On Being Here (and There)

April 19, 2020 — January 10, 2021

In a time of social distancing and isolation, On Being Here (and There) highlights the ways artists, cultural organizations, and communities initiate connections, encourage belonging, and provide social sustenance. The works presented in this series of exhibitions reveal how artistic practices can enhance and activate our communities.

The themes of care, connectivity, and relationship building are at the center of On Being Here (and There). These are expressed through participatory practices that take art from the studio to the public sphere, acts of generosity and exchange, and projects that shed light on timely social issues or give voice and visibility to the marginalized.

The series is anchored by a group exhibition titled Between You and Me, which brings together contemporary artists whose practices are intentional acts of care for their neighbors and broader communities.

Complementing Between You and Me are two exhibitions that engage the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s history of collaboration, collecting, and preservation. Tokens of Appreciation is a story about the unique relationships that develop between Kohler Co. factory associates and artists participating in the Arts/Industry residency program. Good Road to Follow, which draws from the Arts Center’s collection, evokes Adolph Vandertie’s in-house museum of hobo and tramp art and explores the role of grassroots archiving in preserving community culture. Photographs by David Eberhardt, who rode the rails throughout the United States, surround the Vandertie installation and poignantly portray the lives of his fellow travelers.

These exhibitions are supplemented by The Projector Room, a gallery newly dedicated to the showing of film and video artworks that expand on themes found in the galleries. Screenings will include Bill Daniel’s Who Is Bozo Texino?, Ailbhe Ní Bhriain’s Inscriptions of an Immense Theater, and Kevin Schmidt’s EDM House.

The exhibitions, events, and activities that comprise On Being Here (and There) demonstrate that what artists and arts organizations make happen is just as important as the objects they create and exhibit.

Taylor Wright Rushing

The tradition of whittling lives on in young artists such as JMKAC artist-in-residence Taylor Wright Rushing. Rushing’s residency adds a contemporary dimension to Good Road to Follow, JMKAC’s exhibition featuring Green Bay artist Adolph Vandertie (1911–2007). Vandertie whittled and carved in the style of the hobos and tramps whose transient lives he admired and romanticized. He also collected works they created. Good Road to Follow can be viewed online while the Arts Center is closed.

Rushing’s residency will include virtual demonstrations of whittling and carving, as well as a video tour of his studio in Georgia. He will also visit JMKAC for his residency once we reopen.

Learn More About His Residency