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From Wax Cylinders to iPods

MIAD’s ‘User Experience: Products That Shape Our Lives’

Oct. 18, 2016
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Fashion is cyclical. Those frilly, protruding collars that were fashionable in Shakespeare’s day have fallen from favor, but it’s conceivable that before long lacy ruffs will again jut out from the necks of fearless fashionistas. Technology, by comparison, is linear. Inventions are endlessly tweaked, asymptotically approaching perfection and changing our lives in the process.

“User Experience: Products That Shape Our Lives” is a study in the world-changing power of design. Drawing on Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design’s robust collection of product design and with the assistance of Milwaukee Tool, the exhibition presents case studies with some of contemporary life’s most indispensable accessories. Thomas Edison’s wax cylinders were the first commercially available mediums of recorded sound, but wanting fidelity led inventors to continue carving out the future. Viewed from the vantage point of iPods, the technological gap between cylinders and MP3s is even greater than the abyss separating the musical tastes of the eras. Telephones and refrigerators are among the other objects whose evolution is on display in “User Experience: Products That Shape Our Lives,” which opens in the Brooks Stevens Gallery of Industrial Design (273 E. Erie St.) in conjunction with Gallery Night and Day, Friday, Oct. 21, from 5-9 p.m.

“Revolution! CultureJam MKE #5”

RedLine Milwaukee

1422 N. Fourth St.

Forget televised—the revolution will be exhibited in the fifth installment of the CultureJam MKE series. More than 30 regional artists display works that challenge the status quo. For instance, in Good to the Last Drop! Water, Oil and Blood, Valaria Tatera leverages her experience as a descendent of the Ojibwa Bad River tribe to reflect on the selling of water rights in Wisconsin and the destruction of sacred sites. Marc Tasman’s Transforming Cynicism into Revolution is a mash-up of lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s 1988 album I’m Your Man and charcoal drawings of contemporary political figures. The exhibition runs from Oct. 21 through Dec. 17 with a reception on opening night from 6-10 p.m.

“Charles Munch – New Paintings”

Tory Folliard Gallery

233 N. Milwaukee St. 

For more than 30 years, Charles Munch has elected to live in the secluded surroundings of Lone Rock, Wis. The natural world is the primary subject of Munch’s work, which is rendered with a dramatic palette and a fondness for bold lines. With a pleasing economy of shape Munch captures the hypnotic repetitions of nature and imbues his canvasses with moods that range from peaceful to foreboding through smartly orchestrated colors. The exhibition opens on Gallery Night, Friday, Oct. 21, and features a reception and artist’s talk on Gallery Day, Saturday, Oct. 22 from 1-3 p.m.

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