Decorative Arts Reinstallaton

In the fall of 2008, the Chipstone Foundation and the Milwaukee Art Museum did a complete overhaul of their American Collections Galleries.All the murals from 2001 are now gone, all the walls rearranged, and the galleries are transformed. The new galleries were designed by Michael Mikulay.

I was asked to do a number of really interesting things for the big reinstallation. One was a “Cabinet of Curiosities”, the painting of which  was inspired by the Renaissance display tradition of the same name.  All the new cabinetry was fabricated by the amazing Riverworks Design Studio, and they brought the pieces and parts to my studio (garage) in the summer of ’08.

Here is the finished installation:

Zipp 003 (Large)


And some in process shots:
Chip 009 (Large)

Chip 008 (Large)

I later applied gilded lettering to these pieces:

Coral (Large)

Sunflower (Large)

Pagoda (Large)

Toad (Large)

Another large scale mural was painted on the east wall of the same room. It is derived from another sort of curious idea from art history, the anamorphic image. In this case, a historical engraving was distorted, so that from one angle the image looks scrambled, but when viewed through a looking gladd off to one side, it comes back into focus.

This was a special challenge due to the ornate detail of enlarging an engraving to 20 feet in length. I had to work in the dark with the projector on, working directly with the paint. If I had tried to sketch with pencil first, I would have no idea what to do when the lights came on.

Here is the finished mural, looking head-on:

Zipp 007 (Large)

You’ll need to go to the museum and look through the glass yourself:
Zipp 006 (Large)

And here is an in process shot…

FRANK HELP 011 (Large)

The final project for the exhibit was to “upholster” two foam and wire mannequins, which were to be clothed in costumes from Colonial Williamsburg. These mannequins were put into a case, as a sort of historic vignette of a man and woman flirting.

The purchased mannequins were sadly lacking in human qualities, and had to not only be upholstered in linen, but completely re-sculpted with stuffing. I had to purchase underwear to give them some form before the linen was sewn. I bought wig stands to cover for the heads, which also ended up needing to have noses sculpted onto them.  For the hands, I had to make a pair of gloves for each and stuff them.

Here is the finished vignette:

And some process shots:
Manns 001 (Large)

Manns 038 (Large)

Manns 031 (Large)

Manns 034 (Large)

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This was an easy and fun lead-in wall to paint, from the exhibit "The Artistic Furniture of Charles Rohlfs"…The scroll design was taken from one of his pieces, and I always enjoy doing large lettering.

Willow order 005 (Large)

A couple of in process shots:
Willow order 004 (Large)

Willow order 007 (Large)

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J. Palin Thorley Show

For the 2008 Decorative Arts show, J. Palin Thorley: Modern and Traditional Design in Twentieth-Century Ceramics , I was asked to paint a lead-in wall re-creating a Thorley "cartoon" design whaich was featured in the show.

Here is the finished wall:

Thorley fixed

Here is my wall in progress:

Ryden bunny 003

   And here is the original painting I worked from:

Thorley_Sign (Large)

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Degas Sculptures

The Degas Sculptures show at MAM was also full of really fun projects for me. In addition to the lead-in wall, I was asked to paint his "Little Dancer" on the wall behind the piece, very large scale, and to marbleize columns and do stencil work for the interactive ballet studio room that was made for the exhibit.

And what was quite fun was that I painted the marble and stencil pieces at the warehouse studio of the Milwaukee Ballet. Being a former ballet teacher myself, this show was especially meaningful.

Fixed degas 2

Little Dancer MAM Degas Show (Large)

Museum 5-05 046

Copy of Feb. 05 001 (Large)

Feb. 05 002 (Large)

Feb. 05 003 (Large)

Museum 5-05 047 (Large)

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Tea Table Coffee Table

This show is a favorite of mine…probably because I enjoyed the painting so much. Tea Table Coffee Table was a show from 2005 at MAM. This one was again curated by Glenn Adamson.

I was asked to create wall murals behind 3 interior vignettes, as well as paint a faux-marble tiled floor underneath an 18th century tea table. Oh and I also did a very fun lead-in wall mural:

Museum 5-05 011

The three interiors:

Museum 5-05 016 (Large)

Feb. 05 035 (Large)

Feb. 05 026 (Large)

The floor painting:

Feb. 05 037 (Large)

Copy of Feb. 05 022

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Byrdcliffe: An American Arts and Crafts Colony was a show at the Milwaukee art Museum from 2004, a temporary exhibit in the Decorative Arts galleries.  I was asked to do two wall murals, one to be created from the carved design on a trunk designed by Zulma Steele in 1904, and one from her Dragonfly Wallpaper from the period.

Here is the trunk:

Misc 048 (Large)

And here was my wall:

Misc 018 (Large)

Misc 029 (Large)

And the Dragonfly wallpaper as wall mural:

Byrdcliffe Short Wall MAM

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American Fancy

The blockbuster show from 2004 at the Milwaukee Art Museum, American Fancy: Exuberance in the Arts,1790-1840, was another Chipstone curated/Lou Storey  designed collaboration. I think there were more projects for me in this show than any other.

Lou asked if I had ever heard of "vinegar painting"…a technique developed in the 18th century to mimic wood grain. I had not, so I did a little research and taught myself. I ended up doing several pedestals for the show, and it became one of my favorite creative techniques.

There were also several large scale sculptures fabricated by artist Demetra Copoulos for the show. She built a 12 foot high replica of a clock that was in the show, and the word "FANCY", each letter a sculpture of its own, standing at least 12 feet high, which served as the intro wall for the exhibition.
My job with these pieces was surface decoration.

Here are a few  examples from the show:

Misc 063 (Large)

Misc 066 (Large)

Misc 067

Misc 090

The original clock:
Misc 091

A couple of vitrines featuring vinegar painting:

Misc 076

Misc 081

A "General Store" within the exhibition, with wall stenciling I created from historic designs:

Misc 084 (Large)

Misc 086 (Large)

Wall mural:

Misc 087

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