Harvestores on the Horizon

Harvestores on Horizon, Long Lake Road near Brillion, Wisconsin (1.31.2014) © J. Shimon & J. Lindemann

Harvestores on Horizon, Long Lake Road near Brillion, Wisconsin (1.31.2014), Cyanotype Print,
© J. Shimon & J. Lindemann

Driving across Wisconsin, Harvestore® silos dot the Wisconsin horizon. The iconic blue silos were the ultimate vertical vessel for fermented silage (animal feed) used on dairy farms. Made in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by A.O. Smith, the silos became a symbol of progressive farm practices. From 1949 until 1984, 75,000 Harvestores sprung up across North America until sales bottomed-out. Small farms struggled, the silo unloaders malfunctioned then feed storage went horizontal (ag-bags and covered piles) as preferred by 21st century industrial farms. The Harvestore went from state-of-the-art to relic.

In collaboration with Worm Farm Institute, we designed a bandshell to be made of salvaged Harvestore® parts for Fermentation Fest October 2014. An Indie Go Go campaign raised $6,500 to purchase parts, hardware, lumber, and supplies. The bandshell stage hosted a number of scheduled and impromptu performances including J. Shimon and colleagues (see below).

We Go From Where We Know with John Shimon (guitar), Brian Pertl (Tibetan horn), Leila Ramagopal Pertl (Harp), John Gates (Metal) performance in Harvestore Bandshell, Fermentation Fest, Lime Ridge, Wisconsin, October 12, 2014. Photo by Paul Gaudynski

We Go From Where We Know with (L to R) John Shimon (guitar), Brian Pertl (Tibetan horn), Leila Ramagopal Pertl (harp), John Gates (metal) performance in Harvestore Bandshell, Fermentation Fest, Lime Ridge, Wisconsin, October 12, 2014. Photo by Paul Gaudynski

View the We Go From Where We Know improvisational performance on YouTube

Read Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Review 10.17.2014 by Mary Louise Schumacher

Hear Wisconsin Public Radio 7.31.2014 segment by Patty Murray

View The Wisconsin Project Blog

View Indie Go Go Havestore Bandshell Campaign Archived Post

Read about Fermentation Fest

We Go From Where We Know

“J. Shimon & J. Lindemann: We Go From Where We Know” "Nash Corn Crib" and “Concrete Tear Drops” surrounded by portraits and postcards at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. October 13, 2013 – February 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

“J. Shimon & J. Lindemann: We Go From Where We Know” “Nash Corn Crib” and “Concrete Tear Drops” surrounded by portraits and postcards at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. October 13, 2013 – March 2, 2014. Photo courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

J. Shimon & J. Lindemann: We Go From Where We Know  "Nash Corn Crib" and "Concrete Tear Drops" surrounded by portraits and postcards at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin October 13, 2013 - February 23, 2014. Photo courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

J. Shimon & J. Lindemann: We Go From Where We Know” “Nash Corn Crib” and “Concrete Tear Drops” surrounded by portraits and postcards at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin. October 13, 2013 – March 2, 2014. Photo courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center.

A collaboration with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Connecting Communities program, We Go From Where We Know was the culmination of our research-driven The Wisconsin Project. The installation centered around a Wisconsin-built 1949 Nash Ambassador sedan automobile filled with individually hand-cast concrete corncobs and life-size full-length studio portrait photographs of Wisconsin Natives & Tourists. “Nash Corn Crib” is based on Shimon’s childhood memory of a derelict Nash repurposed as a corn crib by a neighboring farmer. Glass and rusty nail encrusted concrete tear drops, a participatory installation of “found” vintage postcards, trophy cases of “made” cyanotype and palladium real photo postcards, a reliquary of Wisconsin tourist souvenirs, and 101 framed watercolor paintings depicting a Rural Utopia combined to express the Wisconsin we have come to know through the works of self-taught artists whose primary medium was concrete and agrarian wisdom(s). Seeing our home state characterized as a Gothic netherworld in Michael Lesy’s seminal book Wisconsin Death Trip, as a picturesque vactionland on picture postcards, and populated by hard-working gemutlichkeit cheeseheads galvanized our meditation on Wisconsin as place as we museum-ized the mood and objects we found here.

View Natives & Tourists portrait photographs on Flickr

View Rural Utopia watercolors on Blogspot

View Made and Found postcards on Blogspot

View the We Go From Where We Know improvisational performance on YouTube

View photographs from the opening by Art Elkon and James Rhem

Listen to Caitlin Oleson’s interview with Shimon & Lindemann about art and life

Read more about the 1949 Nash Ambassador on Blogspot

Read Shepherd Express 11.27.2013 review by Erin Hefferman

Read The Nash Times January/February 2014 reportage by Tom Creecy

Read Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 2.16.2014 review by Mary Louise Schumacher

Read Third Coast Daily 2.28.2013 review by Kat Murrell

Read Photograph Magazine March/April 2014 review by Lyle Rexer

Read mnartists.org 5.7.2014 review by Jay Orff

Decay Utopia Decay

Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee, “Decay Utopia Decay” installation view with wigwam photographed by Francis Ford, January 2013

Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee, “Decay Utopia Decay” installation view with Ambrotypes photographed by Francis Ford, January 2013

The fragility of human existence was central to our exhibition, Decay Utopia Decay, at Portrait Society Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Focusing on our lives as collaborative artists and teachers having never been apart in more than 30 years, we increasingly understood our human bondage to the vulnerabilities of the body. Ultra large format, historical process photography directly relates this work to a continuum established by generations of photographers while indulging in a hand-made battle with material defying the contemporary fixation on the virtual. The exhibition ran November 9, 2012 – January 5, 2013, but many works remain available for viewing in the gallery’s archive room by request or appointment 414.870.9930. The Museum of Wisconsin Art and Chazen Art Museum acquired ambrotypes from the exhibition for their permanent collections.

View self-portrait images on Flickr

View vegetable portraits on Flickr

View our rock opera Decay Utopia Decay (part 1, part 2, part 3)

View Too Big video about our 30×36 camera

Read blog post on BlogSpot

View photographs by Art Elkon from the opening on FaceBook

Read Express Milwaukee November 12, 2012 review by Judith Ann Moriarty

Read Express Milwaukee November 13, 2012 review by Peggy Sue

Read Milwaukee Journal Sentinel October 24, 2013 “2013 Wisconsin Triennial”

review by Mary Louise Schumacher

Visiting Tom

Quote

Tom, 2009, 10×8 gelatin silver print

On Sunday, August 16, 2009 we went with writer Mike Perry to Tom’s farm. In the process of making photographs with our 8×10 view camera, Tom told the stories that belong to a lifelong collection of experiences and stuff. Posing for photographs altered the relationship with time. Infinite unrecorded moments contribute to the making of a single statement representing an impossibly complex evolution. Invention, persistence, deterioration, obsolescence, and wisdom accumulate on the surface where they were available to the camera. Our photographs, an extended portrait, are published in Visiting Tom: A Man, a Highway, and the Road to Roughneck Grace by Perry. Reviews and interviews about the book have been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Cap Times, OnMilwaukee.com, VolumeOne.org, and Boswell and Books blog. The book made The New York Times Book Review Best-Seller list in September 2012.

The Wisconsin Project

Silverfield Cheese Factory, Fremont, Wisc., Aug. 15, 2009, 3.5x5x5 palladium print

This summer and next, we’ll be on the road in our 1962 Rambler station wagon making postcard views of places in our native Wisconsin based on our vintage postcard collection and random wanderings. We welcome your suggestions for Wisconsin sites to photograph! We will post these views as we go at wisconsinproject.blogspot.com