Milwaukee Art Museum’s newest exhibit features folk art

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — They’re unique and eye-catching pieces of art created by people who wanted to express themselves.

“Since the 1950s this museum has been collecting work by untrained and folk artists,” said “Uncommon Folk” Curator Margaret Andera.

Almost all of the 600 works are a part of the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection now on display in the exhibit “Uncommon Folk.” But six of those pieces were donated to the museum by FOX6.

“It’s a wonderful connection to have a Milwaukee collector, FOX6, donate the work of a Milwaukee artist who actually has international prominence,” said Andera.

FOX6 made the donation in 1986. All six of the wood carvings were created by Milwaukeean Josephus Farmer, whose main goal was to spread of the word of God through his preaching and artwork.

“Once he was fully retired he stayed in Milwaukee and started carving and his carving was really part of his ministry,” said Andera.

Along with religion, Farmer loved history. He created many pieces in honor of president John F. Kennedy.

“He called him the greatest president. He acknowledges Kennedy’s work in civil rights, so he was someone who Farmer admired greatly,” said Andera.

Through his powerful images, Farmer wanted to create thought-provoking art.

“His work all had meaning. He didn’t do these things just to hang it on your wall and look at a pretty picture. There was a message to each one of his works,” said Andera.

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Museum officials say FOX6 donated a total of 6 of Farmer’s pieces of work, but it’s still unknown as to how the station got the art in the first place.

“Uncommon Folk” will be on display at the Milwaukee Art Museum until May 4th.

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