An Exhibition Curated by UW-Madison Students
June 6–September 27, 2020 • Reception August 7
MADISON, WI–Thanks to a partnership between Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and students in a UW-Madison art history course, the museum will present Sebura&Gartelmann: Bonded, a collection of video works by Jonas Sebura and Alex Gartelmann that explores dimensions of male intimacy. The works will be shown in the Imprint Gallery.
A reception for Bonded will be held on August 7, in conjunction with the opening reception of Santiago Cucullo: You still make me tremble, which will be on display in MMoCA’s State Street Gallery.
For the second straight year, MMoCA worked with UW students in the Design Thinking for Exhibitions course to create an exhibition. With guidance from MMoCA curators and others on the museum staff, students curated the Sebura&Gartelmann show, produced promotional materials, including social media content and graphic design of a brochure and catalog, and helped develop education programming.
The exhibition features four videos created by Sebura&Gartelmann, who are based in Sheboygan. The artists construct props or environments for these devised performances, and then negotiate them through collaboration, competition, calamity, and trust. The works illustrate how each man is linked to the other—sometimes quite literally.
In Finger Sew, for example, the two men sew their thumbs together using a length of black thread. Another video, Peg Wall, features the two artists scaling a wall while negotiating how to place the pegs they share for hand and foot support.
“Especially in this moment of social distancing, the vulnerability and intimacy that drive their performance of non-toxic masculinity is powerful,” says UW-Madison Professor Anna Campbell, who teaches the course.
Sebura&Gartelmann began collaborating in 2009 while they were pursuing their MFAs in sculpture at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“We’re interested in subverting the tradition of what masculinity is,” Sebura explained. The core principles of Sebura&Gartelmann’s practice are permission-giving and trust. Gartelmann added, “We think that disagreement in collaboration comes from ego, so we try to remove that element.” They said that having trust in each other increased their trust in themselves.
UW graduate and undergraduate students worked closely together to develop this exhibition over the course of the spring semester, using MMoCA as a critical training ground for hands-on application. Stemming from a shared interest in utilizing museum spaces for direct learning, this cross-institutional venture seeks to cultivate the next generation of museum professionals by introducing participants to the practical and theoretical matters of curation.
Sebura&Gartelmann have recently exhibited their work at Holding House in Detroit, Clough Hanson Gallery in Memphis, and at the NADA Art Fair in Miami. Both artists currently work at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. Together with fellow artist Emily Duke, they also run the curatorial project space Blue Room in Sheboygan.
Housed in a soaring, Cesar Pelli-designed building, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art provides free exhibitions and education programs that engage people in modern and contemporary art. The museum’s four galleries offer changing exhibitions that feature established and emerging artists. The Rooftop Sculpture Garden provides an urban oasis with an incredible view. The museum is open: Tuesday through Thursday, noon–5 pm; Friday, noon–8 pm; Saturday, 10 am–8 pm; Sunday, noon–5 pm; and is closed on Mondays.
Sebura&Gartelmann, Finger Sew (video still), 2019. Single-channel video with sound, 2:09 minutes. Courtesy of the Artists.
Sebura&Gartelmann, Gum Chew (video still), 2020. Single-channel video with sound, 12:41 minutes. Courtesy of the Artists.
Sebura&Gartelmann, Pulley System (video still), 2019. Single-channel video with sound, 2:21 minutes. Courtesy of the Artists.
Sebura&Gartelmann, Peg Wall (video still), 2017. 4-channel video with sound, 8:28 minutes. Courtesy of the Artists.