Creating An Art Exhibit: A Closer Look At MAM's Kandinsky Installation

Aug 22, 2014

Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944) Fragment I for Composition VII (Center), 1913 Oil on canvas 34 15/16 × 39 7/16 in. (88.74 × 100.17 cm) Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1958.12 Photographer credit: Larry Sanders #169; Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Credit Milwailee Art Museum

The Wassily Kandisnky exhibit is entering its final weeks at the Milwaukee Art Museum.  

The show, a collaboration between the art museum and the Pompidou Center in Paris, has garnered national attention. 

The focus of the exhibit is – rightfully – on the art.  But have you ever considered who focuses the light, hangs the paintings and otherwise designs the exhibit so that you can enjoy it?

While it's part of the curator's job, at larger museums, it's also the job of an exhibit designer and his or her staff.

David Russick is that person at the Milwaukee Art Museum. He's the museum's exhibit designer. Russick worked hand-in-glove with chief curator Brady Roberts and his French counterpart to design the Kandinsky exhibit. 

Russick and Roberts took Lake Effect’s Bonnie North through the exhibit hall, giving insight on how the exhibit layout came to fruition.

"You don't really want a person to feel like you enhanced [or] you were trying to make it better. You're just trying to support the narrative that's being told this time with this grouping of works," says Russick.

Listen to the extended radio tour, including a full discussion of the famous mural room: