It is my view that artists are an asset to many communities, and it is my profound hope that Chicago acknowledges that someday by more than lip service, and capitalizing on their labor and calling it "place-making" or gentrification. Artists need to self-organize and find ways to collectively develop ways to share resources. SHoP is an attempt at creating an artist-run space that looks outward, and tries to develop strong bonds with local community life. Ideally, there should be a space like SHoP every few miles, in every neighborhood of the city - a space that has as its mission to reflect a community's creative life back to itself and give it an identity. Community is a paradox; by definition it excludes, while at the same time forms the basis for collective identity and significant interdependencies. My work is largely a consideration of these dynamics, as well as a pragmatic means of engaging in civic life.
A public expression of ambivalence and paradox. A wrestling of language and form into submission. I build buildings and small objects, mostly playing with the lost and found, the multivalent registers of value, the social life of things and what they might want from us. I start organizations that offer the possibility of a somewhat better quality of life for as many people as possible, but probably mostly people like me. I work almost exclusively with things that people have thrown away, as a way to avoid the white page syndrome, as a way to have a starting point, to play with why and how people care about things, and what makes that go away. I write as a reflection upon what I make, and the people that I work with, and how the things people make live in the world. I make work for other artists, which in a sense allows me to think both pragmatically and poetically without the necessary attachment that comes with putting your name on something.
October-You Complet Me, at the Devos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University Written piece for AREA coming out in mid-august. Developing a residency program at SHoP, and strengthening existing programming, developing the woodshop and Red Flags Salon. Mentorship with Fred Arenales, who is making work for me for upcoming exhibitions. Solo exhibition in gallery 1 at the Hyde Park Art Center-part of their 75 year anniversary in the spring of 2014.
Preus spent time in Tanzania as a missionary kid, then grew up in Minneapolis squandering a pedigree of six generations of Lutheran pastoral genetics. How exactly this influences his work is unclear but worthy of mention. He is an artist, builder and fabricator, amateur writer, curator, and musician, and serves as Creative Director to the Rebuild Foundation shop. Preus has founded a number of organizations, businesses and art groups: SHoP with Laura Shaeffer in 2010, Dilettante Studios in 2010-his design build business, Material Exchange with Sara Black in 2005. His work has been exhibited at the MCA Chicago, in Kassel, Germany as part of documenta 13, the Smart Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, and he has a solo show coming up at the Hyde Park Art Center.