Tell Me A Story

November 7 - February 8, 2015

Opening Reception Friday, November 7- 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Closing: In-Depth Look & Silent Auction
Sunday, February 8
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Jennifer Angus is best known for her installations composed of thousands of insects pinned directly to walls in repeating patterns that reference both textiles and wallpaper. Her recent work explores the narrative through works in which insects are anthropomorphized. This exhibition is a kind of over the top Victorian fancy, filled with bell jars, cases and dioramas that will cause the viewer to reconsider their relationship with both insects and nature.

Closing Night
Join Jennifer Angus and the curatorial staff of Villa Terrace for a comprehensive look at Tell Me a Story on the final evening of the exhibition. Jennifer will guide visitors through her unique installation that uses insects in decorative and surprising ways, explaining her practice that incorporates art, design, and science.

Additionally, visitors can bid on silent auction items, featuring one-of-a-kind insect-inspired jewelry, created by members of Object, the jewelry and metal-smithing student organization at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Proceeds benefit the organization and the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum.




Tsukioka Kōgyo, Kumasaka from Nogaku Hyakuban, Woodblock print, 15x10 in.

Noh Theatre in the Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869–1927)

July 18 - October 5, 2014
Curated by Martha Chaiklin, PhD and Annemarie Sawkins, PhD

Opening Reception Friday, July 18 - 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Tsukioka Kōgyo and the Revival of Noh in Modern Japan
A talk by Professors Richard J. and Mae J. Smethurst
beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Art of Ikebana
Friday, August 22 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Japanese floral arrangement demonstration by certified Ichiyo instructor Laurie A. Wareham
$20 / $15 Museum Members
RSVP with / No day of registration

The exhibition Noh Theatre in the Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869 - 1927) will feature over 50 unique woodblock prints of Noh and Kyōgen theatre scenes, from the collection of Richard J. and Mae J. Smethurst, as well as authentic Noh masks provided by local collectors. Tsukioka Kōgyo became one of the most famous and internationally celebrated print artists of the Meiji Period in Japanese history. He was, and remains, the preeminent artist of Noh (and Kyōgen) theatre. Between the 1890s and his death in 1927, Kōgyo produced five major sets of prints. The prints in the exhibition not only showcase his incredible artistic talent but also a popular form of theatre for audiences in Japan.

This exhibition is funded in part by the Japan Foundation, New York.



Clockwise:Charles Timm-Ballard, Namim Kim, Dana Childs, Angela Biederman

Species & Specimens

March 19 - May 25, 2014
Opening Reception Thursday, March 20
6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
5:30 - 6:00 p.m. Members Only Preview

Species & Specimens brings together the work of eleven artists spanning several generations of faculty and alumni of the UWM Ceramics program. Their work comments on human interaction with the natural environment, using strategies from installation to small intimate objects. The Villa Terrace site and its unique interface with the urban and natural environment, its formal gardens and Lake Michigan, provides a counterpoint for multiple viewpoints the invited artists bring to the exhibition theme.

Artists included in the show are John Ty Bender, Angela Biederman, Dana Childs, Christopher Davis-Benavides, Karin Davis, Karen Gunderman, Namim Kim, Deborah Rael-Buckley, Barbara Reinhart, Charles Timm-Ballard, and Linda Wervey Vitamvas.

Species & Specimens coincides with Milwaukee’s hosting the 48th Annual Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) from March 19-22, 2014, with major conference exhibitions taking place at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Inova, MIAD, the John Michael Kohler Art Center and numerous other cultural institutions in the region. The conference expects 4500-5000 attendees and the Species & Specimens exhibition at Villa Terrace will be part of the exhibition bus tour that kicks off the conference on Wednesday March 19. The exhibition opens the following night, Thursday March 20, at 6:00 p.m. with a special members only preview begining at 5:30 p.m.

Concurrent with the Species & Specimens exhibition, Jeff Noska, a ceramic artist from Dousman, Wisconsin will mount a separate exhibition, The Space Between, in the courtyard and exterior terrace on the second floor outside the upstairs galleries.



Chasing Horizons

May 3 - August 25, 2013
Opening Reception Friday, May 3

6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion Starts at 7:00 p.m.
5:30 - 6:00 p.m. Members Only Preview

“How are present day artists responding to the land? Have technologies like satellite imagery and the internet demystified the landscape? How are artists in turn using these technologies to enrich and influence their work? Has the reverence for the landscape that artists like George Innes and Winslow Homer portrayed in their work diminished or increased in recent artwork?" These are the questions that curators Nirmal Raja and Christopher Willey are exploring in the upcoming exhibition Chasing Horizons; which opens at the Villa Terrace Museum of Decorative Arts on May 3, 2013.

12 Artists will be exhibiting their response to the varied, open, and constantly changing concept of “landscape” through a variety of media such as digital photography, video, kinetic and site specific sculpture, paintings, and mixed media installations.

Artists:Emily Belknap,Beki Borman,Crystal Ann Brown,Stephen Cartwright,Allan DeSouza,Kevin Giese,Tonia Klein,Dara Larson,Paul Ramirez Jonas,Alessandra Torres,Clement Valla,and Jason S. Yi.


Modern Rookwood: 1918-1933

February 8 - April 7, 2013
Opening Reception Friday, February 8
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Members Only Preview

Informal Lecture by Riley Humler
Rookwood in the 1920s

Thursday March 7, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Closing Event
Sunday, April 7 - 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
See the exhibition, Meet the Curator, Enjoy the Art!
Light refreshments

The exhibition Modern Rookwood: 1918-1933 showcases select works from the Rookwood Pottery Company, which opened in Cincinnati in 1880 and survived through the Great Depression. The company, marketed as “an artist’s studio, not a factory,” quickly became the most decorated ceramic producer in the country. The award-winning stoneware and porcelain vessels produced by Rookwood are characterized by their successful experimental designs and exceptionally fine glazes in a variety of modern forms. One of the lesser known yet more fascinating chapters in the history of the company will be presented in this exhibition of approximately 30 Rookwood vessels of varying types and styles painted by the company’s best-known Modern artists. The artists whose work will be featured are Lenore Asbury, Elizabeth Barrett, Arthur P. Conant, Lorinda Epply, Jens Jensen, Earl Menzel, Sara Sax, John Dee Wareham, and Harriet Wilcox among others.

This presentation of post-war Rookwood comes exclusively from the collection of Riley Humler and Annie Bauer. Mr. Humler is one of the foremost authorities on Rookwood Pottery and an avid collector of Rookwood from the 1920s, who has amassed one of the finest collections, which will be shown here for the first time. He will present an informal lecture at the Villa on the history of Rookwood Pottery followed by a look at the artists featured in the show on Thursday, March 7, from 6-7:30 p.m.

Three pieces of early Rookwood pottery from the Allis' permanent collection will be shown in conjunction with the exhibition. The pieces are currently on display in the Allis library.

Annemarie Sawkins Ph.D., is the guest curator for Modern Rockwood:1918-1933. Sawkins is an independent curator, art historian and author born in Durham, England. From 1999 to 2012, she was a curator at the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, in Milwaukee, Wis. where she curated a variety of exhibitions including Lucinda Devlin: The Omega Suites (2010), Louise Bourgeois: Recent Works (2007), Eve Sussman: 89 Seconds at Alcazar (2005), Honoré Daumier: Political Caricaturist of the Nineteenth Century (2003), and Man Ray on Paper (2002). Between 1997 and 1999, Sawkins worked at the Milwaukee Art Museum where she was a contributing author of A Renaissance Treasury: The Flagg Collection of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture (1999). A frequent juror and art consultant, Annemarie Sawkins has a Masters and Ph.D. in Art History from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.




Garden Of Curious Delights

September 27 - January 13, 2012
Opening Reception Thursday, September 27
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Garden of Curious Delights plays off the idea of the garden as a collection of specimens, much like 16th century cabinets of curiosities, representing the complexity and wonder of humans in the "natural" world. Including the artwork of seven contemporary artists, this exhibition metaphorically expands the notion and boundaries of the garden, for which the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is renowned, into the interiors of the Villa, making it, in itself, a Garden of Curious Delights.

Marna Brauner
Christopher Davis-Benavides
Hai Chi Jihn
Cima Katz
Denis Sargent
Maria Tomasula
Jan Ru Wan

Click here for gallery guide



Chromasoul; Michael Velliquette; Acrylic, Gator Board, Glue, Paper; 41"x21"x4.5";2011

Sisterbirds;Diptych; Joey Fauerso

To Become Day
Joey Fauerso & Michael Velliquette

June 15 - September 16, 2012
Opening Reception Friday June 15, 2012
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

To Become Day introduces new works by San Antonio-based artist Joey Fauerso and Madison-based artist Michael Velliquette.

Fauerso’s intimate and large-scale paintings on historic wallpaper continue her investigation into the depiction of the human body as an intersection between nature and culture. These paintings work to re-frame the historical gendering of nature. Paintings, animations, video and collage become sites for explorations into landscape, the body, and the dynamics between subject and viewer. In many works, painting and performance collude to question the ways in which context defines identity. A wide range of influences including Romanticism, Victorian erotica, and portraiture inspire her work.

Velliquette’s paper sculptures expand his engagement with ornamental abstraction. His bold forms evolve from a self-described “rite” of meditation, reflection and drawing which show a heightened prowess with the process of cutting, layering and gluing his colored paper shapes. Velliquette’s work in this exhibition is influenced by the practice of sigilization – an occult-based method for developing personal symbols by which the words of a statement of intent are reduced to a formal design. As these works explore an aesthetic concerned with visual opulence and ceremony, they also gesture towards devotional ornamentation and spiritually driven object making.



Jonathan Wahl,Toad in the Hole - 2008 Charcoal on paper

The Decorative Impulse

February, 17 through May 20, 2012

The Decorative Impulse brings together six international metalsmiths whose work actively engages with the decorative arts to pose provocative questions about the place of the decorative in current art dialogs. The artists - Jamie Bennett,Gésine Hackenberg, Rory Hooper, Anya Kivarkis, Amelia Toelke and Jonathan Wahl- draw from a range of cultural and historic sources such as Victorian jewelry, Old Master paintings, export porcelain, mass produced jewelry and botanical prints. Their work brings the often marginalized category of the decorative arts to the fore, as both a strategy and an aesthetic choice.

The Decorative Impulse is a collaboration between The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum and the UW-Milwaukee, Peck School of the Arts. The show is co-curated by Yevgeniya Kaganovich, Head of Jewelry and Metalsmithing at the Peck School of the Arts.


Artists Now! Lecture Series -Anya Kivarkis
Jewelry Appropriating Jewelry: From Dutch Portraiture to the Internet Archive
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. 
UW-Milwaukee, Arts Center Lecture Hall (ACL 120) 
2400 E. Kenwood Boulevard
Free and open to the Public 

Panel Discussion with Jamie Bennett, Anya Kivarkis, Amelia Toelke, Jonathan Wahl and Yevgeniya Kaganovich
Moderated by Ethan Lasser, Curator of Exhibitions, Chipstone Foundation 
Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 6:15 p.m. 
Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Free and open to the Public

Opening Reception 
Friday, February 17, 2012 - 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum


Jamie Bennett -
Gésine Hackenberg -
Rory Hooper -
Anya Kivarkis -
Amelia Toelke -

Jonathan Wahl -

Ethan W. Lasser is Curator of the Chipstone Foundation, A Milwaukee-based educational foundation with a mandate to advance scholarship and innovate curatorial practice in the field of of American Decorative Arts History. Lasser earned his PhD in the History of Art at Yale University in 2008. He has curated numerous exhibitions of contemporary craft and was awarded a Fellowship in the Research Department at the Victoria Albert Museum last spring.


Gallery Guide



Great Ladies and Beautiful Arts: Elkins, Standish and Adler

October 12 through January 29, 2012
This exhibition examines the work and influence of David Adler, Francis Elkins and the landscape architect Rose Nichols Standish in the development of the original residence.


Objects for Objects: Work by Venetia Dale

July 6 - September 18, 2011
Dale employs traditional metalsmithing techniques to “address issues of production, labor, heritage, and representation.” In Dale’s work “plastic baskets, shower caddies, shopping totes and consumer disposables are sourced, fragmented, abstracted and re-imagined”, resulting in sculptural works that explore themes of handmade value in a global economy.

Dale received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004 and MFA from State University of New York at New Paltz in 2009. She was Artist-in-Residence at Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, OR in 2010 and is now teaching as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Art Department at UW-Milwaukee.

Gallery Guide Link

Venetia Dale, Commeration of Occasion (detail) 2011


Venetia Dale, Retain Tag for Reference, 2008


Strange Vegetation

Yevgeniya Kaganovich
In collaboration with Nathaniel Stern

June 8 - July 24, 2011
Inspired by the fantastical Zuber wallpaper in the Villa Terrace’s second story gallery, Kaganovich has created a room sized latex computerized inflating and deflating piece that evokes rhizomatic plant forms. The work responds to environmental triggers; the latex surface changes with fluctuations in temperature and light, the “organism” evolves over time.

Gallery Guide Link

Strange Vegetation Opening Slideshow

Strange Vegetation - Yevgeniya Kaganovich, 2011


FORMED - Karen Gunderman and Linda Wervey Vitamvas
February 16 - May 15, 2011

Karen Gunderman and Linda Wervey Vitamvas, both of Milwaukee, are ceramics artists whose work evokes anatomical and biological forms. Gunderman draws on the early history of botany and a sense of wonderment in exploring the mysteries of life. Wervey Vitamvas combines peculiar anatomical shapes with medical and surgical tools to investigate an uneasy relationship between the body's internal spaces and the examination and viewing of these hidden places.

Linda Wervey-Vitamvas, Fictilus Organum




November 10, 2010 – January 23, 2011

The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is proud to present the exhibition Tom Loeser: Trees Are The Biggest Vegetable. Loeser is the head of the wood and furniture design area at UW-Madison and his artwork has been included in over 200 national and international exhibitions since 1981. His designs in wood are “one-of-a-kind functional and dysfunctional objects that are often carved and painted and always based on the history of design and object-making as a starting point for developing new form and meaning.” 

He is represented in the collections of 14 museums including the Museums of Fine Arts in Boston, The Renwick Gallery, The Cooper Hewitt Museum, The Yale University Art Gallery, The Milwaukee Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum. Loeser is also a four-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Fellowship.




Cyril Colnik : A New Look
July 14 - September 26, 2010

New research, findings and a selection from the archives brings a fresh perspective to the work of Cyril Colnik, a Milwaukee artisan often referred to as “the Tiffany of Blacksmiths.”


McCook Mansion Drive Gates,
Blueprint, 1906.





April 14 – June 27, 2010

Longtime Wisconsin blacksmith Dan Nauman has worked closely with the Colnik Collection at the Villa Terrace. 
His solo exhibition covers new works, some of which draw on lessons learned while studying Colnik.


Metamorphosis : The Transformation of Everyday Objects

January 27 - April 11, 2010

The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is proud to present Metamorphosis:  The Transformation of Everyday Objects.  The exhibition brings together six Wisconsin Artists each with their own interpretation of the decorative arts and whose work transforms everyday objects, blurring the boundaries of function, aesthetics and concepts.

Featuring works by:
Ray Chi
Kim Cridler
Albin Erhart
Frankie Flood
Jennifer Harris
Fo Wilson