LifestyleBlack History Month


MIAD exhibits highlights Black American experience and a contemporary take on famous ad campaign

Posted at 7:03 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 18:51:29-05

MILWAUKEE — If you are looking for a way to explore Milwaukee while escaping the cold, there are plenty of art exhibits.

There is always something new to check out at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Their galleries, which are open to the public for free, feature rotating exhibits.

This season, one exhibit is called "Presence and Persistence: Visions of American Blackness."

Brad Anthony Bernard is an associate professor of art at MIAD and one of the people who curated the exhibit.

"For people that don’t understand what the Black experience is, they think it was back then. This is to let you know it was back then and it’s still now," Bernard said.

Presence and Persistence spotlights artists from Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago, and Atlanta expressing different points of the Black experience.

The exhibit includes a collection of books, references, artifacts, and other materials that Bernard says fill in the gaps of Black American history.

"I think people need to walk away being better informed, having a better understanding of a generational dysfunction due to different oppression."

A few steps away is the "Great Ideas of Humanity: Posters for Thought" exhibit.

The traveling program comes from the Design Museum of Chicago and offers a more contemporary and diverse take on a famous ad campaign that began in the 1950s.

Director of Galleries Mark Lawson said the original campaign by the Container Corporation of America featured books and quotes from Western thinkers.

"It’s a nice mixture of the two and people can think about the differences and how our American culture has embraced diversity much more than was so back in the 1950s. It shows the changing culture that we live in," Lawson said.

Lawson explained the original campaign was the first to advertise without highlighting actual products.

Both exhibits will host special events during their run until early March. Presence and Persistence: Visions of American Blackness runs until March 12. Great Ideas of Humanity: Posters for Thought wraps up on March 5.

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