Cody Critcheloe, Fool’s Gold, 2009, still from a color video.



Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago
5550 South Greenwood Avenue
October 1, 2009–January 17, 2010

Curated by Charles Esche, Kerstin Niemann, and Stephanie Smith

Seeking idiosyncratic culture in the American interior, the curators of “Heartland” embarked on a series of road trips that took them down the Mississippi River corridor and around the Great Lakes of the upper Midwest. Logging thousands of miles and diligently reporting findings on a blog, the team identified thriving local and regional arts infrastructures whose political, economic, and aesthetic anatomies are organized very differently than are those of their counterparts on the coasts. This kaleidoscopic survey—featuring fourteen artists, initiatives, and groups and a wide ranging catalogue—was first exhibited at the Van Abbe museum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, bringing a nuanced survey of midwestern culture to a European audience; the show has been reconceived here to foreground the resourcefulness, invention, and self sufficiency that drive these central but peripheral producers.