Documenting Creation of an Artwork
John Preus for Harris Public Policy Lab in Keller Center at the University of Chicago. The materials used were hundreds of desks, chairs, tables, and bookshelves that became raw material for his art after he retrieved them from Chicago Public Schools that were closed in 2013. The pieces possessed a patina of use by generations of CPS students who left their mark with initials, images, and other expressions of imagination and aspirations, boredom and frustration, carved into the wood. Preus questioned the materials’ origins, history, and their becoming artifacts. How do everyday objects hold memory? How do we embrace objects around us? Do we embrace them, and, in this case, the attention they demand and lessons they offer about the largest mass closing of public schools in US history? Here is the story and a handful of the photos.