Our host took us to the Original Pancake House for breakfast this morning. During my time in Milwaukee, I saw connections to Pittsburgh in many areas – the focus on industrial manufacturing as a source of wealth for the city, the intersection of three rivers, and its rebirth as a place focused on environmental research and sustainability. This restaurant was yet another reminder of Pittsburgh, because it was a favorite breakfast location of my family.
After breakfast, we were dropped off for our morning gig at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The new Calatrava addition, build in 2001, seemed like a precursor to the New York Oculus. The 36 fins composing the bris de soleil was down when we arrived, but they lifted it in time for the performance, which let a bit more light into the room.
As today is the 160th birthday of the Glee Club, our conductor led us through a program tracing the development of the Glee Club to its present form. We sounded pretty good for a morning concert, though I expect the echoing acoustics of the museum helped with that.
After the concert, docents took us around in small groups to see the museum. We had a pitifully short amount of time to look at all the artwork, but our docent did his best to hit the major sections of the museum and cover the general history of the provenance of their collection. I took a few notes, which can be seen below:
Notes on the Milwaukee Art Museum:
- Sofinisba Anguissola – female artist, portrait painter
- Portrait of Henry III of France’s mignons
- “Interesting painting which has made its way to Milwaukee” – favorite phrase of the docent
- Philippe de Champaigne – only one allowed to paint Richilieu
- Andien de Clermont famous for monkey room paintings
- Frederick Lipton was buying academic art, which wasn’t super popular, at the same time Chicago was buying impressionists
- Bouguereau was an interesting academic artist
- Bastien-Lapage pre-dated impressionists, hated by academic artists but still classified with them
- “Bawdy tales, but in a German way, much more reserved.”
- Georgia O’Keefe would come to museum to look at her paintings, alone, then leave. She lived in WI for a little bit
- Joan Mitchell – synesthesia, not a nice woman, “if you were a man, French, & dead, people would like you”
- A little background on how museum security works
- Drossos P. Skyllas – never sold a painting, strange portraits, no brushstrokes
- August Walla – schizophrenic, raised as a girl to avoid draft, swastika and hammer/sickle : feminine & masculine
- Earthquake in Haiti makes Milwaukee collection of Haitian art much more valuable
- “Kohl’s Art Generation Studio”
- Kehinde Wiley: St. Dionysus (docent says it is St. Claire), men posed as women, did Obama’s portrait
- Reginald Baylor – Adaptation of annunciation, “On duty, not driving”, does paint-by-number
We departed straight from the museum to Northwestern, our last little bit of travel. After a brief stop for lunch, we arrived at Northwestern’s Bienen school; a new building of concrete and glass right on the river. I dropped off my luggage with my family, then intended to go to a meet-and-greet with the arts group, The Crossing, we would watch this evening. However, they needed more time to practice, and I ended up getting an early dinner at 527 Cafe, next door to the sadly vacant rooms of what used to be Joy Yee.
While I was waiting for the performance, I happened to run into two high school classmates who were studying music, and we chatted briefly about how we were doing. Then we settled into the balcony for The Crossing’s performance of Anonymous Man and Rigwreck. The first was incredibly rhythmically interesting, if not so interesting melodically, while the second one was a little more conventional musically, but had absolutely arresting and extremely political and religious language. I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on it after more reflection. For now though, I am being hosted by my extended family, and it is time to turn in for the night.
-Curtis Wu ’18