As part of our summer posts, the Groggers thought sharing some of our summer adventures would be a great way to show how authors grow and explore the world around them. The Milwaukee Art Museum is one of my favorite places. I joined years ago and have spent many afternoons in the museum appreciating the art, but also just the space and form of this unique place. As you can see from the photo above, it is a very unique design. It was designed by Santiago Calitrava. To me, it looks like an elegant paper crane. Each day at ten in the morning, the wings of the great bird open to reveal a gorgeous glass structure.
Today was a wet, rainy day and a perfect one to spend a few hours in one of my favorite inspirational places. Today I was going to see an exhibit of Vassily Kandinsky.
The inside of the winged structure.
One of the hallways that branch off the 'bird.'
Another part of the hallway structure. So simple, the repeating pattern begs to be photographed every time I visit. In this day's gray, wet sky, the light was especially soft and cool.
I knew a little about Vassily, but most of what I truly learned was from an outstanding recent picture book biography about him called: The Noisy Paintbox, by Barb Rosenstock.
So, I entered the exhibit with an open mind and was looking forward to learning more about the man and how music inspired and influenced his work. Sadly, I left feeling very unfulfilled. Sure, the art work was amazing, but in my mind, they failed to capture the frenetic connection he had with music. I even took the audio tour, but it failed to adequately address the fascinating condition Vassily had called synesthesia. Essentially it meant that he 'heard' colors. The book does such a delightful job at communicating it that I am positive that watching this video at some point during the exhibit would have benefited not only the children, but the adults.
Kandinsky was born in Russia in 1866. He, like most 'famous' painters began with landscape painting. After a prosperous law career, he decided to learn to paint full time. Thus began his development. As he grew ever more well known, he began to associate with other painters and thinkers of the time. Out of this, he developed into the abstract artist that we know today.
Yellow-Red-Blue, 1925 Oil on canvas 50 3/8 × 79 5/16 in.
It was very interesting to watch his style develop into the form we now think of him as helping create. His blue riders and themes of the apocalypse moved from lifelike interpretations to whimsical lines and colors. I credit the audio tour for helping me observe that metamorphosis in his work.
One of the pen and ink sketches Kandinsky made in preparation for some of his larger paintings.
The exhibit will be at the Milwaukee Art Museum through September 1st, 2014. I would highly recommend a visit to the MAM if you have never been. It's one of the best kept secrets of the Midwest. However, do yourself a favor: read Rosenstock's terrific biography before your visit!
This just in... Check out this really cool app that allows you to 'hear' colors.