Current Exhibition

April 21 - October 8, 2023 
David Plowden: The Architecture of Agriculture

Extended by popular demand! The Grohmann Museum once again showcases the photography of David Plowden in honor of the artist's 90th birthday.  But instead of Plowden's trademark work featuring railroads, bridges, and heavy industry, this exhibition looks at feed mills, grain elevators, barns, and the human impact on the landscape of the Midwest and Great Plains.

Over fifty years of photography is distilled in this collection of vanishing views of America's past.  As with much of Plowden's work, many of the scenes captured are no more, existing only on film, in memory, or in scattered remains across the rural countryside.

Upcoming Exhibitions

Sept. 8 - Dec. 17, 2023
Mining Gems: Stories from the Collection

Over the course of our short history, many stories have surfaced related to the art and artists in the Grohmann Museum Collection. For this exhibition, the Museum’s curators have assembled many of the most entertaining and compelling tales gathered over the past 16 years.

From typesetters in pressrooms giving us the terms uppercase and lowercase to correspondence from international visitors prompting the reattribution of artwork in both time and geography, dozens of narratives reveal rare insights into the collection. This scavenger-hunt-style exhibition will allow visitors to discover that rather than a static assortment of paintings and sculptures, a museum collection is an assemblage that evolves and grows as new works, new ideas, and new stories are collected.

Oct. 20 - Dec. 17, 2023
Excavations: Paintings and Drawings by Michael Newhall

Excavation is the work of taking away a surface or covering to reveal what is beneath it; to remove what is covered by something else, to disclose. The origins of the word trace back thousands of years to a word meaning vault or hollow—a place in which treasure may be found. In the context of this exhibition, Michael Newhall’s Excavation series represents a specific kind of work—the labor to meet or dig into the imagery of life: internal life, social life, connected life, in all its psychological, emotional, and physical senses.

In the artist’s early development at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an important painting in the history of American art, Willem de Kooning’s Excavation (1950), had a particularly strong impact. Though abstract, the painting conveys figurative implications and a powerful psychological flow of energy—composed as a pattern-field, or unified texture, rather than a more conventional arrangement.  In homage to de Kooning, the paintings and drawings of Excavations are in part inspired from Newhall’s first encounter with de Kooning’s work. However, far different than de Kooning’s action-painting, this series involves a progression of densely overlaid representational images—industrial areas of Milwaukee and Chicago—landscapes, figures, animals, objects, icons, all of which progressively form multilayered textures.

Here, Newhall invites viewers to excavate, to dig and uncover, and hopefully unearth something for themselves as it relates to life, work, and art.

Join us for the Gallery Night Grand Opening on Oct. 20, 5-9 p.m., featuring a gallery talk with the artist at 7 p.m.

Upcoming Events

Oct. 7, 2023, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Lost Arts Festival  

Save the date! Our 12th annual Lost Arts Festival returns on Saturday, Oct. 7. The event will celebrate the activities and ways of work captured in the paintings and bronzes in the museum’s permanent collection. A shoecarver, glass founder, woodworker, spinners, and master painters all share their expertise and demonstrate their techniques as the Grohmann Museum becomes a laboratory for the creation of Lost Arts.

Stay tuned for more upcoming events by joining our mailing list and following us on social media

Past Exhibitions

  • A Time of Toil & Triumph: Selections from the Shogren-Meyer Collection of American Art
  • Familias Unidas: Tribute to the Migrant Farm Worker Labor Movement in Wisconsin, 1960s-70s
  • Robert O. Lahmann: Working in Wisconsin
  • The Railroad and the Art of Place: Photographs by David Kahler 
  • artWORK by the League of Milwaukee Artists 
  • Electric Steel: Recent Photographs by Michael Schultz 
  • TWO EDMUNDS: Fitzgerald and Lewandowski—Their Mark on Milwaukee 
  • IRONBOAT: New Photography by Christopher Winters 
  • The Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee 
  • Roll Up Your Sleeves 
  • Growing Place: A Visual Study of Urban Farming 
  • David Plowden's Portraits of Work
  • Wallace W. Abbey: A Life in Railroad Photography 
  • The Art and Mechanics of Animation 
  • Masterworks from the Grohmann Museum - Celebrating 10 Years 
  • Artists at Work: The Cedarburg Artists Guild 
  • STEEL: The Cycle of Industry by David Plowden 
  • On the Job: Photography by Jim Seder 
  • Milwaukee's Industrial Landscapes: Paintings by Michael Newhall 
  • Art of the North Shore Line 
  • Forge Work: New Photography by Michael Schultz 
  • Metal for Mettle: Historic Commemorative Medals Honoring Labor and Achievement 
  • H.D. Tylle: Studies 
  • Carl Spitzweg in Milwaukee
  • The Art of the Milwaukee Road 
  • Erich Mercker: Painter of Industry
  • Art Shay: Working 
  • Trains that Passed in the Night: Railroad Photographs of O Winston Link 
  • A Working Ranch by Jim Brozek 
  • Born of Fire: Scenes of Industry from the Westmoreland Museum of American Art 
  • Bridges: The Spans of North America - Photographs by David Plowden 
  • MSOE at Work: Selections from the Campus Archives 
  • Carl Spitzweg: The Poor Poet and Other Characters 
  • Great Lakers: Selections from the Great Lakes Marine Collection of the Milwaukee Public Library 
  • H. D. Tylle: Touring Germany and Working in Wisconsin 
  • Requiem for Steam: The Railroad Photographs of David Plowden 
  • Milwaukee Mills: A Visual History 
  • Lake Boats: The Photography of Jim Brozek and Christopher Winters 
  • Wonders of Work and Labor: The Steidle Collection of American Industrial Art, Penn State University 
  • Working Wisconsin: Selections from the Museum of Wisconsin Art 
  • Foundry Work: A View of the Industry, The Photographs of Michael Schultz 
  • Midwest Murals: Joe Jones and J.B. Turnbull from the Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University 
  • The Bookworm by Carl Spitzweg (1808-1885) 
  • Wisconsin at Work: Thorsten Lindberg Paintings and Drawings from the MCHS Collection 
  • Cradle of Industry: Works from the Rhineland Industrial Museum 
  • American Steel: Works from the Collection of Tom and Lorie Annarella 
  • A Focus on Figures
  • Stone
  • Physicians, Quacks, and Alchemists