The Stoop Project , 2013. Wood and paint. Approx. 85 x 60 x 59 inches (each stoop). Courtesy of the artists. Photo: Jim Escalante.

Madison, WI


Working collaboratively, Bird Ross and Tom Loeser designed and built The Stoop Project, a three-part seating lounge conceived for MMoCA’s lobby. The project is inspired by the traditional front stoop of a house or urban apartment building. A staple of American residential architecture, the front stoop evolved in the nineteenth century to provide formal access from the street to the home’s main living quarters; this elevated entrance allowed residents and their guests to bypass the service section of the house (and its affiliate domestic employees) located at street level or below. Although initially designed to limit certain social encounters, residential stoops project outward into neighborhood streets, making them ideal spots for fostering incidental moments of social convergence. Loeser and Ross envision a similar function for their project: connecting museum visitors by offering an inviting space for conversation and meaningful exploration.  


Although each has their own practice, wife and husband Bird Ross and Tom Loeser have collaborated on projects that bring their interests together. Ross took her MFA in sculpture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Loeser his MFA in woodworking at the University of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth. Both are makers who turn their eyes to both functional and dysfunctional objects in the decorative arts: Ross, although working in the areas of conceptual art and installation, focuses on textiles; while Loeser addresses woodworking and furniture-making. Loeser has headed the wood/furniture area in the Art Department of the University of Wisconsin–Madison since 1991, where he is currently Professor of Art and Chair of the department. Their work has been shown extensively in this country and abroad.

Behind the Scenes

Tom Loeser and Bird Ross Behind the Scenes