This Summer’s Must-See Museum Shows

Looking for an excuse to spend an afternoon, or weekend, indoors? We’ve got you covered.

“Joy Ride: Designing Trek”

On view through Aug. 5
Museum of Wisconsin Art

Thirty-eight of the Trek Bicycle Corp.’s most iconic bikes have taken up temporary residence in the museum’s galleries, including a bike Cedarburg native Eric Larsen rode during his South Pole expedition. And a series of “art bikes” created by the Waterloo company’s in-house designers have been paired with works in MOWA’s permanent collection, reminding viewers that sometimes form really does follow function.

“Photographing Nature’s Cathedrals: Carleton E. Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge and H. H. Bennett”

On view through Aug. 26
Milwaukee Art Museum

No work of manmade architecture can compare to the raw beauty of nature. Or at least that’s the conceit of this summer show at the MAM, which showcases the works of three 19th-century photographers who spent their lives seeking out, and photographing, awe-inspiring natural vistas – including some in Wisconsin’s Driftless region.

“Photographing Nature’s Cathedrals: Carleton E. Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge and H. H. Bennett

“Collection Highlights: Don Baum”

On view through Oct. 7
Kohler Arts Center

Artist. Curator. Director of the Hyde Park Arts Center. Don Baum was one of the great champions of contemporary Midwestern art, and he helped draw critical attention to the Chicago Imagists – a group of artists who worked in a surreal, sometimes grotesque style – in the 1960s. Kohler is displaying a dozen of the late artist’s quirky, colorful paint-by-number assemblages for this small but mighty exhibition.

Don Baum, Going Away, 1996; John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection, gift of Charles Baum and Kohler Foundation, Inc.

“Inspiring Change: The Photography of Chip Duncan and Mohamed Amin”

On view through Oct. 21
Charles Allis Museum

The line between photojournalism and fine art has always been blurry. Both of the photographers in this exhibition focus on documenting war, famine and humanitarian crises in developing countries to enact positive social change. In the process, though, they also create visually arresting, museum-worthy works of art.

“To Be Seen and Heard”

Until June 17
The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago

Many of the country’s best-known outsider artists have called Wisconsin home. And this summer they’re getting their due at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. The Chicago museum has put together an exhibition, “To Be Seen and Heard,” showcasing 50 works by five wonderfully weird Wisco artists: Prophet William J. Blackmon, Josephus Farmer, Simon Sparrow, Albert Zahn and Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. Check it out if you find yourself in the Windy City between now and June 17.

Concordia’s Historic Sites

In 1891, the wealthy industrialist George J. Schuster – who made millions growing tobacco in Mukwonago – had a red brick and sandstone mansion built in Concordia, a West Side neighborhood known for its stately Victorian homes. Now the mansion is a bed and breakfast, but owners Laura Sue and Rick Mosier have ensured that it looks much as it did in the 19th century.

Photo by Scott Witte

The Mosiers aren’t the only ones who bought, and lovingly restored, a distressed property in the neighborhood, which saw a great deal of economic blight in the latter half of the 20th century but is still home to some of the city’s most historic buildings and has begun to attract more commercial and residential development in recent years. And on June 16, the Historic Concordia Neighbors association is opening up nine historic buildings, including the Schuster Mansion, to curious community members.

One highlight of the tour is Amy Waldman and Gene Haack’s charming Victorian home, built in 1886. Waldman has lived in Concordia for years and appreciates the sense of community she’s found there. “We look out for each other,” she says, “and we pull together to put on events like this.”

Tickets cost $17 through June 15, and $20 after. Cake and refreshments will be served. Visit for more information.

“Must-See Museum Shows” appears in the June 2018 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning May 28th, or buy a copy at

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.