Take 12: New at museums


Tired of looking at your own walls while warding off winter? Wisconsin museums would love a little attention, but many remain closed because of the pandemic. A few are introducing new exhibitions or activities virtually. Others welcome in-person visits. Look at the variety.

Chazen Museum of Art, Madison: Opening Feb. 23 online is “Suzanne Caporael: The Nature of Things,” 70 nature-inspired paintings and prints from the museum’s permanent collection. They represent three decades of abstract work by a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. The Wisconsin connection is Tandem Press, which publishes her edgy works. chazen.wisc.edu

Chippewa Valley Museum, Eau Claire: “Mettle and Mirth” opens Jan. 19 with multimedia works from around 30 artists associated with the local Artisan Forge Studios. Expect jewelry to digital media. The winter art show, with mini virtual artist demos, overlaps with the virtual Folk Arts Festival, Feb. 20 to March 2. cvmuseum.com

Grohmann Museum, Milwaukee: “Electric Steel,” photographs by Michael Schultz, show how metal forms “from furnace to finish and back.” But the settings are electric steel mills, a more modern process. The artist lives in Arkansas and has traveled the U.S. and Europe for his work. Visit in person. The museum’s specialty is the art of work, and it is part of the Milwaukee School of Engineering. msoe.edu/grohmann-museum

John Michael Kohler Art Museum, Sheboygan: New this month is “My Crops are Dying but My Body Persists,” a 22-minute study of meaninglessness through Bridget Moser’s videos and performances. The artist/performer, who lives in Toronto, also addresses anxiety and communication breakdowns. Consider it an artsy, stark and dark comedic look at contemporary social issues, white privilege to the elusiveness of intimacy. Visit in person. jmkac.org

Madison Children’s Museum: “Winter Wonders” is a photography contest for children ages 12 or younger. Enter up to two digital photos that your child takes this month. Winning photos will be featured in an exhibit, when the museum reopens. Prizes include a saucer sled, snowshoe rentals, a backyard ice rink kit and fleece hats. Hulafrog: Madison is contest sponsor (and hulafrog.com/madison-wi presents ideas about how else to keep children amused). Go to the museum’s website for winter photography tips. madisonchildrensmuseum.org

Milwaukee Art Museum: The virtual “Through a Woman’s Lens” reveals photos by Susan Meiselas, and videoclips, that document stories and roles of women, carnival strippers to families displaced by civil unrest, in rural American to Central America. Parental discretion advised. Follow the museum’s blog for backstories on items in the permanent collection i. Also online: a dozen free art activities for children. mam.org

Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend: Opening this month are three exhibits that help MOWA celebrate its 60th anniversary. “In Flowered Fields” is Midwest landscape paintings by Rafael Francisco Salas, Ripon College art professor. “Andy Warhol and the Portfolio of Fame” are celebrity portraits by Douglas Edmunds, a commercial photographer in Cedarburg. “Myths and Legends” is a retrospective of the late Dean Meeker’s rich career: paintings, prints, sculptures. He made the University of Wisconsin’s graphics program known nationwide. MOWA reopens Jan. 30; it was closed for interior updates. mowa.org

Neville Public Museum, Green Bay: “Art Gone Viral” is the theme of the 106th Green Bay Art Colony Exhibition, which opens Jan. 23. Works of art from 25 women “are reflective of the personal expressions of overcoming difficulty while remaining optimistic for a post-pandemic world.” Also new: “Reviving Traditional Arts of the Oneida,” a cultural look at the Native nation’s basketry, pottery and silverwork. Visit in person. nevillepublicmuseum.org

Oshkosh Public Museum: Opening Jan. 24 is “The Nostalgia Awakens,” a collection of vintage toys inspired by the movie “Star Wars.” Hundreds of products – playsets, action figures, vehicles – were manufactured and introduced by Kenner Toys after the 1977 film’s release. Visit in person, by reservation. oshkoshmuseum.org

Racine Art Museum: “The Art of the Cup” opens Jan. 27 and presents unconventional clay, glass and metal cup forms from the museum’s permanent collection. Together they show a wide range of style, function, whimsy and cultural backstories. The cup as a trophy, religious icon and practical vessel for drinking are all examined here. Visit in person. ramart.org

Wisconsin Historical Society Museum, Madison: The museum remains closed until at least Feb. 8, but online exhibits from the permanent collection are plentiful. In that eclectic mix: Wisconsin State Fair murals, Milwaukee Braves artifacts, what cultural icons in the state (polkas, badgers) symbolize. Also online: a family-friendly Wisconsin scavenger hunt. wisconsinhistory.org

Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts, Cedarburg: On display this month are 25 quilts by the late Doreen Speckmann, who won awards for her work, wrote books about quilting and led international quilting retreats. Opening Feb. 4: “Remnants,” fiber artists whose works involve throw-away materials such as fabric scraps and candy wrappers to make collages, sculptures and other types of fiber art. Visit in person. wiquiltmuseum.com