Narrative Quilts by Artist Pauline Parker Showcased in New Milwaukee Art Museum Exhibition

The Exhibition Features Quilts And Wall Hangings By The Artist That Showcase Her Expressive And Narrative Approach To Quiltmaking.

A new exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum presents colorful quilts and wall hangings made by artist Pauline Parker (1915-2013), who used fabric and stitching as a platform for storytelling.

Opening March 20, 2020, The Quilts of Pauline Parker features more than thirty objects that showcase her expressive approach to quiltmaking, illustrating how Parker transformed a traditionally domestic craft into one that highlighted current events, historical and Biblical figures, and her own travels and experiences.

Parker’s works are a wonderful result of her training as a painter, her exquisite eye for pattern, and her ability to create beautifully cohesive compositions from disparate parts,” said Margaret Andera, Curator of Contemporary Art. “The Milwaukee Art Museum has a long and rich history of presenting quilt exhibitions, dating back to the 1930s, and we are pleased to continue that tradition by presenting the work of this talented artist.

Parker studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but her work in fabric began in Wisconsin, where she moved upon retirement. She initially worked with traditional patterns and used techniques she had learned from her mother and aunts, before expanding her subject matter, stitching more freely and exploring a less traditional approach to quiltmaking.

Many of Parker’s narrative quilts, or “fabric collages” as she termed them, resemble paintings in their construction, use of perspective and three-dimensionality. Each quilt was inspired by a personal experience, a poem or a misprinted piece of fabric, which could often lay the groundwork for a story. The artist layered fabrics and materials, including netting, buttons and shells, to build her compositions. Parker made the more than thirty fabric collages featured in the exhibition between the late 1980s and early 2000s.

The Quilts of Pauline Parker runs from March 20 through July 19, 2020, in the Bradley Family Gallery, and is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and curated by Margaret Andera, Curator of Contemporary Art.

The McCombe and Pfeifer Families and the Gottlob Armbrust Family Fund in Memory of Helen Louise Pfeifer is the Presenting Sponsor of this exhibition. The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Garden Club is the Contributing Sponsor.

Exhibitions are made possible by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Visionaries: Debbie and Mark Attanasio, Donna and Donald Baumgartner, John and Murph Burke, Sheldon and Marianne Lubar, Joel and Caran Quadracci, Sue and Bud Selig and Jeff Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation.

Programming

Gallery Talks

  • Tues, 1:30 p.m.
  • March 24, April 28, May 12
  • With Margaret Andera, Curator of Contemporary Art
  • Free with Museum admission, free for Members

Gallery Talk with Special Guest

  • Thurs, March 19, 6:15 p.m.
  • Discover the stories behind the works in the exhibition during this in-gallery conversation with the artist’s daughter, Margaret Parker, and Margaret Andera, Curator of Contemporary Art.

Stitch 2-Gather

  • Sun, 1-4 p.m.
  • March 22, March 29, April 5
  • East End
  • Bring your sewing project to the East End to sew and socialize with (and get tips from!) the guest artist. Museum admission is not required.

Monica Obniski Appointed Curator Of Decorative Arts And Design At High Museum Of Art

The High Museum of Art today announced the appointment of Monica Obniski as its curator of decorative arts and design. Obniski currently serves as the Demmer curator of 20th- and 21st-century design at the Milwaukee Art Museum. She will join the High on March 16, 2020.

Monica Obniski Appointed Curator Of Decorative Arts And Design At High Museum Of Art. Image courtesy of The High Museum of Art/Atlanta.

Obniski will oversee the decorative arts and design department, including related exhibitions and programs, as well as its collection of more than 2,300 objects dating from the 17th century to the present. These holdings include significant international contemporary design with works by Joris Laarman Lab, Jaime Hayon, Ron Arad and nendo, as well as the renowned Virginia Carroll Crawford Collection – the most comprehensive survey of 19th- and early 20th-century American decorative arts in the southeastern United States. Other significant works are represented in the Frances and Emory Cocke Collection of English ceramics, the Marjorie Eichenlaub West Collection of Meissen ceramics and the Museum’s extensive holdings of historical decorative arts from the southeastern United States. Obniski also will lead the High’s Piazza activations, a multiyear initiative that launched in 2014 to animate the Museum’s outdoor space with site-specific commissions that engage visitors of all ages in participatory art experiences.

Monica is a forward-thinking curator with a proven track record of achievement organizing compelling exhibitions, creating new scholarship and building strong collections,” said Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “These accomplishments, combined with her commitment to expanding the field and engaging diverse audiences, make her perfectly positioned to lead the continued growth of our decorative arts and design department.”

Added Kevin Tucker, the High’s chief curator, “We look forward to Monica joining the High’s team, knowing her efforts will enrich a program of true international significance and resonance with our region and communities. Considering the varied strengths of the Museum’s curatorial program, her collaborative nature, diverse expertise and interest in forging connections—including that between historical and contemporary design—makes her an exemplary choice for the position.”

Obniski earned a doctorate in art history, with specialization in architecture and design, from the University of Illinois at Chicago; a Master of Arts in history of decorative arts and design from the Bard Graduate Center; and a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University Chicago.

Beginning her career in the American wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Obniski then served in the American art department at the Art Institute of Chicago from 2007 to 2014, including four years as assistant curator of American decorative arts. There she collaborated on special exhibitions including “Art and Appetite” (2013) and “Apostles of Beauty” (2009), completed several gallery installations and continued to build the collection.

Obniski joined the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2015, where she oversees an expanding collection of historical and contemporary design and manages an active exhibition program, including “Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980,” organized with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which begins its international tour this year. Other notable exhibition projects include “Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America” (2018) with the Denver Art Museum and “Jaime Hayon: Technicolor” (2017-18), which originated at the High. She reinstalled the Milwaukee Art Museum’s modern and contemporary design galleries for its November 2015 reopening, with a presentation geared toward audience engagement through traditional methods and new technologies. She also stewarded important acquisitions to build the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection.

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Highly Anticipated Opening of Milwaukee Art Museum’s Renovated Permanent Collection Galleries Set for November 24

Restored, Reinstalled, and Reimagined Museum Delivers a New Future for the Iconic Milwaukee Institution and a Visitor Experience to Match the New Space

The Milwaukee Art Museum, the largest visual art institution in Wisconsin and one of the oldest art museums in the nation, will reopen its Permanent Collection Galleries to the public on Tuesday, November 24. The reopening is the culmination of a 6-year, $34 million project to transform the visitor experience through dramatically enhanced exhibition and public spaces and bright, flowing galleries.

The renovated Milwaukee Art Museum on the shore of Lake Michigan is captured at sunrise. (PRNewsFoto/The Milwaukee Art Museum)

The renovated Milwaukee Art Museum on the shore of Lake Michigan is captured at sunrise. (PRNewsFoto/The Milwaukee Art Museum)

The Milwaukee Art Museum is located on the shore 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.

With a history dating back to 1888, The Museum’s Collection includes nearly 30,000 works from antiquity to the present, encompassing painting, drawing, sculpture, decorative arts, prints, video art and installations, and textiles. The Museum’s collections of American decorative arts, German Expressionist prints and paintings, 19th-century German painting and decorative arts, folk and Haitian art, and American art after 1960 are among the nation’s finest. It also holds one of the nation’s largest collections of paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe. Among its most famous works are Pablo Picasso’s The Cock of the Liberation and Gustave Caillebotte’s Boating on the Yerres.

The new Milwaukee Art Museum is poised to set the standard for a twenty-first-century museum at the heart of a great city,” said Museum Director Daniel Keegan. “What began as a desire to preserve the space and Collection grew into a significant expansion that rejuvenates and sets the future course for the entire institution.”

The project is part of a historic public-private partnership with Milwaukee County, which owns the buildings and provided $10 million toward the renovation, with the remaining $24 million raised through the Museum’s Plan for the Future campaign. It’s the first major re-imagining of the Museum’s extensive Collection areas, including the Museum’s 1957 Eero Saarinen-designed War Memorial Center and 1975 David Kahler-designed addition.

While addressing critical infrastructure upgrades, the renovation creates an intuitive and welcoming visitor experience to showcase the Museum’s world-class Collection. The renovated Collection Galleries and new east entrance now span 150,000 square feet. Within this space, the Museum is installing 2,500 works of art—almost 1,000 more than have been on view at one time in the past—from its rich Collection of works. Continue reading