Artist-built environments and their makers have fueled the creative endeavors of others for decades. Those who encounter them rarely leave uninspired. This session brought together a panel of artists, scholars, and organizers whose creative practices have been deeply informed by the life and work of artists of built environments. They discussed their work and pointed to ways in which their own practices draw from these artists and engage with ideas of immersion, the vernacular, and the living landscape.
Penny Duff is an arts organizer, educator, quilter, and inchoate homesteader. She received a master’s of media arts from The New School in NYC (2009) and a masters of arts administration and policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2012). Penny works as the education manager at Chicago Artists Coalition. She also hosts a weekly free-form FM radio program, Vernacular Media, on WRHC—Radio Harbor Country. Together with her husband, Michael Slaboch, Duff runs a multidisciplinary arts space called The Storehouse from their home in rural southwest Michigan.
Alex Gartelmann is an artist and educator based out of Sheboygan, WI. He received his BFA from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is half of the artist collaborative Sebura & Gartelmann with Jonas Sebura, and is the Exhibitions Project Coordinator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, where he is currently focusing on restoration of the Mary Nohl House. His work has been shown widely, including at NADA Miami Beach; UICA, Grand Rapids, MI; Antenna Gallery, New Orleans; and the Clough-Hanson Gallery, Memphis, TN; with forthcoming Sebura & Gartelmann exhibitions at Holding House in Detroit and Slow in Chicago this fall.
Katie Shlon is an interdisciplinary artist and musician investigating the complex relationships between people, the land, and architecture. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. A nomad at heart, she has exhibited works and performed internationally at traditional and nontraditional spaces such as Titanik Galleria in Turku, Finland; Good Press Gallery in Glasgow, Scotland; Transistor in Chicago; Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, NC; Otto’s Abode in Wanakena, NY; and on AcreTV. Shlon received the Kone Foundation’s Saari Residency Fellowship in 2015 and a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in 2017.
Brett Hanover is a documentary filmmaker whose work explores outsider art, alternative sexuality, and queer youth culture. His films have been exhibited at venues including the Nashville Film Festival, SF DocFest, and the Chicago Underground Film Festival. Brett received the 2009 Roads Scholarship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and created the online travelogue Art Environments of the Southwest with Eileen Townsend. He continues to research art environments and is a contributor to SPACES. Brett is a graduate student in new media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Michal Lynn Shumate received her BA in art history from the University of Chicago and is currently an MA candidate in visual and critical studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Drawing from a background in dressmaking and theatre production, and work with collections such as the Black Fashion Museum at the Smithsonian and the Fashion Resource Center at SAIC, her writing often investigates contemporary fashion and the spaces in which it happens. Recent research topics include fashion exhibitions and runway shows as well as domestic spaces, and gardens and closets in particular.