Milwaukee Art Museum


The Milwaukee Art Museum brise soleil at night
The Milwaukee Art Museum brise soleil at night

The 2001 Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum instantly became a symbol of Milwaukee's urban renaissance. In late 2015 the MAM expanded again - adding gallery space, cafe's, interactive children's areas, restrooms, parking, views of Lake Michigan and a completely new interior design and layout for the permanent collection where 2500 priceless works of art are displayed. There are also multiple special exhibit halls for rotating exhibitions.

Like a teaching museum, visitors progress through the major eras of art history - from ancient to contemporary. Its carefully curated galleries invite art observers into the world of the art. The Milwaukee Art Museum is a can't miss tourist attraction for visitors to Milwaukee, and and a cornerstone of the local and regional arts community.





Looking up in the Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum
Looking up in the Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum


Amidst the optimistic futurism of trance techno rave culture in the early 2000's the rhythmic lines of the Calatrava addition to the  Milwaukee Art Museum became an anthem of Milwaukee rising like a phoenix from the ashes of Midwestern rust belt decline. In the Calatrava, Milwaukee had an instant identity symbol; its self image that of a city transcending from a broken link in the industrial parts supply chain to an urban hive of cultural generation.

Milwaukee is built on strong bones. It has always been a city of makers and craftsmen. Its citizens fiercely loyal. Its natural resources abundant. Its social progress ahead of its time. The initiation of an urban renaissance only required a dusting off and reintroduction of its diverse cultural wealth. Constructing the world class architecture of Santiago Calatrava was a timely way to physically manifest the aspirations of a community anxious to break from the slowly trudging pack of middle America. Milwaukee embraced a new millennium, and the MAM became a monument to a community who had opened its arms to welcome new ideas.

The Milwaukee Art Museum's new relevance within the local community and region has continued since the Calatrava expansion. Art enthusiast have been treated to a parade of showstopping special exhibitions over the last decade. And, in 2015 another expansion was undertaken. Though architecturally understated - the HGA addition has elevated the museum experience yet again.

The museum inventory of art objects exceeds 30,000. Until recently, only 1500 have been on display. The 2015 expansion adds 1000 additional exhibits. More than just simply the addition of gallery space, the 2015 project completely reimagined the experience of viewing art in a museum.

Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after 2015 renovation
Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after 2015 renovation 


Like at teaching museums in university settings (and notably the nearby Chazen Museum at UW Madison), visitors to MAM move through art history in chronological order. Paintings and prints are presented in collages on the walls of galleries while freestanding dimensional objects frame views. Each gallery is treated as a space that has been carefully place-made with intelligent interior design.

Erudite art is often perceptibly distant - even when it is displayed in close quarters. The MAM's curation carefully pairs artworks in lushly textured spaces. As art observers we seem to be invited into the world of the artworks - to participate and complete the creative process.

Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after 2015 renovation
Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after 2015 renovation 

The Milwaukee Art Museum now covers even more ground. It is a full day experience simply to traverse its interior square footage. And even within this enormous house of art, quality is emphasized over quantity. Our favorites are still prominently displayed: the Georges Braque, Picasso, Georgia O'Keeffe, Rothko, Gober, and Renoir.

Seated Nude - Georges Braque - 1906
Seated Nude - Georges Braque - 1906
What separates exceptional and common in interior design is the presence of delight. Delight is an organic reaction from within that is even more difficult to plan for than it is to define. Yet the recently upgraded Milwaukee Art Museum presents moments of delight at every turn. It is a museum which appeals to young children the same as to lifelong students of the arts.

Can you imagine my delight, when I turned the corner in the French Impressionist gallery to find that a simple quiet painting of Two Goats by Rosa Bonheur, A painting which as a young student I profiled for my introduction to art history class, had been elevated in its presentation to that of a master work? It is the presence of small curatorial touches like these which have elevated the experience of art viewing in Milwaukee. Certainly, the Milwaukee Art Museum will become a template and inspiration to museum designers across the globe.
Rosa Bonheur presents Realism in her work, Two Goats.  
Two Goats - Rosa Bonheur - 1870
Two Goats - Rosa Bonheur - 1870



Directions




Address for your GPS: 700 N Art Museum Dr, Milwaukee, WI 53202
| coordinates: 43.039074, -87.897521 |

From Milwaukeen/a
From Madison1.5 Hours
From Green Bay1.5 Hours
From Wausau3 Hours
From Minneapolis5 Hours
From Chicago1.5 Hours



Photos


Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after the 2015 renovation
Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after the 2015 renovation 

Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum
Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum
Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum
Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum


Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after the 2015 renovation
Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after the 2015 renovation

Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after the 2015 renovation
Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after the 2015 renovation

Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after the 2015 renovation
Galleries in the Milwaukee Art Museum after the 2015 renovation

Sunset at Rouen - Camille Pissarro - 1885


Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum
Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum



Video