John Magnoski Photography
Architecture + Commercial Photography
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Project Spotlight: Lawrence Weiner Exhibit

Artist Lawrence Weiner as he inspects his art installation at the Milwaukee Art Museum on opening night.  |  January 19th, 2017

Artist Lawrence Weiner as he inspects his art installation at the Milwaukee Art Museum on opening night.  |  January 19th, 2017


At the end of January I had the honor of photographing once again for the good people over at the Milwaukee Art Museum.  This time their need was to create a series of images that capture a one-of-a-kind installation called Inherent Innate Tension by conceptual artist, Lawrence Weiner.  

The end result will be a collection of the images designed into a custom book highlighting this historic installation.  What makes this installation historic?

  1. This installation marks the first time in the museum’s history that artwork had been installed on the walls of the areas designed by architect, Santiago Calatrava.  
  2. And this is the first time the museum has had the pleasure of working with and sharing Lawrence’s conceptual artwork.

So when asked by my contacts at the museum if I was interested in documenting both the art opening event and the installation I was more than happy to take on the project and work with them to achieve their goals.

Now I must say that this two-day shoot was a bit out of the norm for how I normally document my projects - mainly that I rarely used my tripod on this assignment.

Day one was all about the opening event and using a tripod is simply much too cumbersome.  On day two I began by approaching the shoot as any other architectural project but found that the uniqueness of the installation in combination with the design of the museum required a less formal approach.  So part way through the day I went hand-held and would bend, stoop, crouch or ride a scissor-lift to get the images I saw in my head. 

The best part about this shoot was treating it more like a blend of street photography and straight architectural photography.  Which makes sense since Lawrence’s work is conceptual and is meant to be interactive.


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Every successful project is a team effort.  And when you have a great team, like the good folks at the MAM, the end results are always going to be wonderful!  I want to thank my on-site contacts, Julie Tokarz-Stoye and Margaret Andera as well as all of their support staff, the maintenance crew, and security - you guys are awesome!  Working with you make my job easy.

Getting to photograph this installation was a wonderful way to begin the new year.  I hope you enjoyed the photos as much as I did in creating them.

Please like, share and comment below.

Thank you,