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 punctuate the Wisconsin landscape with their verticality and glimmer. The iconic blue silos were the ultimate vessel for fermented silage (animal feed) used on dairy farms. Made in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by A.O. Smith, the structures 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 unloading mechanisms malfunctioned then feed storage went horizontal (ag-bags and covered piles) to better service the 21st century industrial farms. In less than a half century, the Harvestore went from state-of-the-art to relic.

In collaboration with Worm Farm Institute, we designed a band shell to be made of salvaged Harvestore® parts for  Fermentation Fest October 2014 near Reedsburg, Wisconsin. An Indie Go Go campaign raised $6,500 to purchase parts, hardware, lumber, and supplies. The band shell stage hosted a number of scheduled and impromptu performances including J. Shimon and Lawrence University music conservatory colleagues (see below). Plans are in motion to reinstall it permanently in Reedsburg, Wisconsin in 2015.

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

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