Exhibition dates: July 28, 2022 – December 4, 2022
Milwaukee, Wisconsin – July XX, 2022 – Charles Allis Art Museum is proud to present, Ghosts of Segregation, a traveling exhibition that explores the lingering presence of segregation, slavery, and institutional racism hidden in everyday American architecture. Washington state-based photographer Richard Allen Frishman demonstrates how our surroundings bear witness to history, reminding us where we have been, where we are now, and crucially asking, “where do we go from here?” From the New Orleans Slave Exchange to the abandoned Negro Nursing School in Houston, the shocking nature of Frishman’s images reveals the insidious evidence of segregation and historic racism. The artist writes, “Jim Crow not only extended across America, but it also became part of everyday life in communities across the country. The built environment is society’s autobiography writ large.”
The Ghosts of Segregation traveling exhibition is organized by Curatorial Exhibitions, Pasadena, California.
A 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, Frishman was raised in Chicago by newspaper-reading parents during the ascendancy of the modern Civil Rights Movement. This mundane background was foundational in his development as a compassionate individual and photojournalist. He was encouraged to be aware of the world beyond their middle-class bubble, to accept a very personal responsibility to address injustice, and be willing to take action when necessary. He was taught that curiosity was more important than knowledge because knowledge was sometimes created from myths, assumptions and opinions rather than objective reality.
Frishman’s photographs explore how the built environment reveals our cultural histories. Since we rarely consider our constructions as evidence of our true priorities, beliefs and behaviors, the testimonies our landscapes offer are more honest than many of the things we intentionally present.
During its stop in Wisconsin, the Museum will utilize the exhibition as an opportunity to ignite conversations about segregation within the context of Milwaukee’s history of systematic racism through educational programming.
“The Charles Allis is a prime cultural institution to host Ghosts of Segregation and I am honored to have inherited this project. Because of the Mansion’s roots in Milwaukee’s East Side neighborhood, near the rich shores of Lake Michigan, it forces the Museum to be self-aware of the community it serves (and the ones it should have been serving),” notes Phoenix Brown, the new Senior Curator at the Museums. “Though conversations of segregation and institutionalized racism are rarely new to us People of Color, this generous exhibition is an ideal starting point for individuals who do not know the first thing about this living part of American history.”
Museum guests are encouraged to make a day trip to visit Ghosts of Segregation at Charles Allis and In the Park with Olmsted at Villa Terrace. Both exhibitions explore how landscape and architecture hold history, influence community infrastructure, and provide a gateway to understanding contemporary concerns of land accessibility and resources.
With her first exhibition opening at CAVT Museums, new Executive Director, Jaymee Harvey-Wilms, reflects, “The Allis is stepping into its own history with this exhibition. As CAVT looks inward on its role in Century City as both homes and a Milwaukee institution, Ghosts of Segregation is our pivot point into investigating our collective history. CAVT has an opportunity to create productive, goal-oriented and empathetic conversation in housing Frishman’s work, and we cannot wait to do this with you.”
Jaymee Harvey-Wilms is a Milwaukee-based artist and cultural producer who brings 10 years of non-profit management experience and holds degrees in painting, sculpture and art history. She has a studio in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point and continues to show artwork nationally and internationally.
Phoenix Brown is a Milwaukee-based artist scholar who has been with the Museums since January 2022. She holds a degree in fine art, and her curatorial voice is influenced by popular culture, her studio research, and institutional critique. As a contemporary art curator, she works to interpret art objects through socio-politcal and critical theory lenses.
On September 8, 2022, Milwaukee will have a chance to engage and listen to artist Richard Frishman as he speaks about his photography practice during a virtual artist talk. The talk will be hosted online via Zoom at 7 pm CST. This event will be free and open to the public. Internet
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General Museum Information
Charles Allis Art Museum, located at 1801 North Prospect Avenue in Milwaukee, enriches Milwaukee’s quality of life by creating opportunities for residents and visitors to experience history, culture, and the arts, in particular by offering vibrant exhibitions and performances in a stately and intimate urban mansion, which permanently houses the art collection of early 20th-century industrialist Charles Allis, and his wife Sarah.
Admission to Charles Allis Art Museum is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and students. Admission is free for children (ages 12 and under) and Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Members. Tickets may be purchased online or in person at the door.
A calendar of exhibition-related programming and museum admission information can be found at www.charlesallis.org.