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Press Release

Amy Cropper’s MOWA exhibition explores the concept of home in this unique 2024 installation

Exhibition February 22, 2024

(WEST BEND, WISCONSIN) – Museum of Wisconsin Art is excited to announce an exhibition featuring the work of 2022 Biennial winner Amy Cropper in “Vulnerable Homes,” running from February 3 to April 14. The exhibition’s opening party is scheduled for February 3, from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Amy Cropper’s thought-provoking birdhouses delve into the complex concept of home. The artist begins her creative process by constructing wood-frame structures, strategically designed to attract wrens and tree swallows during the early Wisconsin spring. After the birds vacate their homes, Cropper employs scientific rigor in the fall to “harvest,” study, and document the abandoned modular houses and their nests. These remnants are then meticulously arranged into captivating art installations.

The exhibition showcases small, cramped spaces containing nests that are simultaneously messy, beautiful, and impossibly fragile. Each vacated nest tells a unique story, revealing the inherent vulnerability of the idea of home. Enclosed within a thin wood frame, the remnants highlight distinct narratives that defy the apparent uniformity of the modular units. Much like a planned housing development, Cropper’s sculptures share a common frame but display internal differences that symbolize the conditions necessary for a successful clutch—both for avian and human inhabitants.

Amy Cropper, a recipient of the first-place award in the 2022 Wisconsin Artist Biennial at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, earned this prestigious honor along with a significant cash prize. As part of her prize, Cropper secured the opportunity to showcase her work in a solo exhibition at the museum in 2024. Vulnerable Homes is a culmination of Cropper’s continued exploration of the concept of home, expanding the metaphor through stitched-together collages that intertwine traces left by former inhabitants with remnants from her own living space. This evokes various definitions of home as a vessel, haven, cage, and dream.

Join us as Amy Cropper’s Vulnerable Homes takes visitors on a journey through the intricate narratives woven into each birdhouse, inviting reflection on the fragility and diversity inherent in the concept of home.


Image credit: Amy Cropper, Homemade No. 4, 2023