According to the ancient Romans, Aug. 24 marked the end of “dies caniculares” or the “Dog Days” of summer. There is indeed an almost palpable sense of fall slinking behind the delicious summer shadows.
While most of us were lazing on the beach during the dog days, the Haggerty Museum of Art on the Marquette University campus kept vastly productive. Director Wally Mason had set a goal when he took the job in 2007 to digitalize the permanent collection. And, voila, he/they did it. The permanent collection can now be searched and accessed at museum.marquette.edu. While this may sound like dull office work or just some technical house cleaning, it is indeed monumental. For a museum collection to live and breathe, it must be fully used and viewed and democratically accessed.
Beyond this digital feat, the Haggerty is also about to launch a major exhibition of local work called “Current Tendencies II,” which opens with a reception at 6 p.m. on Aug. 31.
In 2008, “Current Tendencies I” revamped the notion of a juried Wisconsin art survey, which had previously tended to become grab bag shows that swelled out of control. The Haggerty reined in the concept by staging invitational shows that feature only 10 artists and giving each his or her own room or, essentially, a solo show.
The success of the first show had much to do with the fresh mix of artists chosen and this is also the case for the new iteration, which features Reginald Baylor, Mark Brautigam, Julian Correa, Lisa Hecht, Sharon Kerry-Harlan, Luc Leplae, Will Pergl, Nathaniel Stern, Jessica Meuninck-Ganger and Jordan Waraksa.