Tag Archives: Chazen Museum of Art

Pivoting for Change and Adaptation

In the Q&A following Chazen Director Amy Gilman’s presentation, she was asked if pandemic adjustments have had any benefits.   She replied that as the continuum suddenly ended, stillness enabled the Chazen—actually, all of us—to pivot from thoughts about how to return to normalcy and about how the museum can be more intentional about the future fulfillment of its mission.

The Chazen, a UW-Madison museum, has turned its attention to digital/virtual communication, foregoing written communication; alignment of resources (and possible shortages of tax income) with programs; expanding attention to donor communications; creating virtual programming; development of collections; the rejuvenation of the original Chazen facility to more reflect change over time; and applying the measures of diversity and inclusiveness to all elements of its work.  In particular, she recommended to us Parkland: Birth of a Movement by David Cullen.

Two programs are illustrative:  First, virtual tours are in development in support of the UW Art History program, which was accustomed to using the museum’s galleries as part of its activities.  And the Chazen asked 100 Black Men of Madison what is needed by those whom they serve and that the museum could provide.  The result was 1,400 complete kits for two “making art” projects, complete with instructions, examples and necessary supplies . . . part of a significant museum pivot.

Extensive and significant responses to questions followed.  Several focused on the Alliance of American Museums’ forecast that 30% of the nation’s museums—not just art, and usually smaller and more fragile—might fold.  Gilman provided professionally accepted ethical standards for care of collections including their disposition to other museums with shared missions or use of funds from sales of collections for the care and growth of collections rather than for operations.

This was a thoughtful, introspective and constructive presentation informed by a continuing history of service to a variety of audiences—and complete with an invitation to virtual services now and to return to visits when possible.

Our thanks to Amy Gilman for her presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article.  If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here:  https://youtu.be/pEnHuVM5Hr8.

Rotary Club of Madison Fall Membership Event, Chazen Museum of Art

At Chazen Museum of Art, Submitted By Maggie Peterman.

Even the draperies are a work of art… if you enjoy the waltz, you will discover Petra Blaisse’s design for indoor architectural spaces at work in the Chazen Museum of Art lobby.

When closed, the 20-foot-high curtain covers the glass wall with a pattern designed in voile and felt. As it opens, it coils around a LED-studded column with the elegance of the leading man and lady in ABC’s hottest TV series “Dancing With the Stars.”

Russell Panczenko, the museum’s director and Rotary member, gave nearly 300 Madison Rotarians, their guests and prospective members a glimpse of this graceful dance step Thursday night during Rotary’s Special Autumn Fellowship Event in the new $43 million, 86,000-square-foot addition that opened to the Madison community less than a week ago.

Museum docents escorted small groups of visitors through the museum’s 10 new galleries and 22,500-square feet of new exhibition space.

Sporting a classic bow tie, Max Gaebler, a retired minister from the First Unitarian Society of Madison, praised the work of Boston-based architects Machado and Silvetti Associates, as well as display of artwork previously kept in storage.

“It’s so much bigger, so much richer in contents than it was years ago,” says Gaebler, who served the Unitarian congregation more than 35 years. “It now feels like a significant museum.”

Visitors were charmed by the Alexander Calder sculptures in Gallery 10, the Claes Oldenburg Typewriter Eraser in Gallery 12 and the Spirit Wall by an unknown Chinese artist in Gallery 15.
Few could resist the temptation not to touch the display of bottle caps and liquor wrappers a Nigerian university professor sewed together with copper wire.

“This is just amazing,” says Barb Kubly, who is in residential real estate and a prospective member. “It’s phenomenal.”

The museum also features the private collection of Simona and Jerome Chazen whose $25 million gift sparked the expansion.

“This shows you the Chazens really like color and the human figure,” Docent Sandra Loman points out.

One evening is not enough time to absorb all the exhibitions in the building featuring a two-story glass lobby with a limestone “carpet” and a 160-seat auditorium for films and lecutures.

“I’d like to spend more time just looking around,” says Rob Stroud, a Madison attorney and Rotary District Governor-elect. “There are some real interesting pieces here.”

Click photos to enlarge.

The Rotary Club of Madison has 500 members from business, academia, healthcare and public and community service.  It is one of the ten largest Rotary International clubs in the world and will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2013.  Rotary International is a service club with local and global reach.  It’s 34,000 clubs in over 200 countries have 1.2 million members who meet weekly to develop friendships, learn, and work together to address important humanitarian needs. 

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