Artist-built environments come in all manner of forms—from sites with the artist still active in their creation to fragments in deep storage. These sites are deeply integrated into specific landscapes, both social and physical, and as pieces dislodge and transition to new locations, the information they hold disperses. This session brought together a panel of scholars who have worked on research projects centered on artists of built environments. Coming from varied backgrounds, the panelists illustrated the singular methodologies developed and used in their investigations to uncover meaningful information on sites across the United States and beyond.
Iain Jackson is an architect and historian at the Liverpool School of Architecture, UK. His PhD research catalogued Nek Chand’s work at the Rock Garden, Chandigarh, and sought to position it within the broader canon of Indian Modernism. More recently he has been investigating “tropical architecture” in India and Ghana and has written a monograph on the works of Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew. He is currently researching the history of twentieth-century Ghanaian architecture.
Annalise Taylor is the communications and exhibitions coordinator for ART WORKS Projects, an international nonprofit organization that advocates for human rights through design and the arts. She recently received her master’s degree in art history, theory, and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) where she also served as a graduate fellow for SAIC’s new Institute for Curatorial Research & Practice. Her museum and curatorial experience includes the Roger Brown Study Collection, the Brooks Museum of Art, and the Project Room Gallery. Prior to attending SAIC, she was based in Argentina, where she led communications for TasterLab, an international tech start-up.
Jennifer Joy Jameson is a public folklorist and cultural organizer with an interest in documenting the ways culture shapes creativity, especially in rural spaces. She directed the Folk and Traditional Arts program at the Mississippi Arts Commission from 2014 to early 2017 and now works with the Alliance for California Traditional Arts in Los Angeles. She was also the responder for Loy Bowlin’s Beautiful Holy Jewel Home in the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s 2017 exhibition, The Making of a Dream: Loy Bowlin + Jennifer Joy Jameson.
Laura Bickford is the William S. Arnett Curator for the Souls Grown Deep Foundation (SGDF). Previously, she has curated shows for INTUIT and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and worked on the reinstallation and site plan for the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park Project in Wilson, North Carolina. In addition, she has worked at the Roger Brown Study Collection in Chicago and the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Bickford was awarded a fellowship for her thesis work on Vollis Simpson after completing a dual MA in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism and Arts Administration and Policy at SAIC. She received her BA in Art History from the University of North Carolina, graduating with highest honors.
Karen Patterson is senior curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. 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.