Quick-fire slide presentations by artists and curators who assisted with THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED exhibitions on view in the fall of 2017 (featuring Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Loy Bowlin, Emery Blagdon, Dr. Charles Smith, Jesse Howard, and Stella Waitzkin) highlighted new discoveries, asked big questions, and provided insights on the collaborative curatorial model.
Karen Patterson is senior curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC) in Sheboygan, WI. Her primary focus is the Arts Center’s premier collection of folk art, self-taught art, and artist environments. She incorporates these works into curatorial projects that explore a variety of contemporary themes. She also works with a range of artists, artworks, and commissioned site-specific pieces. In addition to curating the 2017 exhibitions series The Road Less Traveled, her recent curatorial projects include Ebony G. Patterson: Dead Treez, Ray Yoshida’s Museum of Extraordinary Values, and This Must Be The Place, an exhibition series exploring the relationship between artists and their formative places. Patterson completed her BA in folklore studies at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada, and her Masters of Art Administration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where her focus was the home collection of Chicago artist Ray Yoshida. Prior to joining JMKAC, she developed interpretive programs for house museums and heritage sites in Canada and the U.S. and cofounded a 12-hour public art festival, Nocturne: Art at Night, in Nova Scotia.
Michelle Grabner is an artist, independent curator, and writer based in Milwaukee, WI. Internationally renowned for her work in drawing, painting, video, and sculpture, she is currently chair of the painting and drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as a senior critic at Yale University in the department of painting and printmaking. Grabner has long taught the work of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein.
Brett Littman is executive director at The Drawing Center. He has lectured and written numerous catalogue essays and articles on art and design. In 2011, he curated and wrote the exhibition catalogue Eugene Von Bruenchenhein: Freelance Artist—Poet and Sculptor—Inovator—Arrow maker and Plant man—Bone artifacts constructor—Photographer and Architect—Philosopher at the American Folk Art Museum.
Shannon Stratton is the William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, NYC. With specific interest in fiber/material studies, regionalism, art activism, and ideas surrounding amateurism and craft, Stratton responded to the materiality and atmosphere of Emery Blagdon’s “The Healing Machine.”
Heather Hart is an interdisciplinary artist who fuses fabricated and historical belief systems to produce works of art that invite people to participate and engage by bringing their own frames of reference and ideas. Hart was an artist-in-residence at LMCC Workspace, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, Santa Fe Art Institute, and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts among others. She has received grants from Joan Mitchell Foundation, Harpo Foundation, Harvestworks, Jerome Foundation, the Awesome Foundation, and New York Foundation for the Arts. Hart studied at Cornish College of the Arts and Princeton University, and received her MFA from Rutgers University.
Hart’s immersive installations activate landscapes and endeavor to connect with African American history and identity. Often referencing home, her architectural forms mix with family and oral histories, multiple narratives, and challenge audiences to move from passive to active participation. Hart visited Dr. Smith’s site in 2016 and immediately found kinship with his activist spirit. Her site-specific installation encouraged viewers to actively engage with heritage and identity and to seek ways of communicating with each other.
Raechell Smith is founding director and chief curator of the Kansas City Art Institute’s H&R Block Artspace. Smith has organized exhibitions featuring works by Jesse Howard drawn from a collection acquired directly from the artist by the Kansas City Art Institute in the 1970s, including Signs of the Times (Jesse Howard, Jenny Holzer, and Jack Pierson) and Now Read On: Jesse Howard & Roger Brown. Smith has also collaborated with and supported other maverick curators to consider Howard’s work right alongside the work of other contemporary artists whose interests include writing, text, politics, current events, community engagement, and public space.
Rita Barros has lived in New York City at the Hotel Chelsea since 1980. For three decades Barros has documented her neighbors, home, and the creative environment of the hotel, encapsulating the diverse and bohemian life that has evolved there through her book 15 Years: Chelsea Hotel. Her work has appeared in such publications as Newsweek, NY Times, Vogue, ELLE, and NY Magazine and has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in New York, Brazil, Cuba, Portugal, London, and Paris.
Scott Reeder is an American artist currently based in Chicago, IL, and Detroit, MI. Reeder has exhibited widely since the 1990s. Reeder is currently an associate professor of painting and drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.