The University of Wisconsin Press

Art / Photography / Wisconsin


Unmasked & Anonymous
Shimon & Lindemann Consider Portraiture
Introduction by Lisa Hostetler
Essay by J. Shimon & J. Lindemann

Fascinating perspectives on one of the oldest artistic genres—portraiture

Photographers John Shimon and Julie Lindemann use antique cameras, modern lens technology, artificial light, and contemporary pop culture to create portraits of the people in their native state amidst backyards, living rooms, parking lots, and the landscape of Wisconsin. These recent photographs are juxtaposed with portraits from the Milwaukee Art Museum’s permanent collections, including daguerreotype portraits, ambrotypes, and tintypes of anonymous people taken by nineteenth-century photographers, as well as with photographs by such well-known artists as Alfred Stieglitz, Sally Mann, Larry Clark, Walker Evans, Nan Goldin, Eugene von Beuenchenhein, and Francis Ford. The pairings of new and old illustrate the legacy of portraiture and the significance of “posing” before the lens, and each image is enriched by its proximity to another, unmasking sitter, photographer, and viewer.

Unmasked & Anonymous: Shimon & Lindemann Consider Portraiture includes more than sixty color and black-and-white photographs plus essays by Shimon, Lindemann, and Milwaukee Art Museum curator Lisa Hostetler.

“Shimon and Lindemann’s portraits belie the careful preparation and extended duration of their portrait sessions, during which their subjects seem to grow into the contours of their chosen pose before our eyes. In contemplating their work, we recognize the unconscious yet deliberate way in which the subjects present themselves to the camera as they strive to create a persona worthy of indelible inscription onto a photographic plate. We are all familiar with this behavior, having been born into today’s image-obsessed culture.” —Lisa Hostetler, curator of photographs, Milwaukee Art Museum

John Shimon and Julie Lindemann have worked collaboratively on art projects since 1981. Their photographs are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, and Wisconsin Historical Society. They are assistant professors of art at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Their studio has been located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, since 1989.

Distributed for the Milwaukee Art Museum

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The cover of Unmasked is a silver grey, with a die-cut window, through which a striking  pair of eyes are visible.

March 2008

68 pp.   7 x 8 3/4  
36 color photos, 9 b/w photos

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