The Art of Industry

The Grohmann Museum sits on the Milwaukee School of Engineering Campus and is unique in its theme about depicting human productivity; then find out how one artist has the entire support of her town behind her work; next see how one artist incorporates all the natural elements - air, heat and gas - into her glass jewelry; and finally check out the Sykes Chapel, home to a massive pipe organ.

AIRED: October 06, 2018 | 0:26:47


>> male announcer: In this

edition of "KPBS Arts," a

musical masterpiece.

>> Haig Mardirosian: It's a real

snapshot of, if you will, the

humanities of technology, of

science, all working together.

>> announcer: The spirit of


>> Laura Leigh Lanchantin: My

art is the connection with land

and the connection with


>> announcer: A work of art.

>> James Kieselburg: We're

absolutely unique in that the

collection all deals with human


It's the art of industry, the

art of labor, the art of human


>> announcer: And an artist

finds her niche.

>> Nicole Seaton: Everything

that I make is under 5 inches,

so you can fit my pieces in the

palm of your hand.

>> announcer: It's all ahead on

this episode of "KPBS Arts."


>> BJ Robinson: Hello, I'm BJ

Robinson and this is "KPBS

Arts," the KPBS show that

focuses on the arts.

Visit the University of Tampa

and you'll discover the Sykes


Inside this new structure,

you'll see something massive, a

grand 21st century pipe organ.

Former Dean of the College of

Arts and Letters Haig

Mardirosian gives us a tour.

>> Haig: University of Tampa has

been here for a long time.

We were established in 1931.

It began with an iconic

building, the old Tampa Bay

Hotel that was built by Henry

Plant back in the 1890s as a

tourist destination at the end

of the rail line.

University acquired that

building in 1931 and it became

the home of everything at the


Students lived there, the

library was there, eating

facilities, dining facilities.

[organ music]

>> Haig: When the plans for the

chapel were announced, the then

organ professor in the music

department here went right to

the president's office and he

said, "You know, you can't build

a chapel, no matter what the

definition of chapel might be,

you can't build such a structure

without putting a pipe organ

into it."

And so, plans were launched for

this great instrument that's

here now.

Working together, we had the

ability to create the perfect

environment for this organ.

All of the elements came

together beautifully.

The architects, the

architectural firm was working

together with the acoustical

consultants who worked together

with the organ builder.

There are fewer than 50 pipe

organs built per year in the

United States, so it is really a

very specialized art and they're

built in a handful of shops.

There were 14 designs for this

instruments before this was

selected to go into the room.

Organs are places of beauty for

music of great beauty, and I

think that's sort of the key to

it, that we work in this sort of

elevated aesthetic place, if you


Even looking at this key desk,

you can see that the woods in it

are precious woods.

This is burled elm.

The craft of such things as the

stop knobs is just turned to a

very high level of refinement

and polish.

The keys are made of bone.

And everything works, then, as a

kind of perfect machine, if you


One builds up sound in choruses.

What's happened there?

They physics of this is really

very easy to understand.

My fingers depress these keys.

That action is transmitted

through levers to a series of

carbon fiber filaments and

they're transmitted through

another set of levers upward to


And on top of these boxes sit a

whole collection of whistles.

So, an organ pipe is nothing

more than a whistle, the same as

any child's toy whistle would


And they are very sophisticated

whistles, but they're placed on

these boxes called windchests.

And when you depress the key,

that opens a pallet on the

bottom of the box and it admits

wind to the channel on which all

of these notes sit.

So, the second part of that--and

that happens in this access

going back and forth, but the

second part of it, left and

right, is that there are rows of

pipes all put on that same

windchest which are different

tone colors and different


So, this stop, and this stop,

and this, and this all sit on

these windchests together.

And how you arrange this, how

you pull the stops and how you

play the keys, gives us our

ability to both change color and

play pitches.

Five hundred years ago, I would

have been accompanied by two

assistants standing on either

side of this console pushing and

pulling these for me, and they

would've been big, long, wooden

draw stops that would've come

way out.

I probably would've also had

five or six choir boys or

children in the back of the

organ pumping like crazy to

create the wind in the bellows.

This is, of course, electrically


But these pistons allow us then

to program the sounds that we

want and put them in order, put

them anywhere we want.

And in this particular case, and

here's the 21st century

technology, there's a computer

that runs this whole system, and

every one of these single

pistons can be programmed 256

memories deep.

It's a real snapshot of, if you

will, the humanities of

technology, of science, all

working together.

Reflected in this one instrument

are skills of metallurgy, of

acoustics, skills of

woodworking, design, and

linguistic skills.

Organs are built all over the

world, and one of the things

that really speaks to the nature

of that instrument, where it

comes from, is how it resembles

the language in those particular


So, all of that complexity spoke

to so many sides of my own

imagination and my own


I think if I had been just a

musician and wanted to go deeply

into music and only music, I

think I would have wound up

either being a pianist or a

symphony conductor.

But because I was interested in

science first, and architecture

second, and music third, it was

very, very logical for me to

find this instrument and to be

able to still keep my hand in

all of that kind of thinking.

>> BJ: For more information,


And now, here's a look at some

of the arts events coming up in

San Diego.

>> BJ: With every brush stroke,

Laura Leigh Lanchantin bonds

with the earth.

She paints landscape portraits

that capture the countryside of

Tannersville, New York.

Let's find out why the town's

residents are supporting Laura's

unique vision.


>> Laura: What I focus on is

plein air, which is the French

word for "in the open air," and

it is a art term for painting

outside from life.

I like to do everything locally

sourced, so the painting I'm

gonna do today is of a

landscape, using the actual


The waterfall spots are really

the best for this kind of work,

so here I have a little piece of

iron oxide shale that I just

found in the stream bed.

I'm gonna crush it

using a mortar and pestle.

Now we have more of a powdery


Next step is to sift it

using a little kitchen sifter.

And now we have some powdered


So, I use the shale rock and

then I also use soil.

So, there's the stone pigments

and then there's also earth

pigments, and it's really that

red color that I'm looking for

that I can find locally here in

the Catskills.

The whole purpose of my art is

the connection with land and the

connection with landscape, and

using the pigments is just a way

of furthering that connection

and that collaboration with the

earth, and nature, and really,

like, the raw source of our

existence here as humans.

And you know, I'm really focused

on the energy of a place and the

pigments is just a way of kind

of capturing that energy in a

tangible form.


>> Laura: It's really

interesting to come in as a

total outsider and not know


You know, it's a very small


Tannersville is a very small

town, and you know, people have

gotten to know me by seeing me

on the side of the road

painting, and I couldn't have

asked for a better supportive

outcome for that.

My work is up in most of the

shops here on Main Street,


I've sold a lot of landscapes to

the local hotels, which is a

very big marketplace.

And a big push for that has been

the barn board frames that a lot

of my paintings are in.

My dad makes the frames.

His name is Bill Lanchantin.

And these barn board frames come

from the old barns on my

family's farmland.

So, these barns are, like,

1800s, you know, very old wood,

has a lot of energy locked into


They just kind of make the art

seem whole and complete.

I've really gained a lot of

support which I'm very

grateful for.

There's just something very

special about the Catskills, the

art history that's here, the

music history that's here.

It's a really profound place.

>> Laura: Here we are.

This is my favorite spot to

paint in the Catskills.

We're still in Platte Clove.

And the reason I like this spot

so much is because of the

stream, and the way the stream

is moving, and the correlation

with the stream and the


And I'm really into the water

scenes because the whole idea of

the stream and the water as a


So, you know, the mystery of

where the water's going.

And I really love this dark spot

right here and how that just,

like, creates this mystery of,

you know, disappearing into


I really think that my paintings

are supposed to be metaphorical.

I'm really into the whole idea

of metaphor.

It's kind of like a modern take

on Hudson River School painting,

but it's more dark, and

mysterious, and kind of goes

along with the times that we

live in in society and growing

up being my age.

And kind of building off of

that, that's kind of why I like

to paint with the earth and

bring it back to that whole

primitive essence, especially

nowadays when everyone in my

generation is so affected by the


I feel like it's hard to know

what's real and what's not, and

this is something

that's just very real.

>> BJ: To see more of Laura's

work, visit

And now, let's take a look at

some of the arts events

happening near you.

>> BJ: On the Milwaukee School

of Engineering campus, there's

the Grohmann Museum.

It's entire theme is inspired by

the idea of man at work.

Let's take a look at an

exhibition where artists

collaborated to depict human



>> James: We like to say that

science without art is nothing.

Not so much to provide culture,

but just to provide a broader

view of art.

The Grohmann Museum, it was a

product of a gift to the

Milwaukee School of Engineering

of an art collection by Dr.

Eckhart Grohmann.

The collection all dealt with

the art of industry.

Dr. Grohmann was an aluminum


He ran a foundry on the south

side of Milwaukee.

That's why he had kind of an

affinity to collecting art and

depictions of labor, depictions

of industry.

That's where the collection


We're absolutely unique in that

the collection all deals with

human industry.

It's the art of industry, the

art of labor, the art of human


The way the collection's

organized in the museum is it's

broken out thematically.

On the first floor, we have iron

and steel production, and all

things related to the heavy


On the second floor, we have

construction and agriculture, so

the more rural motifs and those

sorts of themes.

And on the third floor, it's

craftsmen and intellectual

trades, so that's a little more

of a catch-all and includes some

of the oldest pieces in the


There's a number of

site-specific artworks including

in the building design.

They include the mosaic floor on

which you enter.

You look directly up and you see

our ceiling mural.

The rooftop sculpture garden,

it's a green roof that includes

18 sculptures that were all


They're site-specific pieces

based on pieces in the permanent


So, they're reproduced in life

size and larger than life size

for our rooftop garden.

Dr. Grohmann's intention in

giving the collection to the

School of Engineering was he

thought that students of

engineering and these very

technical students should be

confronted with art on a daily


We host a number of feature

exhibitions every year.

The current exhibition, "Artists

at Work," is a wonderful

collaboration that we put

together with the Cedarburg

Artists Guild.

A great opportunity to

showcase local talent.

This exhibition came about as a

result of a conversation I had

with Susan Steinhafel.

Susan is the director of the

Cedarburg Artists Guild.

So, we discussed our theme.

That is, the theme of industry,

the theme of work, and kinda

presented it as a challenge to

the guild to create new pieces

surrounding this theme of

industry, this theme of human

productivity, and they readily

accepted that challenge.

There are 42 works by 14

featured artists.

The collection is laid out by

artists actually.

We have them arranged on the

wall with their pieces as

companion pieces to one another.

But we also laid it out

thematically, so we looked for

natural connections between the

artists' work.

We have paintings, of course.

We have works on paper,

including prints and


And a wide variety interpreting

the theme of industry.

Some of the artists go at it

straight and just document

industry in a snapshot, in more

of a straightforward approach.

Others go at it a little

differently, think about the

philosophy, the psychology

behind work, what work means to

us, what work means to culture.

A little bit about Paul

Yank's work.

Paul is--he's very revered by

the Cedarburg Artists Guild.

They all very much look up to

him because he is a master


And so, a lot of the printmakers

that are included in the

exhibition have taken their

learning and their tutelage from


>> Paul Yank: Then you've got it

on here.

>> Paul: We work with

transparent inks.

We leave the textures that are

behind come through.

We don't wanna lose all the

things in it.

It's monoprint/pochoir.

That means stencil.

And that way, we can lay color

over color.

And with the transparencies, you

can get some really beautiful

tones that you couldn't get


>> James: Paul deals in Native

American and Pan-Indian kind of

motifs, very much a cultural

perspective on his work.

>> Paul: It's a southwest

pottery maker and a Mexican

basket weaver, and a metalsmith,

silversmith, and the other one

is all the workers, the real

workers, which is the women.

It's Indian, all Indian pieces,

all tied together as Indian


And I fell in love with cultural

anthropology, why man does

things, you know?

What the Native American was

doing as a manufacturer, you

know, I mean, they were doing

these things themselves and--

a way of living, a way of


>> James: Michael Santini styles

himself a modern medievalist,

and also paints in a more of a

surrealist vein, and Michael's

work is very, very detailed,

very nuanced, a lot of

iconography, a lot of symbolism.

>> Michael Santini: I love

repetition and I love symmetry,

so there's a lot of reoccurring

things that happen in one

painting that'll transfer and

move over into another painting,

because I want my pieces to be

somewhat cerebral, I want 'em to

make a statement, to challenge

people to think, and maybe even

to make decisions.

I would pick the different

symbols that I wanted to

represent the different elements

in that painting and then try

and bring all the elements out

to the people that are looking

at the piece so they could kind

of interact.

And then when--I would design

the border, I would lay out the

border, then I would take these

individual drawings of these

elements and I would start

manipulating them around the

paper to try and get the

strongest design.

As time moves on and the paint

gets a little more transparent,

then the undertones come through

and give it a lot more form.

>> James: The iconography, the

subject matter, often quite

wild, and it's inspired by his

own spirituality.

And so, we see a lot of biblical

motifs and messages in his work,

as well as a great deal of


>> Michael: Through working in

the industry, and working

alongside somebody else, and

getting to know them, getting to

respect them, I thought, "This

would be kinda apropos what's

going on today."

>> James: We included a number

of Milwaukee artists in the


The suite by Shelby Keefe of the

Marquette Interchange, of the

new Milwaukee Bucks stadium

project, or arena project.

A couple great paintings by Hal

Koenig of local industry, the

Swing Bridge down in Third Ward,

some of the other icons that we

think of when we think of local


And they just added a new

dimension and another dimension,

a new element to the exhibition

and complemented quite well that

art that the Cedarburg group had


This particular collection of

"Artists at Work," I think,

shows a great variety and a

great diversity in interpreting

that theme of the art of

industry, but it also showcases

some great local talent.

>> BJ: Learn more about the

Grohmann Museum's collection at


>> BJ: Air, heat, and gas, all

natural elements that Nicole

Seaton needs to create her

colorful glass jewelry.

Based in Reno, Nevada, Seaton

breaks down how she

got her start

in the world of glassblowing.

>> Nicole: My name is Nicole

Seaton and I'm a glassblower and

a lampworker.

Everything that I make is under

5 inches, so you can fit my

pieces in the palm of your hand,

mostly jewelry.

And I work mostly with solid

glass rods, so the technical

name for that kind of art is


It's not very well known outside

of the glassblowing/lampworking

world, so I tend to say I'm a

glassblower or a flameworker.

All the movements in what I do

in lampworking and glassblowing

are very soft, very gradual.

There's no, like, really hard,

you know, huffing and puffing

and blowing the house down.

None of that.

It's really soft.

You're blowing air into a tub,

so you're actually blowing air

to form the glass.

And I use a mixture of oxygen

and propane to melt the glass.

The flame comes from the oxygen

and the propane mixing.

It's a dual mix torch, so these

two gases mix, and I light them,

and that creates a strong enough

flame to melt the glass.

I don't go by an exact

temperature to get the glass to


I go by color, and that color is

somewhere between sherbet and

hot pink, and that's what

I'm--that's right when the glass

is molten and when I can take it

out of the flame and form it,

change it, stretch it, just for

a few seconds before putting it

back in the flame.

I use glass tubes, I use glass

rods, clear glass, and glass

that comes in every different

color of the rainbow and more.

The glass has different metal

components or composition in it.

Some of the glass is called

striking glass, and that means

it'll change colors when you mix

it with fire.

Even I don't know what's gonna

happen a lot of times.

There's a great amount of

alchemy that is involved with

glass blowing.

For example, I use a lot of

sterling silver.

I flick off little flakes of

sterling silver from a coin, and

silver on the outside of glass

turns gold.

What got me into lampworking and

glassblowing is I wanted to

create the centerpieces for my

designs, and that's turned into,

over time, designing pieces,

centerpieces for other artists

to integrate into their designs,

and that's mostly what I do now.

I'm really happy with what I'm


I don't wanna switch mediums too


Art, to me, is adherence to a

form, and that means doing the

same thing over and over and

over again till one day you say,

"I think that's what I was

after," and that's

an exciting day.

>> BJ: You can follow Seaton's

glassblowing at

And that wraps it up for this

edition of "KPBS Arts."

For more arts and culture, visit, where you'll find

featured videos, blogs, and

information on upcoming arts


Until next time, I'm BJ


Thanks for watching.











CC by Aberdeen Captioning 1-800-688-6621

>> announcer: Support for this

program comes from the KPBS

Explore Local Content fund,

supporting new ideas and

programs for San Diego.



  • ios
  • apple_tv
  • android
  • roku
  • firetv