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Past Exhibitions

Many Visions, Many Versions: Art from Indigenous Communities in India

Summer 2020, through August 30

Explore the breadth of India’s cultural life and heritage through contemporary artwork from four indigenous artistic traditions. From central India’s Gond and Warli communities, the Mithila region of Bihar, and the narrative scroll painters of West Bengal, more than forty artworks are rooted in traditional culture, yet infused with issues of global interest.

Deceptive Surfaces

September 7, 2019 – August 16, 2020
Carved and painted with a keen eye for ornithological details that convey the behavior, personality, and coloration of birds, these decorative wood sculptures often fool the eye, appearing real. From John Scheeler’s pale-colored mourning doves to Ernest F. Muehlmatt’s North American Woodcock, these realistic sculptures seem poised for flight.

L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters

March 7 through “Safer-at-Home” closure March 25, 2020

Showcasing the remarkable work of five master printmakers, Jules Chéret, Alphonse Mucha, Eugène Grasset, Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters features more than sixty posters and ephemera dating from 1875 to 1910. These pioneering artists reigned in Paris during this period of artistic proliferation, defining a never-before-seen, and never forgotten, art form. Peppering the walls and kiosks of Parisian neighborhoods, boldly colorful posters were heralded as a new art form, a brilliant fusion of craft and commerce. The sudden popularity of posters fueled a passion for collecting them, called affichomania. Organized by The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, Chicago, and toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington D.C., the exhibition explores the eruption of the poster craze in Paris conveying the exuberance of the spirited era in France known as the Belle Époque.
Make a virtual visit to learn more about French posters and the artists. View eleven brief videos, posted on the Museum’s YouTube channel, via this playlist.

Some Illustrator! Pictures by Melissa Sweet

March 7 through “Safer-at-Home” closure March 25, 2020 

Exuberant, delightful children’s book illustrations by Melissa Sweet, created in her signature watercolor and found-object collage style, comprise this exhibition of her award-winning biographical work. Sweet, based in Portland, Maine, has illustrated more than 100 books as well as created toys, puzzles, and games for eeBoo. Her work has been recognized with multiple awards including two Caldecott Honors for A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams and The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus.

Her recent book, Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White was a New York Times best seller; received an Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, which recognizes books that demonstrate excellence as reviewed and awarded by the National Council of Teachers of English; and received a Boston Globe Horn Book Honor award. The title, Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White, riffs on White’s Charlotte’s Web and “Some Pig,” and also informs the title of the exhibition, Some Illustrator! Pictures by Melissa Sweet, organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas.

Collection Classics

September 7, 2019 – “Safer-at-Home” closure March 25, 2020
Mining the Museum’s holdings yields an array of significant and masterful works. Spanning the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries and encompassing a range of mediums from watercolor to oil and metal to wood, Collection Classics comprises work by John James Audubon, Martin Johnson Heade, Severin Roesen, Edward Kemeys, Paul Manship, Andrew Wyeth, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, Jessie Arms Botke, Willard L. Metcalf, and others along with work by contemporary artists, including Robert Bateman, Tony Angell, Thomas Quinn, James Morgan, Terry Miller, Andrea Rich, James Coe, Walter Matia, and more.

Student Art Exhibition 2020

February 22 – “Safer-at-Home” closure March 25, 2020

Celebrate the creative efforts of north central Wisconsin students in grades 9-12 via the 43rd Student Art Exhibition. Striving to honor the region’s talented art teachers and students via the exhibition, the Museum sends the prospectus to eligible teachers in north central Wisconsin, within a ninety-mile radius of Wausau. Each teacher may enter the work of four students, and the artworks are delivered to the Museum before the installation week. This year, the exhibition comprises the work of eighty-three students from seventeen schools and entered by twenty-two teachers. The works are colorful, meticulous, eye-catching, and creative. Visit soon to experience the exhibition celebrating these students’ creativity.

Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami

December 7, 2019 through March 1, 2020

Highlighting the extraordinary power and potential of contemporary origami, nine international artists transform two-dimensional paper into stunning, sprawling, and soaring three-dimensional sculpture. Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami encompasses artwork created using varied techniques, including dampening, stretching, folding, pleating, and twisting into forms illustrating connections between origami and mathematics. Bridging the realms of art and science, origami concepts impact architectural and computer-aided design and are reflected even in our folded DNA. These origami artworks – from floating, organic forms to conceptual book sculptures emerging from the Torah and the Koran, also explore concepts as varied as infinity, sustainable design, and world peace. Above the Fold, the first traveling exhibition to bring origami installations from around the world to North American audiences, was curated by Meher McArthur, and the tour was organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.


December 7, 2019 through March 1, 2020

FaunaFold features origami creatures by artist and physicist Robert J. Lang, renowned for his complex, life-like figures of insects, birds, and beasts and considered one of the world’s leading origami masters. A pioneer of the cross-disciplinary merging of origami with mathematics, Lang consulted on origami applications to engineering designs ranging from air bags to expandable space telescopes. Two Lang artworks – a koi pond installation and a modular artwork with an infinite crease pattern – appear in Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami. Lang’s work also extends into Alchemy Unfolding, the third origami exhibition on view at the Woodson Art Museum through March 1, 2020.

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