Arts & Culture
12:00 am
Sat October 6, 2012

'Rooms of Wonder' Exhibit Offers Curiosities of the Past

Knick-knacks, tchochkis, collectibles...whatever you want to call them, there are objects we love to collect.

Madison artist Martha Glowacki brings the curiosities of the past to life in a permanent exhibit at the MAM.
Madison artist Martha Glowacki brings the curiosities of the past to life in a permanent exhibit at the MAM.
Credit Courtesy of the Milwaukee Art Museum

While today our obsession with collecting trinkets may get us the label of "hoarder," centuries ago these collections were signs of wealth and aesthetic sophistication. Of course, the prized objects also tended to be made less of plastic and porcelain and more of animal, vegetable and mineral. And they had a better name for these pieces, too: curiosities.

A permanent exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum called, "Loca Miraculi: Rooms of Wonder" features a modern incarnation of these collections. Located on the lower level of the museum and curated by the Chipstone Foundation, the exhibit is the work of Madison artist Martha Glowacki. She is also a curator for the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters.

Part of the "Loca Miraculi: Rooms of Wonder" exhibit
Part of the "Loca Miraculi: Rooms of Wonder" exhibit
Credit Courtesy of the MAM

Lake Effect contributor and "It's a Material World" curator Gianofer Fields recently had a chance to chat with Glowacki and see her work, which Fields says combines the discipline of science with the aesthetics of art to create haunting beauty.

"It’s a Material World" is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.