06.13.23 Artists,Events,Press

Judy Ledgerwood: Milwaukee Art Museum preps two big shows for autumn

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Milwaukee Art Museum preps two big shows for autumn


Milwaukee Art Museum will show ‘Art, Life, Legacy: Northern European Paintings in the Collection of Isabel and Alfred Bader,’ which opens Sept. 29, and ’50 Paintings,’ a survey of work by 50 contemporary painters, starting Nov. 17.


Works by Amy Sherald (left) and Judy Ledgerwood (right) from the upcoming “50 Paintings” show at MAM.


By Bobby Tanzilo

Senior Editor/Writer

Published Jun 13, 2023 at 4:24 PM


Milwaukee Art Museum will host two high-profile exhibitions this autumn, including “Art, Life, Legacy: Northern European Paintings in the Collection of Isabel and Alfred Bader,” which opens Sept. 29 in the Baker/Rowland Galleries, and “50 Paintings,” a survey of recent work by 50 contemporary painters, which kicks off in the Bradley Family Gallery on Nov. 17.

The Northern European show includes more than 75 Dutch and Flemish Baroque masterpieces, including works by Rembrandt van Rijn and Jan Lievens.

In the show are Rembrandt’s “Head of an Old Man in Cap” (pictured at right) and four other works; “Profile Head of an Old Woman” (aka “Rembrandt’s Mother”), by Lievens; “The Angel with Manoah and his Wife,” by early Rembrandt teacher Pieter Lastman; “Still Life with a Wanli Sugar Bowl,” by Willem Kalf; “Landscape with Tobias and the Angel, with a View of Antwerp in the Background,” by Gillis Neyts; and Michael Sweerts’ “Self-portrait with Skull.”

“Art deepens our understanding and connection to our shared humanity, a belief that led Isabel and Alfred Bader to be longstanding supporters of the Milwaukee Art Museum,” said Marcelle Polednik, Donna and Donald Baumgartner Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, in announcing the show.

“This exhibition is an opportunity to celebrate the Baders’ incredible legacy and share their unrivaled ‘joy of collecting’ with our community.”

Tanya Paul, exhibition curator and the first Isabel and Alfred Bader Curator of European Art, added, “This exhibition reflects Isabel and Alfred’s legacies as dedicated connoisseurs, researchers and educators and extends their profound impact on the Museum and the Milwaukee community. I am delighted to welcome visitors this fall to celebrate their history of generosity and explore these extraordinary works.”

The exhibition will remain up through Jan. 28.

“50 Paintings,” meanwhile, will include paintings by well-known working artists like Cecily Brown, David Diao, Nicole Eisenman, Judy Ledgerwood and Amy Sherald, along with artists who have more recently come to wider attentions, like Jake Troyli, Carmen Neely, GaHee Park and Cinga Samson.

The artists represent eight countries – China, England, Germany, Iran, South Africa, South Korea, Spain and the U.S. – on four continents, and more than half are women. Each artist is presented by a single painting executed in the last five years.

“In 1840, the French painter Paul Delaroche looked at a photograph and famously declared that from that day forward, painting was dead, a statement so provocative that it remains in circulation today,” said MAM Senior Curator of Contemporary Art Margaret Andera, who is co-curator of “50 Paintings.”

“In showcasing the range in the language of painting being created today, ‘50 Paintings’ provides an abundance of evidence to the contrary and serves as a timely reminder of the inexhaustible possibilities of the medium.”

The show was co-curated by artist Michelle Grabner, who also serves on the Sculpture Milwaukee board of directors and executive committee, and curated the 2021 Sculpture Milwaukee season

“To ‘read’ a painting is to linger over its surface, explore its pictorial space, and engage with the artist’s imagination,” Grabner said.

“Rather than imposing a particular interpretation of a work on the viewer, our curatorial strategy for 50 Paintings welcomes open-ended explorations and personal responses. Our hope is that visitors will find connection, inspiration, and a deeper appreciation for the broad range of contemporary painting practices.”

The show is MAM’s first contemporary painting survey exhibition since 1995’s “25 Americans: Painting in the ‘90s.” Four artists represented in “50 Paintings” – Mary Heilmann, Judy Ledgerwood, Pat Steir and Philip Taaffe – exhibited in that show, as did Grabner.

For more on the exhibitions, what’s currently on view at MAM and visiting details, visit MAM.org.


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