Current Exhibitions 

Fore and Aft: A Vitreous View of Time

August 18, 2018–March 31, 2019
Image for Fore and Aft: A Vitreous View of Time Beth Lipman, InEarth, Glass, wood, metal, paint, adhesive, 2017 (detail); Photo credit: Rich Maciejewski
This special exhibition presents the work of three leading Wisconsin artists—Beth Lipman, Jeremy Popelka, and Eoin Breadon—who embrace the challenge of glass, variously referencing and rejecting the medium’s workaday functionality to explore its relationship with light, form, and time. Each work is thoughtfully installed to reverberate in conversation with MOWA’s permanent collection, priming viewers to reflect on the unassuming art historical resonances of each artist’s work. Taking inspiration from Irish storytelling, Dutch still lives, and architectonic forms, these sculptures bridge the past and the present.

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Family Albums: Kith and Kin in Focus

August 18–November 11, 2018
Image for Family Albums: Kith and Kin in Focus Lois Bielefeld, Emry's Tea Party, Archival pigment, print, 2018
Family photographs number among our most cherished possessions. These mementos preserve the past, acquainting us with long-gone forebears and providing ballast for the narratives on which we hang our identity. Photographing family uniquely illuminates its subjects’ essential selves, which, after all, are first fired in the forge of family life. Family Albums presents distinct takes on the genre—as captured by photographers Tom Bamberger, Lois Bielefeld, Dick Blau, Kevin Miyazaki and filmmaker Emir Cakaroz—documenting relationships, investigating origins and creating striking images along the way.

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David R. Harper: A Fear of Unknown Origin

August 11–December 30, 2018
Image for David R. Harper: A Fear of Unknown Origin
Comprised of seventy-two ceramic sculptures of animal heads glazed in various shades of blue, A Fear of Unknown Origin is inspired by two things that seem completely unrelated. The first inspiration comes from the cyanometer, an esoteric tool alpinists used to measure distance by the shades of the sky. The second is the idiom “Entre le Chien et le Loup” (between the dog and the wolf), which describes the effects of dusk and being unable to differentiate between friend or foe. Harper’s installation unifies the two with a gradual gradient of blue and a corresponding range of expressions, from smiles to snarls.

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Jason S. Yi: Reconfiguring MOWA's Landscape

Starting July 16, 2018
Image for Jason S. Yi: Reconfiguring MOWA Jason S. Yi, The Legend of the White Snake, PVC tubes and connectors, 2017
Yi’s site-specific outdoor installation, The Legend of the White Snake, will become part of MOWA’s own reimagined landscape starting the week of July 16. Coming to West Bend from downtown Milwaukee—where it was part of the ongoing public art project Sculpture Milwaukee—the work is entirely constructed from PVC, forming a dynamic tangle of tubes that towers over viewers like a scribble incarnate. The Legend of the White Snake reconfigures the landscape and engages interest from every vantage point.

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Joseph Friebert: A Life in Art

August 11–October 7, 2018
Image for Joseph Friebert: A Life in Art Joseph Friebert, Back Alley, Oil on Masonite, 1939, Gift of the Kohler Foundation Inc.
Called one of Wisconsin’s greatest “living treasures” by the late James Auer, Milwaukee Journal art critic, Joseph Friebert (1908–2002) enjoyed a long and distinguished career, becoming one of the state’s leading artists and a beloved and influential teacher. 

Friebert’s art reflects an overriding concern for the human condition. The figures in his often dimly lit Social Realist compositions of the late 1930s and 1940s—whether behind bars, in line-ups, picking coal, or walking city streets—seem stoic and melancholy. To enhance the pensive mood of his work, Friebert developed a form of “indirect painting,” adopting Old Master techniques involving the layering of pigments and glazes. This brooding quality is also found in his land- and cityscapes of the period. 

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150th Anniversary Exhibition

May 24–September 26, 2018
Image for 150th Anniversary Exhibition
Celebrate 150 years of compassion and enriching the lives of Saint John’s residents through a special exhibition of videos, photographs, and stories highlighting the past, present, and extraordinary future that lies ahead.

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