Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Press Release

Trajectory Series Opens February 27 at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum


By - Feb 12th, 2020 09:35 am

Milwaukee, WI – February 6, 2020 – The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum announces the opening of The Trajectory Series, a new exhibit guest-curated by Christopher Willey, director of UWM’s Immersive Media Lab, on February 27, 2020. The Trajectory Series is an exhibition that examines how creative behaviors advance cultures and technologies. The 21-week immersive exhibition features work by Benjamin Bardou, Sandra Byers, Bryan Cera, Alex Chowaniec, Jess Holz, Eduardo Kac, Quinn Madson, A. Bill Miller, Alex Myers and Thomas Thwaites. Through artworks, interactive media, events, storytelling, and an artist residency by Marianne Fairbanks, The Trajectory Series seeks to explore futures we are only now beginning to imagine. The exhibit runs February 28 – July 26, 2020. Members of the museum and media are invited to join the exclusive Member preview Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. CAVT Museums was recently awarded a Wisconsin Arts Board Grant, which is helping support this exhibition.

About The Trajectory Series

The Trajectory Series is an innovative, provocative exhibit at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum that explores the subtle evolution of creative behaviors and their impact on emerging technology and society through the lens of art. Guest-curated by Christopher Willey, the works in this immersive exhibit are inspired by — and created with — technologies like virtual and augmented reality, bioengineering and artificial intelligence. Each work examines tools and behaviors that are transforming the pace and scale of “how we do things around here.”

In talking about the exhibition, Willey explained, “Creativity and inventiveness are common links between the arts and sciences. Using technology as a verb instead of a ‘thing’ redefines it as a creative behavior – something we do naturally, and which evolves over time to aggregate new ideas.” Added Shana McCaw, Senior Curator, CAVT Museums, “Hosting The Trajectory Series at the Villa Terrace is to honor or evoke the spirit of invention, creativity and innovation that is shown through the museum’s architecture as well as the A.O. Smith company story.” A.O.’s son Lloyd and wife Agnes built the Villa.

The Trajectory Series engages the audience in exhilarating dialogue around the importance of creative behavior and the effects of technological advancement and complacency on society. Through exhibitions, interactive residencies, workshops and engaging events, The Trajectory Series asks museum visitors to evaluate their present and imagine possible futures ahead.

Curator’s Statement

The Trajectory Series seeks to redefine the overburdened word “technology” as a term that describes behaviors. The exhibition looks at the role creative behaviors play in the evolution of technology, and reframes systems like language, culture and the scientific method. Each exhibition space will offer context as well as prepare the audience for where technological advancements may be taking us. Ultimately, we hope our audience leaves with a greater understanding of their own creative agency, and how their collective behaviors might influence the future. By bringing minds together to focus on creativity and technology, we can gain a larger perspective.

Exhibition runs: Friday, February 28 to Sunday, July 26, 2020

Exhibition opens: Thursday, February 27, 2020

Members’ preview 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.. Talk by curator Christopher Willey at 7:00 p.m.

Exhibition programming

April 18 — Gallery Day Walk-Through

Walk through the exhibition with the curator and exhibiting artists.

11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Meet in the Villa lobby. FREE.

May 4 — Storytelling Event with Portia Cobb

Local filmmaker and storyteller Portia Cobb explores the relationship between technology, place and identity.

June 1–26 — Mobile Weaving Lab

An interactive, math-based weaving workshop created by artist Marianne Fairbanks. Visitors are welcome to drop in and help create nontraditional textiles. During regular museum hours. FREE.

July 18 — Closing Celebration: Digital Arts and Culture Conversation/Panel

Social hour (cash bar) 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.. Program 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. FREE.

About Christopher Willey

Christopher Willey is a creative and educator in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Willey is a lecturer in Art and Design at the University of Wisconsin’s Peck School of the Arts, and the Founder/Director of UWM’s Immersive Media Lab, which he founded in 2017. He teaches and explores the intersection of art and technology. His Immersive Media Lab at UWM is an “interdisciplinary research space with a mindset that creativity is the denominator between the arts and sciences.” Willey earned an MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute and a BFA at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.

Willey has exhibited both nationally and internationally, including: Exit Music at the Dow Center for the Arts Gallery, Interlochen, Michigan; Beasts of Burden at the Frank Juarez Gallery, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Frontier at the Prairie Street Gallery, Rockford, Illinois; and Community at the Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Willey has been awarded two Mary Nohl Export Suitcase Grants to install work in Zurich, Switzerland, and Rockford, Illinois. In 2013, Willey co-curated the Chasing Horizons exhibit at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum.

About Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

Overlooking Lake Michigan, the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is an Italian Renaissance-style villa designed by architect David Adler in 1923 as the residence of Lloyd Smith of the A.O. Smith Corporation, his wife Agnes and their family. The villa’s courtyards, terraces and Renaissance garden flowing down to the lake make it unique in Milwaukee. The permanent collection features fine and decorative arts from the 15th through the 18th centuries. The museum is also home to the Cyril Colnik Collection and Archives. Colnik was Milwaukee’s master decorative iron artisan from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. The museum is located at 2220 N. Terrace Avenue, Milwaukee.

General Museum Information

Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Admission: $10/adult; $7/student; senior (65+) and active military; free for museum members and children 12 and under. Group tours are available. For more information, call (414) 278-8295 or visit

Recent Press Releases by Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Art Museums Announce Reopening on July 29

Visitors will have opportunity to explore beautiful outdoor gardens and indoor collections

Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum

The Trajectory Series

Where Art and Technology Converge – Guest-Curated by Christopher Willey –

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