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Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011

Milwaukee Art Museum Celebrates Calatrava's Engineering Marvel

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Since the 2001 opening of the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion, with its soaring Burke Brise Soleil, the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) has received international acclaim, attention and awards. Last year, VirtualTourist even recognized the MAM as the world's sexiest art museum. Indeed, the museum is now identified with pop culture, as evidenced by last year's Victoria's Secret photo shoot inside the MAM.

Pop culture aside, the museum is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its distinguished architectural wonder with the exhibition "Building a Masterpiece: Santiago Calatrava and the Milwaukee Art Museum," opening Sept. 8 in the Baumgartner Galleria and Koss Gallery.

Chief curator Brady Roberts spoke with enthusiasm about the exhibit. Models by Calatrava, watercolor designs and videos collected over the past 10 years tell the story of this amazing work of architecture and engineering on the city's lakeshore.

Calatrava, after being awarded the commission in 1994, decided to combine his architectural training with his Ph.D. in civil engineering for the project. Roberts, who revisited the design while curating the exhibition, states, "Calatrava related to architecture as a human, organic form, incorporating the principle of foldability, where engineering and aesthetics merge.

"The design was always meant to be aesthetically beautiful but totally functional," Roberts adds. "A marvel of engineering."

The museum has doubled its attendance and forged art partnerships around the globe since the construction of Calatrava's Quadracci Pavilion. The pavilion's 10th anniversary kicks off a major reinstallation of the MAM's collections and a renovation of the galleries to coincide with the MAM's 125th anniversary in 2013.

"The Calatrava has transformed the MAM to become iconic, a new symbol of the city," Roberts concludes. "What more can you ask?"

Art Happenings

Marshall Arts Event

Historic Third Ward Marshall Building

207 E. Buffalo St.

More than 20 venues celebrate the one-year anniversary of this quarterly event featuring special art exhibitions, live music and refreshments throughout the Marshall Building on Friday, Sept. 9, 5-9 p.m.

Delafield Art Walk

Downtown Delafield

Delafield hosts a two-day art walk featuring artists and live music beginning 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, and 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10. The Delafield Arts Center (803 Genesee St., Delafield) opens the exhibition "Terrence James Coffman and Three Center Avenue Studio Artists," which also highlights Pamela Anderson, T.C. Hoffman and Rita Maria Schleck. A reception at the center takes place 6-9 p.m. Sept. 9.