Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Roadtrip: The Museum of Wisconsin Art

I've never been to West Bend.  When I moved to Wisconsin and told people we came from South Bend, Indiana everyone misremembered it as West Bend. We saw a segment on a Wisconsin tourism show that featured the Museum of Wisconsin Art, which we had never heard of and looked cooler than I would have expected, although Wisconsin does boast some pretty heavy hitters – Georgia O'Keefe, Edward Steichen and Frank Lloyd Wright.  Among pinhole notables, Ruth Thorne Thomsen is from Door County.

Sarah needed to replace some specialized light bulbs so we stopped at the Kristopher Kringle Shoppe since it was right on the way in Fond du Lac.

It's crammed with decorated Christmas trees and every sort of collectible figurine or miniature village you can think of.  Surprisingly cheering on a bleak, windy February morning.

Six rooms full of the stuff on two floors.

West Bend has several really interesting sounding restaurants, but they're all open only for dinner, so for lunch you're left with the chains out by Highway 45, or the bars downtown.  You can't go too wrong by picking a microbrewery.  This dining room is probably pretty cheery in the summer.  The Milwaukee River with a nice patio is right out those windows.  Kind of dark and drab in February.

The Museum is a new building shaped like a rather severe acute triangle that points due north.  The point is made of windows and a stairway.

It is focused on work of artists born in, or who worked in Wisconsin for a significant time.  It includes the largest removable framed painting in Wisconsin, The Flagellents by Carl von Marr (born in Milwaukee but mostly worked in Munich).  After being exhibited in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, it was bought by someone from Wisconsin and actually belongs to the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Kind of a gross idea, but surprisingly unbloody for the subject. It's 14 x 23 feet and from the bench I had the tripod on I didn't expect to get the whole thing in the frame. Does it occur to anyone else that somehow I must have bowed the film plane somehow to create those curves at the top and bottom of the frame.

The south end of the building has the special exhibitions gallery, a reception area and another windowed stairway.

The Wisconsin Biennial juried show was the current special exhibit.  Lots of pretty good stuff (no pinhole though).  My favorite piece was an erased geological map of Wisconsin with a small display case next to it with the erasings from each county, each in a separate labeled compartment.

You get a pretty good view of downtown West Bend through that south window.  Looks like the weather is a little nicer for the drive home.

All with the Populist. .15mm pinhole 24mm from 24x36mm frame.

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