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My name is Scott and I like to travel. There I said it, wow that does feel better. There is probably a program for my affliction somewhere. I am what I would consider a Normal Guy. I am a native Arizonan, sometimes we are called “Zonies”. I am in my mid 40′s and enjoy a great life. I am self employed and have a wonderful daughter and Partner. Although I would say my life is a fairly normal one, I am also quite lucky in that I have the ability to travel and enjoy the world, I enjoy learning about other cultures and experiencing the world around us. I want to be right upfront about the type of travel I enjoy and the type I don’t. You will probably not ever read a story of about me backpacking my way through the serengeti during the height of summer, nor will you probably read any stories of me sleeping in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton in Paris. I am not a budget traveler, nor am I an uber luxury traveler, I fall somewhere in the middle, where most people fall I believe. I started this blog for the sole purpose of sharing my stories, my views and my excitement for traveling around this world with my friends, family. However it doesn’t stop there for me, I also wanted to make friends with others around the world, those who travel and those who dream of travel. Blogs and Websites evolve over time, mine will no doubt expand over time as well please come back and see what has taken place. However if you have come to my blog to schedule a flight or a hotel, this is not the place.

The Fonz + Laverne and Shirley = ?

The World is a big place.  I have traveled much over the years and been to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places throughout the world.  There are also many places throughout the U.S. that I have not been to.  Check one more off the list.

Henry Winkler and The Fonz in Bronze

The Fonz, Laverne and Shirley

Do you know who these people are?  Actually they are characters from a television show.   The Fonz was a character on a television show by the name of  Happy Days,  which aired from 1974 to 1984.  Happy Day’s was a show that chronicled a fictionalized family from the 1950’s, set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Laverne and Shirley was a television show that ran from 1976 to 1983. It was a spin off of the Happy Day’s and chronicled the  life of two working girls who worked at a Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I am sure by now you have figured out what the common denominator is, it’s Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Although the Fonz was cool, this post is not about The Fonz or Laverne and Shirley, I know I tricked you.  It’s about one of the most spectacular Art Museum’s in the U.S., and yes, it’s in Milwaukee.  But for you Fonz fiends, there is also a bronze sculpture of the Fonz, if you want to visit that.  But today, you must experience the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Milwaukee Art Museum, Wings wide open

In 1872, multiple organizations were founded in order to bring an art gallery to Milwaukee, as the city was still a growing port town with little or no places to hold major art exhibitions. Over the course of nine years, all attempts to build a major art gallery had failed. In 1881, exhibitions were held at Milwaukee’s Exposition Hall, which was Milwaukee’s primary event venue at the time. Shortly after that year, Alexander Mitchell donated all of his collection into constructing Milwaukee’s first permanent art gallery in the city’s history.  The original Museum was designed by Eero Saarinen.

Your view upon entrance, Lake Michigan in the view.

The graceful Quadracci Pavilion is a sculptural, postmodern addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum completed in 2001, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.  A 1975 addition had increased the space five-fold, but the Museum remained hidden from public view on the lower floors of the War Memorial Center.  A $10 million then-anonymous gift from Betty and Harry Quadracci kicked off a capital campaign.

Spectacular Architecture.

In 1994, the Museum’s search committee convinced Santiago Calatrava to submit a proposal and was wowed by his creative design. Calatrava, inspired by the “dramatic, original building by Eero Saarinen, …the topography of the city” and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie-style architecture, initially proposed a small addition, with a pedestrian bridge connecting the Museum to downtown. As excitement over the project grew, fundraising accelerated and the project evolved, with the architect and Museum trustees sharing ideas.

The 142,050-square-foot Quadracci Pavilion was planned to primarily contain public spaces—a reception hall, auditorium, café, store, and parking, plus 10,000 square feet of flexible space for temporary exhibitions. Calatrava later said, “I had clients who truly wanted from me the best architecture that I could do. Their ambition was to create something exceptional for their community…. Thanks to them, this project responds to the culture of the lake: the sailboats, the weather, the sense of motion and change.”

The structure incorporates both cutting-edge technology and old-world craftsmanship. The hand-built structure was made largely by pouring concrete into one-of-a-kind wooden forms. It is a building that could have only been done in a city with Milwaukee’s strong craft tradition.The Reiman Bridge, also designed by Calatrava, connects to the pavilion and provides pedestrian access to and from downtown. With the exception of the temporary exhibition gallery, the galleries themselves are contained in both the Saarinen building and a 1975 addition designed by local architect David Kahler. This addition was commissioned in 1969 to make room for other exhibits and donations.

Ceiling of the Milwaukee Art Museum

The museum is home to over 25,000 works of art. Its permanent holdings contain an important collection of Old Masters and 19th-century and 20th-century artwork, as well as some of the nation’s best collections of German  Expressionism, folk and Haitian art,  American decorative arts, and post-1960 American art. The museum holds a large number of works by Georgia O’Keefe, as well as many works by the German Expressionist, Gabriele Munter.

The Museum has beautiful rotating presentations such as Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper.  This will include presentations of approximately 110 drawings, watercolors and pastels by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. Active in France during the second half of the nineteenth century and closely associated with avant-garde movements, artists such as Manet, Degas, Renoir, Pissarro, Seurat, Gauguin, Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Toulouse-Lautrec created works on paper that may be less well-known than their paintings but which are just as significant. Organized by the Museum in partnership with the Albertina in Vienna, the exhibition will show how these artists chose to emphasize drawing, thereby ceasing to recognize the traditional distinction between drawing and painting.

Aside from what I think is the obvious, the building itself.  This museum holds some fantastic art.  I hope that if you find yourself in Milwaukee you will take the time to visit this museum.  Take your time, enjoy a cup of coffee at the Cafe and just stare at the ceiling like I did, or maybe at Lake Michigan, then make your way outside to watch the wings open.  I know I am looking forward to my next visit to Milwaukee.

In case you aren’t aware this building boasts something Unprecedented in American architecture, the Burke Brise Soleil is a moveable, wing-like sunscreen that rests on top of the Museum’s vaulted, glass-enclosed Windhover Hall. The “wings” open Monday–Sunday at 10 a.m. with the Museum, close/reopen at noon, and close again with the Museum at 5 p.m.; except on Thursdays when the Museum closes at 8 p.m. This schedule is, however, subject to change without advance notice due to weather, special events, or maintenance.

While the Burke Brise Soleil has a wingspan comparable to that of a Boeing 747-400, its two ultrasonic wind sensors automatically close the wings if the wind speed reaches 23 mph or greater. Unlike the airplane, the Museum prefers to remain on the ground.

Now to see it in action, check out this video.

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5 Comments on “The Fonz + Laverne and Shirley = ?”

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