Art Farm @ Sheldon

Can art form the basis of a post-agricultural landscape?

  • Type Exhibiton
  • Location Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Status Completed
  • Date 2008
  • Project Partners

    Art Farm Nebraska:
    Ed Dadey, Founding Director
    Janet Williams

    Sheldon Museum of Art:
    Janice Driesbach, Director
    Sharon Kennedy, curator
    Dan Seidel, former curator
    Ed Rumbaugh, Lynn Dosier, Monica Babcock

    Sybelle Muff, Amanda Thatch, Janet Williams, ???

    Graphic Design
    Justin Kemerling


Both art work and design work at Art Farm tackle the multiple histories of objects (buildings), reinterpret them, give them new life, new histories, and new narratives.

This exhibition enacts the complex interrelationship of art, landscape, architecture and history in a rural context. On view at the Sheldon Museum of Art  from January through April, 2008, the show focuses on design proposals for the development of Art Farm, a non-profit art residency program situated on a 40 acre working farm in Marquette, Nebraska. The design project is a collaboration between Min | Day and FACT. The exhibition includes architectural models, renderings, diagrams and drawings as well as installations by artists associated with Art Farm. The exhibition features the Red Shed Video Lounge, an old farm building from Art Farm that has been repurposed by FACT to present video art by former Art Farm residents.

An important aspect of the exhibition is the notion of the art gallery as a place where ideas are developed and shared – it is not simply a place for the presentation of artifacts. In contrast to the finite nature of most art exhibitions (that center around the presentation of the final products of creative effort), the work in this show may be seen as set of provisional gestures that suggest open-ended forms of organization.

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The exhibition demonstrates alternatives to the predominant land uses found in the Great Plains and it asks several questions: Can art form the basis of a post-agricultural landscape? Can contemporary design practice engage the multiple histories of rural settlement? Can art engage history, land, and global culture with the same gesture? This proposal offers an alternative mode of resistance to the erasure of history found in the Plains. Opposed to nostalgic and sentimental attempts to preserve a lost narrative of inhabitation, Art Farm is a framework for new histories to be written on the land.

Exhibition map: the Sheldon Great Hall and print-viewing gallery.

Amanda Thatch and Janet Williams: artists who directly address moving buildings.

Model gallery with wall map of Art Farm.

Sibylle Muff: installation archive of objects salvaged from the Red Shed prior to repurposing the shed as a video gallery.

Red Shed Video Lounge: a repurposed 100-year old farm shed.

As part of an overall strategy for the sustainable development of Art Farm the reuse of existing materials often involves a radical juxtaposition of new and old forms. The Red Shed is representative of this process and the shared attitude towards objects that emerges from diverse practices at Art Farm. The project is straightforward – a repurposed 100-year old farm shed (approximately 10’ x 14’ x 14’ tall) with a “hyper-modern” smooth foam-lined interior. The foam surface wraps most of the interior and is at once floor, wall, seat, bed, lounger and projection surface. A tapered slot in the surface accommodates a video projector and a window. Speakers are located behind the foam along with the projector and all other video equipment (which can be operated by remote controls and accessed from laptops inside via a wifi system). The projected work orients onto a surface suspended from the roof to encourage a more active and engaged viewing postures. The space challenges users to find their own way to inhabit it - one can sit in an area formed for upright sitting or lie on the soft floor…or find any position in between.

The continuous surface of the interior surface resists functional rigidity, it envelops the audience, allowing users to stand, sit, or lay.  

Interior form optimized for digital projector geometry.

Exploded persepctive of refurbished and new shed components.

The Red Shed in Philip Johnson's 1963 Sheldon Museum of Art.


2009 AIA Nebraska Honor Award for Extended Use (Red Shed Video Lounge)

2008 AIA Central States Citation Award (Red Shed Video Lounge)

Project Team

Kevin Agustyn, Adam Cramm, Ryan Cameron, Matt DeBoer, Evan Gunn, Brain Hamilton, Dale Luebbert, Mark Muller, Stephanie Peterson, Tyler Ray, Alex Turner, Schuyler Tutt

Ashley Byars, Drew Seyl, Mo Trumble

Photography By Photography by Larry Gawel
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