By Livia Peterson
The Milwaukee Art Museum’s Portrait of Milwaukee exhibit is opening in the Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts on Friday, September 6, 2019. The exhibit highlights some of the people, movements, businesses, and neighborhoods that have shaped today’s Milwaukee.
Milwaukee Art Museum’s Assistant Photography Curator Ariel Pate expressed in a statement, “The photographs I selected for this exhibition are intended to expand how we think about Milwaukee’s recent past. Some of the images might surprise visitors, or lead them to reconsider how they view the city’s history in the mid-20th century, which was a formative era for Milwaukee.”
MAM’s Audience Engagement Senior Director Amanda Peterson added, “We think visitors, whether local or out-of-towners, will love to dig into these beautiful moments from the past that capture the energy, quirkiness, and culture of this remarkable city in the midst of it redefining its future. Whether it’s the programs around it, the civic pride of it, or the partnerships we’ve made to connect it across the city, this exhibition has something for everyone.”
The exhibit will display slices of life, including civil rights marches and motorcycle manufacturing. The perspectives include photojournalists, commercial photographers, and artists, most of whom were Milwaukee residents at the time.
Moreover, Milwaukee was a photojournalism hub during the 1930s and 1940s. The exhibit will feature a selection of photographs demonstrating the Milwaukee Journal’s unconventional use of flash photography. The exhibition will include Milwaukee Journal and Sentinel photos, displaying the city’s civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s.
Lastly, the exhibition will highlight Milwaukee’s diligence including photographs of the brewing, machining, and tanning industries and small storefront businesses along the East Side’s Downer Avenue. Specific groups within city are featured, including the early 1980s New Wave and punk scenes and African American youth in the north side bars.
The 120 photographs are assembled from the Milwaukee Art Museum collection, the Milwaukee Public Library’s Historic Photo Archives, the Harley-Davidson Museum collection, and Milwaukee’s notable newspapers Journal and Sentinel archives. Most photographs have rarely been presented to the public.
Portrait of Milwaukee will be on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum through Sunday, March 1, 2020. Museum admission: $19 adult, $17 students with identification and seniors (65+), and free for children under twelve years old, members, Wisconsin K-12 teachers with school identification or pay stub, and first Thursday every month.
Interview with the Assistant Photography Curator Ariel Pate is coming soon!!!