The Wisconsin Project contemplates the rooted-ness and identity resulting from inhabiting a single place, our native Wisconsin, over a long period of time through critiquing postcard views both made and found.
An exhibition about our personal desperation to create a paradise and record its existence at our isolated rural Wisconsin farm. Such perfection can only exist in the haze of the past or future, making it absurd to approach it with the present-ness of photography, even with camera formats as reflectively cumbersome as 30×36 inches or as spontaneous as small-gauge 8mm movies. Our decaying, aging existence provides us with a stage as we face off with the elements, the uncontrollable plant world, broken-down farm implements, groundhogs, wasps, and mosquitoes. A home-movie rock-opera about this low-impact, non-time-specific, utopian lifestyle, negotiating commodity fetishization, dis-ease, and decomposition will be installed in a wigwam made of poplars harvested from our farm, surrounded by large format photographs printed in antiquarian processes.
Deliberately posed postcard format studio portraits encapsulate an ephemeral performance of self. More than 200 people have made the journey to our studio in downtown Manitowoc, Wisconsin, to stand on the black tape line.
From farmers to artists in small towns and cities in our native Wisconsin, we concentrated on individuals inventing their own worlds.
An experimental documentary about time, place, creation, progress, and the lifelong accumulation of knowledge focusing on four Wisconsin men (Bob Watt, Milwaukee poet; Barry Lynn, Ladysmith, modern dancer; Paul Hefti, La Crosse sculptor; Herman Christel, St. Nazianz farmer) who avoided the homogeneity of American consumer culture.
Portraits made in the rural and urban landscape of Wisconsin with story-texts and printed in antiquarian photographic processes.
Portraits of the small town teens in the 1990s who had ample free time to roam the streets of Manitowoc late at night, form bands and make art. At the same time, we photographed people living in rural areas whose highly structured lives required them to be in sync with the patterns of nature and extremes of the four seasons in Wisconsin.
Neo-Post-Now Gallery (1992-1997) – coming soon
Portraits of Wisconsin of individualists and subterranean types in their native habitat from the privacy of bedrooms to the public space of the street in coastal towns. Punk rock and art fashion are reinterpreted and made personal as people stand before our view camera.
The Music Bar was a strip club and our favorite neighborhood hangout located on a dimly lit side street just a couple blocks from our studio in downtown Manitowoc. Ray ran the place since 1954. Our portraits of Ray and his dancers attempt encapsulating a moment in time and space through artifacts and images.
Studio portraits of young Midwestern creative types made a 4×5 and 8×10 view camera and spot-lights in a claustrophobic living room studio in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee and later in our Manitowoc studio.
Photographs in and around Toluca, Illinois before I-39 was completed connecting the town to larger towns with strip malls and chain stores. We found 4-H club members to pose with their animals and small business owners who created their own worlds on Main Street in Toluca. Two giant slag heaps, from the coal mining boom visible from the highway beckoned us. We made these photographs as graduate students on a stipend for contributing to Illinois State University Rural Social Documentary Collection archive established by Rhondal McKinney. The work showed first at the university gallery, then the Marshall County Historical Society then at Toluca’s Annual Labor Day Celebration in the storefront of Gene’s Electric on Main Street in Toluca.
The Elders (1987-1988) – coming soon
St. Nazianz (1985-1987) – coming soon
Embracing punk rock amateurism and 1960s vintage instruments, Hollywood Autopsy evolved incorporating improvisation, poetry, and objects into performances with Bob and Cyndee. We eventually recorded an LP in Danny’s basement using 1/4 inch reel-to-reel tapes. Butch Vig mixed it down at Smart Studios.