William‑Adolphe Bouguereau Portrait of Frances and Eva Johnston, 1869

There is more than one way to look at a work of art.

This spring, the Milwaukee Art Museum gives visitors the opportunity to view and appreciate paintings, photographs and videos from a variety of perspectives.

Sara Cwynar, Tracy (Gold Circle), 2017

Exhibitions in the "Season of Perspectives" range from large-scale oil paintings by a Gilded Age artist to contemporary photos that address consumer culture from a feminist perspective, enabling visitors to consider beauty as a relative concept.

     Our responsibilities as a museum go beyond protecting and showcasing art," said Marcelle Polednik, director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. "We must provide context, invite fresh interpretation and help visitors see something new in the works, and even in themselves."

Bouguereau & America

Bouguereau & America showcases more than 40 masterful paintings by French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905). The exhibition explores the artist's remarkable popularity during America's Gilded Age (1870s-1900).

 By revealing the stories of Bouguereau's American collectors, the exhibition sheds light on how the history of collecting mirrors the religious beliefs, sexual mores and social problems of the period.

 This first major exhibition on the artist since the 1980s offers new perspectives on the paintings that form the backbone of many museum collections. Co-organized by the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, it is on view through May 12.  A free, activity-filled family guide accompanies the exhibition, as well as a full-color catalogue.

Sara Cwynar: Image Model Muse

Through the video and photography in Sara Cwynar: Image Model Muse, Canadian-born and Brooklyn-based artist Sara Cwynar (b. 1985) explores the subjects of color and design, particularly in the context of how beauty is conceptualized.

 The exhibition reveals the ways in which commercial goods can stand in for larger systems of power. Image Model Muse is co-organized with the Minneapolis Institute of Art and is on view through July 21.

Open 10am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday (until 8pm Thursday).

Phone (414) 224-3200 or visit mam.org for more information.

 

Other Exhibits in this "Season of Perspectives"

 

Prints from the significant collection of works on paper that Chicagoans Kevin Fahey and Ray Grzebielski recently gifted to the museum highlight two important yet seemingly oppositional modern subjects: the city and the farm. The prints, by 20th-century masters, are on view through March in the Godfrey American Art Wing.

     March 1-June 16, illuminated manuscripts, or handwritten books, from the Middle Ages and Renaissance are on view in the European Art Galleries. The exhibition looks at the bookmaking process and how creating and interacting with the manuscripts was once a form of religious devotion.

     Featured in the 20th- & 21st-Century Design Galleries is an installation about the adaptive clothing line Functional Fashions (1955-1976), which explores notions of independence and rehabilitation in postwar America.

     April 11-14, visitors enjoy a floral perspective on works from the museum's collection at Art in Bloom, presented in partnership with the Milwaukee Art Museum's Garden Club. More than 35 art-inspired floral installations are displayed throughout the museum.

George Tooker, Mirror, 1978