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

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

20th Century Optimism

Electrical Shock from Season’s Gleamings, 2004, 10×8 transparency

We did a book once, Season’s Gleamings, and a film, Foot Massage,  about the optimism of the 1960s expressed through aluminum Christmas tree design and electrical devices, some made in our hometown of Manitowoc.  CBS Sunday Morning and The New York Times  covered it. Most Decembers to this day we get calls from writers to talk about the trees from publications like  Der Spiegel in Hamburg or Third Coast Digest Milwaukee. The trip continues.