Challenging Contemporary Art, From Rural Wisconsin
David Lundahl at work
For the next few days I’ll be visiting with David Lundahl, a visionary artist from southern Wisconsin. Though it’s generally wise to scoff at these kinds of monikers, I’ll say it anyway: David Lundahl on of the best artists you’ve never heard of. Beyond this, I’m comfortable saying that, within the regions of human experience that he’s mapped over the last thirty years, he has no peer. Through our work on this site, and through some exciting efforts that we’ll be announcing later this fall, we’ll be working to bring to light more of his artwork.
I’ve written on two occasions about Mr. Lundahl in the past; each only begins to get at his complex personal history and the amazing, nearly-unbelievable story about the New Light Studios he created out of the ruins of a dilapidated dairy farm. The first article deals more directly with the artist’s landmark achievement: a body of over 100,000 polaroid “self-portaits” that more closely resemble abstract expressionist art than photos from a family picnic. (The link above explains the process of natural light, stencils, and other media involved in these photographs.) The second article deals more directly with the challenges in creating such contemporary art in a rural community, and with how the established art world views rural America. These two pieces barely skim the surface of the issues tangled up in David Lundahl’s work.