West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

The Guy With the Chair on His Head

Community, Fun

A couple of years ago, I joined The Milwaukee Art Museum. After gazing at, admiring and falling in love with Calatrava-designed wing, I decided it was important to support this local treasure. Although I probably only go there once or twice a year (shhh, don’t tell my husband), I like to know that I have a stunningly beautiful destination to bring out-of-town guests. It never fails to impress.


Every time I go to the Milwaukee Art Museum, hands down, my favorite exhibit is Tony Oursler's "MMPI (Self-Portrait in Yellow)" from 1996. In fact, anyone who has visited the museum with me has been dragged to see this bizarre and quirky exhibit.


It doesn’t do justice to describe MMPI (lovingly referred to as “The Guy with the Chair on His Head”), but I’ll try. There’s a small doll on its side. There is a folding chair resting on his head. Projected onto the doll’s face is a video of a man talking. The man is reciting answers to a mental health test that was commonly given in the 1950s.


Today, I read in the paper, that MMPI will be put in storage for a while to make room for other exhibits. I’m kind of sad about that. There’s apparently a Facebook group created to express outrage. David Gordon, the museum’s director and CEO, heard about the Facebook group and basically said, it’s great to hear that we feel so passionately about a piece of art. In fact, the shelving of MMPI will make room for another old favorite – Stanley Landsman's Walk-In Infinity Chamber. 

I guess that’s OK. The Chamber looks pretty cool as well and I can appreciate freshening up the exhibits from time to time. That’s what makes a good museum. But don’t expect me to love The Chamber as much as I love MMPI…at least not at first.

Have you been to the Art Museum? Why not? There’s nothing better on a cold day when the kids are off of school and you can’t stand hearing the television for another minute. Or, if you don’t bring the kids (cuz it’s a teeny bit fancy), enjoy the world-class artwork and then treat yourself to lunch at Coast afterwards. The popovers are amazing!

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Page Tools