On Being Here (and There)

Between You and Me

August 5, 2020 — February 28, 2021

Between You and Me assembles a group of contemporary artists whose work engages in acts of connection and care. Whether working in their immediate communities or extending themselves to strangers, these artists employ practices that might model ways for fuller participation in the places we call home.

Featuring everyday objects including furniture, toolkits, books, menus, letters, signs, and other articles designed and made by artists, Between You and Me tackles a range of subjects—from hospitality to belonging—that intersect with ideas of making and sustaining community.

The exhibition invites looking beyond the specific work of art to appreciate the less material, though impactful, outcomes of the artists’ processes. Each of these acts of making and connecting, or connecting through making, confirms that artists are environment builders when they cultivate networks, nurture the growth of skills and knowledge, and care for or minister to the needs of others.

This exhibition is curated by Shannon R. Stratton.

Artists in the exhibition: Chloë Bass, Sara Clugage, General Sisters (Dana Bishop-Root and Ginger Brooks Takahashi), Harriet Tubman Center for Expanded Curatorial Practice with Lisa Jarrett and Harrell Fletcher featuring the work of artist Lawrence Oliver, John Preus, Benjamin Todd Wills, and Christine Wong Yap.

"Between You and Me" 360 Tour

Between You and Me is part of the exhibition series On Being Here (and There)

In a time of divisive public discourse and social polarization, On Being Here (and There) highlights the roles cultural organizations and artists perform as citizen, custodian, neighbor, and friend. The works presented in this series of exhibitions reveal ways our communities are enhanced and shaped by a diverse spectrum of artistic practices and engagement. 

With the June 2021 opening of the Art Preserve of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, it felt right to revisit the breadth of the work the Arts Center does in preserving, creating, and showcasing cultural assets. Since the 1970s, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center has cared for artist-built environments in Wisconsin and beyond, acting locally, nationally, and internationally. Through residencies, exhibitions, and outreach, the Arts Center has sought to strengthen connections, open dialogue, and engender collaboration among its various local and international constituencies. 

On Being Here (and There) 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 or broader communities.

Complementing Between You and Me are three exhibitions that engage the Art Center’s own 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 evokes Adolph Vandertie’s in-house museum to hobo and tramp art and explores the role of grass-roots archiving in the maintenance of histories. Visible Repair uses the 1883 John Michael Kohler home as the container for artwork and objects that speak to intimate, domestic, and personal acts of care and repair.

These exhibitions are supplemented by The Projector Room, a gallery newly dedicated to the showing of film and video artworks that expand on themes pertinent to the Arts Center’s mission, collection and programming. Three films—Who Is Bozo Texino?, Inscriptions of an Immense Theater, and EDM House—broadly examine belonging, questioning some of the invisible structures that help create, define, and destroy our sense of self in relation to the world around us.

Resources for this Exhibition

CareIsLikeaForest

Care Is Like a Forest Exhibition Catalogue

Care Is Like a Forest is an artist-produced exhibition catalogue for Between You and Me. The catalogue was coauthored by the Harriet Tubman Middle School Center for Expanded Curatorial Practice (HTC) in Portland, Oregon as part of their contribution to the exhibit. Edited by Lisa Jarrett and Harrell Fletcher. Coauthored by Bea, Elliot, Esperanza, Harrell, Joyce, Lisa, Nora, and Syncier of the Harriet Tubman Middle School for Expanded Curatorial Practice, a KSMoCA satellite project.

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BYaM_booklet-handout

 

Between You and Me Exhibition Zine

Download the zine for Between You and Me, featuring an essay by curator Shannon R. Stratton and a list of artist-recommended readings that amplify the ideas explored in the exhibition.

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Between You and Me curator Shannon Stratton discusses the concepts and themes of the exhibition.

 

Conversations on Care: A Panel Discussion

On May 9, curator Shannon R. Stratton curated a round-robin discussion with the artists featured in JMKAC's upcoming exhibition, Between You and Me. Artists Chloë Bass, Sara Clugage, Harrell Fletcher and Lisa Jarrett, General Sisters (Dana Bishop-Root and Ginger Brooks Takahashi), John Preus, Benjamin Todd Wills, and Christine Wong Yap discussed the practices and processes that inform and shape acts of care in their work.

Download the transcript >

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Care in an Artist's Practice

How does concept of “care” manifest itself in an artist’s practice? Sara Clugage, Benjamin Todd Wills, and Christine Wong Yap—three artists in this exhibition—discuss just that, and give ideas about how to incorporate “care” into your life or artwork.

 

Newsprint_KohlerFrontAndBack

Subject to Change by Chloë Bass is a print piece which reflects on the intimacy between people and cities. The artist has overlaid six squares on the images of the Arts Center. Each square features a color that is predominantly in the image, and the text “subject to change” is overlaid. This piece is a reflection on the constant change cities experience due to the phenomenon of gentrification, as well as the role that arts organizations play in this process. 

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RadicalHospitalityHandout

Sara Clugage's Broken Glass Jell-O

This project explores the accumulation of art, money, and food through two eras of massive wealth inequality: the Gilded Age and today.

Broken Glass Jell-O Recipe >

Dessert Democracy

Follow along as Sara Clugage creates a colorful gelatin dish and discusses wealth inequality throughout the Gilded Age and today.

 

Humanure: A Webinar

Is the sewer system the only end for human waste? Or can it be turned into something useful? This webinar, featuring General Sisters Dana Bishop-Root and Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Nance Klehm of Spontaneous Vegetation, explores the context of, science behind, and vision for a system that turns human waste—humanure—into compost.

Please note: This video contains scatological content and is peppered with four-letter synonyms for “poop.”

Humanure Print download >

 

HumanureprintFINAL

 

 

Humanure Print by General Sisters guides viewers through the process and materials needed to create their own composting toilet. 

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GratitudeLetterProject

Gratitude Letter Project

Writing a thank-you note can lift your mood—and cheer up the person who receives it. Want to be a part of this win-win proposition?  

Write and send a gratitude letter using stationery created by Between You and Me artist Christine Wong Yap. Yap’s work investigates positive psychology, including two-way mood-boosters such as thank-you notes. Join in her Gratitude Letter Project, which will culminate in a Sheboygan mailbag of gratitude. Easy instructions can be found at socialstudio.space.

This exhibition is supported by the Kohler Trust for Arts and Education, the Frederic Cornell Kohler Charitable Trust, Kohler Foundation, Inc., Herzfeld Foundation, and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Public programming related to Between You and Me is supported in part by the Wisconsin Arts Board, Arts Midwest, and the National Endowment for the Arts.