In 1984, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center launched its first exhibition of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein's (1910–1983) work and currently cares for over 200 individual works by the Milwaukee artist. Von Bruenchenhein's work is garnering newfound attention and his work is included in exhibitions around the world.
Taking an unprecedented, sweeping view of Von Bruenchenhein’s extensive oeuvre, this exhibition casts a contemporary lens on his paintings, sculpture, photography, drawings, and poetry. Michelle Grabner, Brett Littman, Lisa Stone, and Arts Center Curator Karen Patterson address pivotal moments in Von Bruenchenhein’s career—including architecture, botany, invention, and love—in this exhibition and a forthcoming catalogue, due to be released in September 2017.
Lisa Stone is curator at the Roger Brown Study Collection at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For over thirty years, she has stewarded preservation planning and site preservation of art environments while writing widely on the discipline. Interested especially in the history of art sites in the Midwest, Stone’s response to the work of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein includes researching and writing about his sculptures.
Brett Littman is executive director at The Drawing Center. He has lectured and written numerous catalogue essays and articles on art and design. In 2011, he curated and wrote the exhibition catalogue Eugene Von Bruenchenhein: Freelance Artist—Poet and Sculptor—Inovator—Arrow maker and Plant man—Bone artifacts constructor—Photographer and Architect—Philosopher at the American Folk Art Museum. For the Arts Center’s Mythologies: Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Littman focuses on the artist’s drawing and poetry.
Michelle Grabner is an artist, independent curator, and writer based in Milwaukee, WI. Internationally renowned for her work in drawing, painting, video, and sculpture, she is currently chair of the painting and drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as a senior critic at Yale University in the department of painting and printmaking. Grabner has long taught the work of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. For this exhibition, she engages with new research and writing about Von Bruenchenhein’s paintings.
Scholars, artists, preservationists, educators, activists, art historians, collectors and devotees will delve into the complex subject of artist-built environments during a three-day conference at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center.
Through a variety of performances, panels, and workshops, attendees will share new ideas and broaden the collective knowledge and appreciation of this unique style of art making that is the focus of a yearlong series of exhibitions at the Arts Center.
The conference, titled The Road Less Traveled, is the third Divine Disorder program of the National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT). In addition to the Arts Center and NCPTT, Kohler Foundation Inc. is a hosting partner for the conference.
Sep. 27, 2017 - Sep. 29, 2017Register
This exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding was also provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Kohler Trust for the Arts and Education, and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The Arts Center thanks its many members for their support of exhibitions and programs through the year.