Thursday, August 12, 2021

Almost All the Artists But One at the Art Preserve

We didn't spend enough time at the Kohler Art Preserve, maybe a couple of hours.

I have an excuse, because I have seen entire exhibits of most of these artists' work before at the John Michael Kohler Art Center over the years. If you go to the Art Preserve — and especially if it's your first time seeing these works — you should plan to spend much of the day. Bring your lunch and picnic outside, or go over to the JKMAC to their cafe. 

It's a place full of details. These are entire collections by artists, people who created thousands of pieces. They aren't all on display at once, but a lot of their pieces are there for you to see, or there are videos showing more. 

I spent more time with the work of Mary Nohl than anyone else, including watching the video of her house one and a half times. (There are a few images of her house, which is located right on Lake Michigan north of Milwaukee, in my 2012 post.)

Some of Nohl's wooden painted sculptures.

One of her many paintings. Of the ones on display in the sliding storage racks, the color palette and style of this one was unusual.

In addition to ceramics, Nohl (who described herself as "a woman who liked tools") also made jewelry.

Here's a sampling of just one piece each by several other artists whose work is in the Preserve. This isn't anywhere near everyone whose work the building contains:

This bike by David Butler is part of an enigmatically partial collection of his work.

Levi Fisher Ames is probably the earliest artist in the collection. His 600+ whittled creatures, each encased in a wooden box, were part of a traveling exhibit he showed around the region in the late 19th and early 20th century. This is the famous Wisconsin hodag.

A few birds by Albert Zahn of Door County, Wisconsin. His work is widely collected and in other museums. The outside of his house, though mostly sans bird sculptures at this point, can still be seen along the main road in Bailey's Harbor.

Fred Oebser of Menomonie, Wisconsin, was a farmer who started making sculptures from fabrics and equipment in his barn and out-buildings after he retired in the mid-1960s. The Art Preserve contains all of his existing work, including this sculpture of him as George Washington milking a cow.

A Dream House by Jacob Baker, made some time between 1920 and 1939 in Menominee, Illinois, probably inspired by the Dickeyville Grotto.

I don't remember seeing the work of Mississippi sign-maker Jesse Howard before. I would like to spend more time with it on another visit.

I've seen work by Carl Peterson before, because many of his concrete and stone buildings are on display outside JKMAC. But I don't think I've seen his animals, such as this alligator (crocodile?) in the past.

Tomorrow, I will end with a full post about just one artist, Nek Chand, whose work I had never seen before in a full exhibit.


Kohler Art Preserve: Restrooms

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