Presented in the second-floor galleries at Villa Terrace, Back to School invites a select list of accomplished artists to display artwork from their current portfolio alongside work they created while they were in school, presenting unexpected juxtapositions of past and present that reveal insights into both the changing perspectives and the persistent threads of artists’ pursuits over time. Co-curated by Brent Budsberg. Exhibition Advisor, Kim Miller.

Exhibition Artists:

American Fantasy Classics,
John Balsley, Demitra Copoulos, Nicholas Frank, Nina Ghanbarzadeh, Zach Hill, Jon Horvath, Greg Klassen, Kim Miller, Harvey Opgenorth, JoAnna Poehlmann, Miguel Ramirez, Lynn Tomaszewski




Roger Smith: Drawings & Watercolors

October 19th, 2017 - January 28th, 2018


Opening concurrently with Back to School in the first-floor galleries, Roger Smith:
Drawings & Watercolors
will highlighted artwork by Roger Smith, great grandson of A.O. Smith.



June 15h, 2017 - September 10th, 2017


Strata & Cipher: Barbara Manger and Richard Taylor brings together two artists who work closely with color and layering, and have developed a process-oriented studio practice that transforms surprising source materials into metaphors for their experiences. Manger uses monoprinting techniques to create richly composed images that reference the textures of moving waterways, and Taylor collects found materials to inform his use of shape, color, and surface, creating sculptures reminiscent of weathered urban artifacts.


The exhibition will place special emphasis on the artists’ practices – their ideation, material explorations, and craft. Viewers will likewise have the opportunity to engage creatively by spending time in our special Reading Room perusing a selection of books significant to the artists, or by making a collaborative paper collage in our Play Room – a space formerly used by the Smith family children for creative endeavors of their own.

February 16, 2017 - May 14, 2017

Ornate/Activate examines the use of decorative arts and motifs, architectural elements, scripts, traditional materials, and other forms of pattern-making by artists of South Asian origin to create meaningful and critical content. The exhibition, organized by the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC) and curated by Alexander Campos, addresses themes such as inequality stemming from the global economy, loss of language and culture, gender violence, discrimination, segregation, and issues of equality and identity. The artists in Ornate/Activate recognize a need to reclaim tactile and decorative methods of making as a way to address social, political, and economic issues and also to confront the ever-growing presence of technology in everyday life.

Ornate/Activate was first shown in New York, NY at Shirin Gallery in 2015.

The full exhibition catalogue will be on sale at the Villa Terrace throughout the run of the exhibition.

Exhibiting Artists:
Nida Abidi, Fariba Alam, Kamal Badhey, Shelly Bahl, Marcy Chevali, Priyanka Dasgupta, Roya Farassat, Asha Ganpat, Parisa Ghaderi, Zainab Hussain, Monica Jahan Bose, Vandana Jain, Umber Majeed, Radhika Mathews, Indrani Nayar-Gall, Nirmal Raja, Sausan Saulat, Suran Song, Udita Upadhyaya

Exhibition Liaison, Nirmal Raja




Roy Staab
Nature In Three Parts

June 5 - September 18, 2016

The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is delighted to announce its first-ever commission for a site-specific installation in the museum's Renaissance Garden. Nature In Three Parts features the work of Milwaukee-based environmental artist Roy Staab. The exhibition encompasses Shadow Dance, the premiere of Staab's newest site-specific installation in the Villa's lower garden;Suspended in Time, a survey of photographs highlighting his previous national and international installations in the museum's galleries; and Beyond Baskets, an exhibition curated by Staab with works on loan from the collection of Jan Serr and John Shannon. Beyond Baskets includes works by Joe Hogan, Ueno Masao, Francina and Neil Prince, Deborah Smith, Polly Adams Sutton, Leslie Wilcox, Hiroi Yasushi, and Jiro Yonezawa.


About the Artist

After completing his most recent installations in Gujarat, India, Staab has returned to his hometown of Milwaukee to create his newest work for the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, using willows gathered from Milwaukee County Parks. A maker of site-specific environmental installations, Staab works with materials found at or near the site including reeds, stones, saplings, mud, and snow. His work reflects the environment from which it is created and mimics the innate geometry and structure of nature. Staab’s work is ephemeral. He strives to achieve and photograph a perfect moment before the art is taken back by nature.


Beginning his artistic practice as a painter, Staab then experimented with drawing and this evolved into site-specific installations using natural materials. Staab built his first installation in 1979 and began creating site-specific installations with local natural materials in 1983. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he has exhibited at local venues including the Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of Wisconsin Art, Lynden Sculpture Garden, and Kohler Art Center.  He has also led residencies and workshops and exhibited his work internationally in France, Italy, Japan, Poland, Korea, Russia, and most recently, India. His work is in international collections including Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; and Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI.


About Nature in Three Parts


Shadow Dance

Staab’s site-specific work at the Villa Terrace Museum will be constructed at the base of a steep bluff, in The Renaissance Garden, a grassy area between the early twentieth-century Italian-style villa and Lake Michigan. Sited on the central axis of the grounds, between an obelisk and a waterfall staircase, the primary view of the sculpture will be from the terrace and the windows of the museum. Visitors may experience the work from the lower grounds. The installation will remain on the Villa Terrace grounds throughout the summer, changing with the season, and engaging and contrasting with the symmetrical beds of trees and flowers.


Suspended in Time

This exhibition, in the Villa Terrace galleries, surveys Staab’s previous work documented in photographs and video. Providing context to his current installation, these images depict his environmental installations in varied materials, changing seasons, urban and rural settings, in water and on land, and in locations throughout the world.


Beyond Baskets
Guest curated by Staab from the collection of Jan Serr and John Shannon, Beyond Baskets focuses on the transformative nature of contemporary basket making. Emphasizing line, structure, and materials, the exhibition showcases artists who adapt the vernacular of basketry as a vehicle for personal expression. According to Staab, “The parameters I used to select these pieces were that they needed to be unique, express geometry and simplicity, and touch some of the sensibilities I search for in my own work.” They are displayed in a circular formation that echoes the structure of many of Staab’s environmental installations. The exhibition includes works by Joe Hogan, Ueno Masao, Francina and Neil Prince, Deborah Smith, Polly Adams Sutton, Leslie Wilcox, Hiroi Yasushi, and Jiro Yonezawa.



Nature In Three Parts is sponsored by Plumb Press, with additional support from The Friends of Villa Terrace and Milwaukee County Parks.





Wisconsin Art Organizations

February 25 - May 8, 2016

The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum celebrates Wisconsin Arts Organizations with an exhibition of selected artwork from the Cedarburg Artist Guild, the League of Milwaukee Artists and Wisconsin Visual Artists. For the past 25+ years, these organizations have helped Milwaukee’s art scene grow into what it is today, an essential and thriving alliance. These dedicated artists, finding inspiration in each other, banded together to create a stronger whole, for as they say, you are the company you keep.


Opening Reception

Thursday, February 25, 2016, 6:00 – 8:00PM / Member Preview 5:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m. Gallery Talk

Wisconsin is home to several artists’ guilds, dedicated to promoting the arts in general and the work of their members in particular.  Making a Scene, at the Villa Terrace Art Museum from February 25, 2016 to May 8, 2016, draws from the work of artists belonging to three longstanding Wisconsin artist organizations: the League of Milwaukee Artists, Wisconsin Visual Artists, and the Cedarburg Artists Guild.

The League of Milwaukee Artists (LMA), with more than 100 local members, has as its mission “the promotion of visual creation, personal artistic growth, and the expansion of the Arts in our state, region and community.” Founded in 1944, over the decades LMA has found innovative ways to exhibit the work of their members, using halls in the downtown library, the Electric Company, and the Public Museum, for instance, and pioneering the notion of outdoor art fairs. Recently, LMA changed its constitution to allow students artists to join. League membership is limited and jury review for the few membership openings each year is very competitive.

Founded in 1900, Wisconsin Visual Artists (WVA) is the oldest juried member art organization in Wisconsin. Formed by a group of painters and sculptors who met in Louis Mayer‘s Milwaukee studio, the group worked to secure public exhibition space, such as the Milwaukee Public Library and the old Exposition Building. Today the organization has nearly 500 members statewide, including artists, students, galleries and other supporters of the arts.  Members receive a subscription to Wisconsin Visual Artists Magazine, among other benefits; artist members have the chance to enter juried WVA chapter and statewide exhibitions.

Cedarburg Artists Guild (CAG), founded more than 25 years ago, is “dedicated to promoting and preserving the arts in Southeastern Wisconsin through education, scholarships, events and programs.” The guild reflects the character of Cedarburg, which for more than 50 years has drawn artists of all stripes:  painters and poets, potters and jewelers, photographers, woodworkers, musicians, sculptors and more. Wanting to bring attention to Cedarburg’s thriving arts community, in 1983 a group of artists founded CAG. Today the organization has more than 200 members from the visual, literary and performing arts.






New Hanji: 
A Korean Paper Tradition Re-Imagined

October 9 - January 31, 2016

Celebrating a remarkable tradition of Korean papermaking and exquisite paper arts, this exhibition brings together three artists from Korea and five contemporary Milwaukee artists for a visual conversation which honors and innovates with Korean handmade paper, hanji, a material known to survive for over one thousand years.

Korean works in the exhibition include funerary garments designed by Yang Bae Jeon, intricately carved hanji sewing boxes and objects by master artisan, Haemija Kim, and prints of Buddhist sculptures and architectural elements created in the takbontechnique of ink-impression making by Kumgang Seunim.  Paper from several of South Korea’s remaining hanji mills will also be on display throughout the exhibition.

Recently created installations, textiles, sculpture, and prints with hanji as the primary medium comprise the work of Milwaukee based artists, Marna Brauner, Christiane Grauert, Jessica Meuninck-Ganger, Nirmal Raja, and Rina Yoon for this exhibition.  Each featured artist draws upon traditional techniques learned in Korea to inform their work for the Villa Terrace.

Opening Reception

Friday, October 9, 2015, 6:00 – 8:00PM / Member Preview 5:30 p.m.
Free Admission sponsored by Chris and Christopher Adams

Korean artists Haemija Kim and Kumgang Seunim will be present for the opening reception.

Takbon Print Workshop

Saturday, October 10, Charles Allis Museum

Session I: 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Session II: 2:30 – 4:00pm

Workshop fee: $20 (includes supplies)

Buddhist Abbot and takbon artist, Kumgang Seunim, will offer two workshop sessions to learn the unique Korean ink printing technique, takbon.  Participants will make impressions of relief tiles and sculptures on hanji.

Paper Pattern Carving (Jeonji) Workshop

Sunday, October 11, Charles Allis Museum

Session I: 12:00–1:30

Session II:  1:30–3:00

Workshop fee: $20 (includes supplies)

Master hanji artisan, Haemija Kim, from Jeonju, South Korea, will offer two workshop sessions to learn the intricate paper carving technique of jeonji.



March 6 - June 7, 2015

Opening Reception Friday, March 6

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Member Only Preview Begins at 5:30 p.m.

Featuring a Panel Discussion on
Adaptive Reuse at 7:00 p.m.

Built in the 1880s, the home designed for Elizabeth Plankinton on Milwaukee's Grand Avenue followed the leading trends of that decade, appointed with ornament from America's leading suppliers of interior decoration. This was a decade when Aesthetic principles, encapsulated in the mantra “art for art’s sake,” reached their height in this country, having sailed across the Atlantic with Oscar Wilde, spread nationwide with his lecture tour that stressed the value of artful decoration.

The focus of this decorative impulse was the home. Artists and designers, local and national, turned their attention to the seemingly prosaic: glass windows, ceramic tile, wallpapers, and even firebacks. The moral and physical loci of the aesthetic home was the Hearth, and it is at the center of this display of architectural salvage, an exhibition organized in partnership with the Milwaukee Housing Authority, which owns the collection.

The exhibition presents this collection of woodwork, metalwork, ceramics and glass that broadly outlines Aesthetic era principles and designs. The objects come from local firms like Matthews Bros. and also internationally-known companies like J & J.G. Low Art Tile of Massachusetts, Belcher Mosaic Glass of New Jersey, and Hollins & Minton of Stoke-on-Trent, England.

Tracing objects from their creation, to their private installation and subsequently to their deinstallation and public salvage, Villa Terrace, itself a repurposed lakeside mansion, explores the possibilities of repurposing old things for new ways of living.

Opening reception and panel discussion sponsored by the
Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee





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