Duane Hanson Janitor Milwaukee Art Museum

March 16, 2012 by staff 

Duane Hanson Janitor Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Art Museum on Lake Michigan.
Directions: Take I-794 toward Lake Michigan. Take the Lakefront exit, which will funnel you onto Lincoln Memorial Drive. There are many parking choices, including under the art museum to the right, across the street in the O’Donnell Parking Garage, and at the north end of the art museum on surface parking.

Hours: The museum is open daily from 10 to 5 except on Thursdays, when it is open longer, until 8 pm.

Admission: The cost is $8 a person. Seniors get in for $6, students for $4, and children 12 and under are free.

The stunning architecture of the addition was designed by Santiago Calatrava. Walk across the pedestrian bridge over the waterfall gardens below and enter this section of the museum in the round glass elevator. The open area with large windows facing the lake can be rented out for weddings and other special events. The entire Calatrava addition is free and open to the public. Walk down the hallways for views out to the lake and notice the triangular “bones” bracing the walls. They make a great photo op. The cafe and museum store is also part of the Calatrava addition.

The main part of the museum with the galleries is in the older section. Pay at the desk before entering this area. The galleries can be quite a maze, so take along a guide to help you through. The walls are numbered to help you locate yourself and the different exhibits. Look carefully at the art. Those created by well-known names are not given any precedence over those created by names you may never have heard of. If you want to see a Renoir, Rodin, Monet, Lichtenstein, or Warhol, they are there, you just have to look for them. The art is also arranged by time period. If you travel through the museum according the numbered rooms, you will find yourself moving forward in time. How do you compare the realistic landscape and portraiture artwork from the 1800s to the dangling net ropes or boxes on the wall from the minimalist art collection?

Besides paintings on the walls, there is furniture from different time periods and glass and ceramics collections. If you think you see a janitor pausing against a wall, don’t touch! It is a piece of art by Duane Hanson that is quite life-like but has been handled over the decades and all the touching has worn out parts of the sculpture. A sign nearby explains what happens when visitors touch artwork; it is a good spot to explain to children the importance of only using your eyes.

There are different exhibits that change throughout the year. Ask a docent for more information.

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