Director's Note 7/1/16

July 1, 2016

Has anyone seen June? It disappeared, for me, in a blur of exhibition-making. First the Nohl Fellowship Exhibition, which we opened at the Haggerty Museum of Art on June 9--a must-see for anyone interested in the current state of contemporary art in Milwaukee--then Eliza's Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities last weekend. Perhaps I should say I heard June, because my recollections of the month roll by as a series of sounds. They start with the metallic shiver of the thin bronze leaves on Kim Cridler's Field Study 15: Bur Oak as I ran through the gallery on my way to and from the front desk in the early part of the month and continue through the five very different echoes of the voices of the Nohl Fellows explaining their work, each in their own space, to the crowds that attended the preview and the opening. I have an entire catalogue of sounds for Eliza: the maddening drone of the generator, drowning out the buzzing of the insects; the glutinous sloshing of wheat paste in an orange bucket; the banging of the ladder on the back of the golf cart at each rut in the gravel road; the thump and drag of my knees as I crawled across the attic to turn on the solar power; the wrens perched on the wood duck box near in the quiet moments; the whistle of a distant train emanating from the gallery.

We opened Eliza last Sunday with plenty of guests from Milwaukee, Chicago and beyond to celebrate Fo Wilson's ambitious project. Visitors spent hours in the hot sun examining and discussing the full-scale outdoor structure that explores the interior and material worlds of an imaginary enslaved woman (and taking refuge in the cooler gallery to see the work there). Both wunderkammer and slave cabin, the installation triggered a series of conversations--which have continued all week--as people began to develop their own narratives about Eliza. She will come into sharper focus this summer as Wilson adds new elements to the cabin and a series of performers--Tomeka Reid, Viktor Le, Honey Pot Performance, Anna Martine Whitehead--respond to Wilson's work with music, movement, and performance. First up is cellist Tomeka Reid, who will perform "Airs for Eliza" on the porch of the cabin this Friday night (July 8). The intimate concert will be preceded by a bring-your-own-picnic gathering with Reid and Wilson.

We have filled July with activities, from our Tuesdays in the Garden for the smallest children and summer day camps for kids, to workshops covering ceramics, landscape pests, enameling (we have a brand new enameling kiln, thanks to a grant from the Enamelist Society and the efforts of our enameling instructor, Leslie Perrino), bonsai for beginners (this one's for adults and older teens), and wet-on-wet watercolor painting. (Perhaps we should award a prize to the brave and inquiring Renaissance person who takes all of these?) A new session of tai chi gets underway on Sunday mornings, and Heather Eiden will be folding some slow looking--part meditation, part looking deeply at art--into her Saturday morning yoga sessions. After several years of teaching yoga at Lynden, Eiden has come to view steady contemplation of sculpture as a mindfulness practice, both restorative and enlivening. There is space left in our docent-led patio tour (July 17), but this month's walking tour (July 3) is just about full--you might want to register now for the next tour on August 7.

We have three special events in July that may be of interest. On July 19 the Women's Speaker Series welcomes Eleanor Brown, author of The Light of Paris (fans will remember The Weird Sisters). July 24 is our Free Family Day, a great opportunity for members to introduce friends to Lynden. And on July 27 we are hosting a planetary picnic and planet-gazing event (we provide the cookies and telescopes).

Finally, we are pleased to announce the arrival of our lovely patio furniture. To celebrate this new amenity, artist-in-residence Sara Caron will be hosting Coffee Mondays beginning July 11. Caron will serve hot and iced coffee, tea, and perhaps a few surprises. Come and enjoy the view, bring a book, or do a little remote office-ing.

Please remember that we are open until 7:30 pm on Wednesday evenings and that Lynden will be closed on July 4.

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