through April 22, 2018.

About the Milwaukee Art Museum

Home to a rich collection of more than 30,000 works of art, the Milwaukee Art Museum is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Its campus includes the Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion, annually showcasing three feature exhibitions, and the Eero Saarinen–designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center and David Kahler‒designed addition. In 2016, after a yearlong renovation, the Museum reopened its Collection Galleries, debuting nearly 2,500 world-class works of art within dramatically transformed galleries and a new lakefront addition. This reimagined space also allows for the presentation of additional changing exhibitions. For more information, please visit:

About the Herzfeld Foundation

The Herzfeld Foundation makes grants in the areas of Arts and Culture, Education, Arts Education and limited funding in Civic Improvements. The Herzfeld Foundation awards grants to non-profit organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Funding is restricted to Wisconsin-based organizations with an emphasis on those that benefit the people of the Greater Milwaukee area.

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