JEMA Press


CBS News


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Feature Shoot
May 23, 2013


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July 25, 2012


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Järvi-Pohjanmaan Torstai
July 5, 2012


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June 7, 2012


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The Irish News
May 31, 2012


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The Newry Democrat
May 22, 2012


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April 2008


Gregory Green and Sean Miller discuss art being exhibited at JEMA, Golden Thread Gallery, and temporary public projects in the City of Belfast, N. Ireland. Katie Larmour of Northern Visions Television interviews Gregory Green about the New Free State of Caroline, his work, peace, and future projects. Miller discusses JEMA, Green's JEMA exhibition, Yoko Ono’s JEMA exhibition, and his Art Museum Dust Collection.

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Genoa, Italy
March 12, 2009


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The City Paper
Art | Visual Arts
July 2, 2008


SALES FIGURES – Six Artists Get Down to Business in New Exhibition

POST SECRET: A gallery goer writes a letter at the John Erickson Museum Of Art's portable mailroom.

Cottage Industry Through Aug. 24 at the Contemporary Museum

IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF ANDY WARHOL, one of the world's best known artists sums up and defends his career ambitions by declaring "good business is the best art." As commercial as the art world might be these days, you could wander through a half dozen galleries before finding someone who would agree with this business-for-art's-sake philosophy. But the playfully titled Cottage Industry, the new exhibit at the Contemporary Museum, tests Warhol's claim with work by six artists who manipulate, maneuver through, and even mirror contemporary business practices.

Christine Hill is perhaps the most typical artist of this rather atypical exhibit. After graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1991, she moved to Berlin, where she started her Volksboutique, described in the exhibit catalogue as a "fully functioning thrift shop" created after she spent several months working odd jobs while thinking of them as art practices.

Hill went on to produce work that anticipates the folk-craft indie art popular today. On display in the show is one of her travel trunk pieces, "Receptionist Portable Office," which neatly displays all the tools of an office receptionist, from a dress to a thesaurus, in a ready-to-ship container. For one of the many community-based pieces in the show, Hill took photographs of small Baltimore stores and their owners, as yet another record of the labor that goes into the production of everyday life.

The Los Angeles-based Lisa Anne Auerbach explores similar themes as Hill, but in a much more playful manner. Her homage to small businesses places the emphasis on the word "small," with a series of businesses that occupy a single, small building. After photographing tiny beauty salons and herbal medicine shops, Auerbach opened her own small business, a unicycle shop, in Joshua Tree in 2007, charging 10 cents an hour for rentals.

In Baltimore, Auerbach, presumably with the help of the museum's sponsors, has rented out a first-floor business space at 123 W. Saratoga St., simply titled, "The Tract House." Modeling her store after the producers of Bible tracts, Auerbach has created modern-day tracts of all sizes and designs, ranging in tone from prophetic to pedantic. The fact that the shop is located next to a candle shop that happens to sell its own religious tomes makes the piece only more captivating, although Auerbach seeks to win converts to cycling, not Jesus.

Although the show turns the "micro" in "micro-enterprise" into a term of endearment, it also includes some pieces that are designed to scale up. Fritz Haeg designs front lawn gardens, which he calls "Edible Estates," as part of his "attack on the front lawn and everything it has come to represent." As part of a planned 10 prototype gardens in different regions in the country, Haeg designed a garden that was planted in the front lawn of a home in northwest Baltimore's Callaway-Garrison neighborhood. At the museum, you can see photos of Haeg's gardens elsewhere, as well as a video documenting the construction of the garden.

The three other enterprises represented in the exhibit explore similar themes, but sit more comfortably in the museum context. Andrea Zittel's Smockshop creates inexpensive, yet "art-world fabulous" clothing that can be worn as uniform or displayed as museum piece. In the show, Zittel's dresses are displayed near Hill's trunk case, emphasizing the similarity of the aesthetics and business models of the two artists.

The other two pieces are also similar to each other, but manifest themselves in different ways. The City Reliquary Museum, a neo-traditionalist curiosity cabinet based in Brooklyn, donates one of its of enigmatic display cases, where everything from subway paint chips to miniature Statues of Liberty can be seen. The museum, founded in 2002 by the Dave Herman, reinvents kitsch for the hipster set, but still manages to love New York as only a transplant can.

The John Erickson Museum of Art, founded by Floridian Sean Miller reinvents the museum as a portable object. But while the pint-sized pieces, housed in aluminum-cased boxes, are the focus of the display, the museum also keeps its other necessary functions, such as counting attendance, maintaining an archive and permanent collections, and even running a mailroom. Unlike the City Reliquary, which succeeds as a throwback to an antiquated museum aesthetic, JEMA, as it is commonly called, seeks to replicate the contemporary museum.

For one of his other projects, Miller collects dust from prominent museums, places the dust under a microscope and photographs them, producing images that are then placed onto paper coasters and sold at the museums. Miller's coasters of dust from the Contemporary Museum, available in sets of six, are on sale at the museum store.

In the attractively designed exhibit catalogue, co-curator Kristin Chambers argues that the artists represented in the show "use the language of business and consumerism as an organizing principle for their creative output." Although the exhibit doesn't acknowledge it explicitly, the artists here aren't interested in mimicking capitalism in order to mock it. Rather, like Warhol, they don't want to draw the line between art and commerce, because it might hurt the bottom line. Good business might not be the best art, but sometimes it's the best way to make art, or, at least, the most profitable.

—Martin L. Johnson


IMA Blog
July 2, 2008


REBECCA UCHILL, Associate Curator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), discusses JEMA and Saya Moriyasu

“Sean Miller is a participating artist in the exhibition On Procession. His project, the John Erikson Museum of Art, takes the form of miniature, portable museum galleries which he uses as a platform to host rotating exhibitions of other artists’ works. JEMA, named after Miller’s great-grandfather, was marched through the 2007 Art Parade presented by Deitch Projects, Paper Magazine and Creative Time. The Art Parade, an annual SoHo event since 2005, combines artworks solicited from an open call, museum-sponsored floats, and all types of rock n’ roll spectacle.

JEMA has been presented in other contexts, including other museums’ galleries. Beyond its obvious humor, JEMA offers an alternative vision of what it is to make an exhibition. As a portable museum, JEMA’s open construction and minimized logistical operations allow for more flexible or experimental programming than other kinds of museum galleries.

Sean Miller wrote this entry during a residency in Belfast at Flaxart Studios. He took the invitation to be IMA’s guest blogger as an opportunity to share his newly begun Director’s Notes. I encourage you to check out his Web site at to learn more about Miller/JEMA’s activities and details, including a staff listing, opening events, and a more thorough explanation of the overall project. JEMA’s exhibition of Saya Moriyasu’s Audience (2007) is currently on view in the IMA’s Forefront Galleries.”

—Rebecca Uchill


Cottage Industry: The Metropolitan Spirit
Radar Redux Baltimore Arts and Culture


“The exhibition not only challenges the viewer but also the museum environment in which it is displayed. Another impressive business venture, The John Erikson Museum of Art (JEMA) challenges contemporary museum strategies, disavowing the site-specific, traditional methods of displaying visual art. The experimental methods of model boxes are carried and shown to the public on the streets of New York. JEMA’s small “exhibition space” functions in the diameter of inches, but gives the artist an affordable, efficient, portable, constructed, and maintained license for artistic expression. What if Edible Estates set up an installation through JEMA that was shown to the public on the streets of Baltimore? JEMA questions the elitism of the traditional museum environment, allowing any passerby to partake in an artistic experience. The underground graffiti scene would be proud of JEMA’s street credit, but there’s more to JEMA than one might think. JEMA’s continuous movement allows for intercommunication between artists and museums on a community wide-spectrum; the project’s portability allows art installations to be brought to you without the cost, time and effort extorted by the traditional museum environment...”

—Emily Scibilia


ArtList DC


“The John Erickson Museum of Art (JEMA) is a miniaturized traveling "museum in a box." Evocative of flux-kits and DIY craft projects, JEMA is a cleverly constructed entity used to critique overly excessive museum practices.”

—Ding Ren


Modern Art Notes


“All of the projects in Cottage Industry are small, focused and intense, personal reactions against big-boxism of all types. (Including in art/history museum form.) The City Reliquary and the John Erickson Museum of Art are the two most dramatic reactions: They're museums reduced to the smallest possible physical size.

There's a message here for art museums and related institutions: When you become big you become impersonal. When you become personal you fall out of touch with your audience, with your communities. Most of the projects in Cottage Industry are an attempt to re-connect with community, but also with art, history and neighborhood. Big institutions pay heed.”

—Tyler Green


The Baltimore Sun
July 1, 2008


LAURA VOZELLA writes about Sean Miller and Connie Hwang’s Art Museum Dust Collection at the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore

"Not just any dust, like the tiny tumbleweed that collects under your couch. This is museum dust, harvested from the Contemporary, put under a microscope, photographed and transposed onto a coaster, of all things.

I don't know what regular dust looks like under a microscope, but the stuff on the coasters is a cool-looking, multi-textured mix of green and red…

It's the creation of Sean Miller of Gainesville, Fla., a lecturer at the University of Florida's school of art and art history. Over the past 12 years, he's gathered dust from more than 50 museums, including Russia's Hermitage, Berlin's Altes and New York's Met. Sometimes he collects the stuff himself, using a small plastic bag. Other times museum officials mail it to him…

He's fascinated with the idea of dust intruding on the "pure, white, objective space" of a modern museum… Just the thing I'd like to rest my drink on."

—Laura Vozella


The New York Times
Art Review | Art Parade
September 10, 2007


THE CREATIVE SPIRIT, strolling through SoHo with its fringe flying

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times -
The Dazzle Dancers at the third annual Art Parade, featuring more than 800 artists and some 82 mobile works of art — carried, worn or performed — in SoHo.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And there was a whole lot of flaunting going on in the third annual Art Parade on Saturday in SoHo. It was like a mini-Rose Bowl pageant, but with men in heels, a ukulele orchestra, trash-bag attire, a no-nukes float, a nonstop food fight and the director of a major New York museum, hair dyed blue, barreling down West Broadway.

As pageants go, this one was short (about four blocks, one hour) and friendly in a fringey, attitudinous way. It’s hard to imagine its happening in uptight, cash-rich, chutzpah-poor Chelsea, and it didn’t. And there was nothing not to like.

The first Art Parade was organized two years ago by a SoHo gallery, Deitch Projects, and was crammed into a few blocks on Grand Street. Everyone had a ball, so it was repeated last year, but at twice the size and length and in a different location: down West Broadway from West Houston Street to Grand. This year’s version took the same route and added still more participants: more than 800 artists who conceived, constructed, carried, wore or performed some 82 mobile works of art... [Click for the entire article]

Among other debutante work I very much liked a ballet of the abstract paintings in motion by Arden Sherman, Ralph Bishop, Christine Baldizzi and others who go by the name Algorithm Nation. The John Erickson Museum of Art held the eye: a portable museum out of Chicago, with miniature galleries carried, as if on trays, by its curators. One gallery held a solo show by Arnold Mesches, a political painter whose work made a splash in the East Village ’80s and whom somebody should bring back to New York.

Perhaps that somebody could be the highly irregular Brooklyn Museum. It was the only traditional institution to make the scene on Saturday, its staff turning out in force, led by the museum’s director, Arnold Lehman, cerulean-haired and cheering like mad...

—Holland Cotter


Weekly Volcano
Tacoma Washington
October 25, 2006


TWO THINGS IN ICEIce Box Contemporary Art hosts "81 things on a stick" and the John Erickson Museum of Art.

Bethany Taylor

Wow! What a lot of stuff is packed into the tiny space at Ice Box Contemporary Art, down by all of the street work in the dome district at 301A Puyallup Ave. There are 81 drawings on clusters of sticks, plus a whole museum - albeit a very little one - featuring string drawings that roam the walls and spill out onto the sidewalk. Two shows are running simultaneously in what used to be an auto repair shop. They are Eugene Parnell's "81 Things on a Stick" (which should really be called 81 things on a stick on a stick) and the John Erickson Museum of Art, or JEMA, featuring Bethany Taylor's exhibition "Emissions and Remissions."

JEMA is a location variable museum space housed in a sturdy and stylish 16-inch-by-12-inch-by-9-inch aluminum carrying case. That may be hard to get your head around. Think of it as a scale model museum with walls and doors and galleries filled with artwork, a museum in which not only do the exhibitions change on a regular basis, but the entire museum can be moved from location to location. It has traveled from Seattle to Miami to Ireland and many other locations. Currently it resides inside Ice Box Contemporary.

Bethany Taylor's string drawings are delicate and ephemeral. Tiny string drawings reside on the museum wall, and clumps and strands of string spill out onto the floor, climb up the gallery walls and meander out the door. (Note that "museum wall" and "gallery walls" are not the same things. The former is the little portable box, and the latter is the immobile building.)…

—Alec Clayton


The Seattle Times
February 17, 2006


Michael McCafferty

Seattle artist Michael McCafferty has a show at one of your smaller art venues. The John Erickson Museum of Art is a miniature, moveable museum “housed in a sturdy but stylish 16-by 12-by 9-inch aluminum carrying case,” according to director Sean miller. At present the exhibition is parked at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, Mich., but we West Coast fans can see images from the show online at (JEMA has traveled to macon, Georgia; Lander, Wyoming; Micanopy, Fla.; and Limerick, Ireland, among other places. It last appeared in Seattle at Howard House in October 2005).

Miller, a former Seattle artist, founded JEMA in 2003 in the lobby at Seattle Art Museum, where he once worked as a guard and exhibition tech. (He’s now a lecturer in art at the University of Florida.) The diminutive museum is named for Miller’s great-grandfather John Erickson, who ran a watch-making and jewelry company at the Arcade Building, where SAM now stands. The museum’s small scale is also reflected in the short time allotted to most exhibits, about 9 hours and 15 minutes. But some shows, Miller explains, can be held over by popular demand. And that’s the case with McCafferty’s, which continues through March 17th and includes the photograph shown here from “Body Compass.” It documents an action performed last year by the artist at Waikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment, on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula.

—Sheila Farr


El Vocero Magazine
January 20, 2006


Obras de John Erickson Museum of Art se exhiben en la gallería de UICA

GRAND RAPIDS–El artista nativo de Florida, Sean Owen Miller, ha creado el John Ericsson Museum of Art (JEMA), un espacio de museo de ubicación variable, que muestra algunas de sus obras en la Galería Portal Space del Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), ubicado en el 41 Sheldon Blvd., SE de Grand Rapids, la cual estará exhibiéndose hasta el 6 de mayo del 2006.

La misión del JEMA es exhibir y colectar arte contemporáneo innovador y provocativo, y ofrecer exhibiciones que permitan a las personas pensar de manera diferente sobre la naturaleza del arte y las prácticas de arte, simultáneamente.

JEMA es un museo, un espacio de exhibición, esculturas, series de fotografía, y un proyecto basado en difundir el arte.

En esta espacio, tienen cabida casi todas las prácticas de arte existentes, revitalizando los roles del artista y el espectador.

Los artistas que exponen sus obras en JEMA en la sala de exhibición de UICA son Scott Betz, Derrick Buisch, entre otros.

Una de las artistas, que también tienen sus obras en esta exhibición es Barbara Bergstrom, quien es originaria de Arizona. Barbara mostrará una pieza titulada “Trae Greetings”.

Por otra parte, también podrán admirarse obras de la artista originaria de South Haven, Michigan, Becky Whemer, quien exhibirá sus piezas de vidrio soplado llenas de texturas y colores.

También se podrá apreciar el arte de Robynn Smith, originaria de California. Ella considera que su trabajo es una grabación visual de su conexión con un mundo conflictivo. Criada en la era post Segunda Guerra Mundial, en una casa judía, la frase “nunca otra vez” era parte integral de su lenguaje y consciencia.

Las galerías de UICA abren sus puertas de martes a sábado de 12:00 p.m. a 10:00 de la noche. Los domingos de 12:00 p.m. a 7:00 p.m. Los lunes permanece cerrado.

—Martin Felizardo


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 22, 2004


ALTART GOES ALT-ART—Show at Saltworks focuses on alternative approaches in unusual format.

One of Mandy Sheedy's art pieces includes hand-sewn bags with plants
growing out of them.

ATLART[04], THE TWO-WEEK CELEBRATION of Atlanta’s art scene, focuses on the alternative world with a one-night show and party Saturday at Saltworks Gallery.

Brian Holcombe, who runs this cutting-edge gallery, goes a step further for this event. He has built two exhibition platforms out of such things as aluminum and tar paper within his rambling space, a former piano showroom, for a couple of unusual displays.

“CARRY ON DRAWING ”: Savannah artist and curator Avantica Bawa will bring this portable exhibition, which fits into a specially designed box that is no bigger than a piece of carry-on luggage, for its first Atlanta showing. What started as an effort to show friends in India and America each other’s drawings expanded into a collection of 170 drawings from the United States, The United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, India and Australia. Like a rolling stone, she gathers more drawings wherever she takes her exhibit. Most of the work is on paper, but it also includes “drawings” by sound artists and video documentation of showing in other places.

JOHN ERICKSON MUSEUM: Sean Miller’s alternative to the gallery is also a portable museum that fits into a briefcase. He inaugurated his museum last March with a one-piece exhibition hung, unsanctioned, in the lobby of the Seattle Art Museum for a two-minute opening. For Atlanta, his third show, the University of Florida professor is bringing an installation by Oregon artist Mandy Sheedy. One of her pieces includes hand-sewn bags of dirt from which plants are growing and body prints of the artist taken on a flatbed scanner.

AND MORE: Atlanta artists Andrew Ros and Scott Lawrence will mount an installation outside the gallery, and Atlanta artist and DJ John Otte will provide sound using te auience as inspiration for the varying moods, tempo and genre selection.

THE 411: “Art Night/Fourth Ward.” 8p.m.-2a.m. Saturday, Saltworks Gallery, 635 Angier Ave., Atlanta, 404-876-8000.

—Catherine Fox


Miami News Times
December 4, 2003


ART DURING BASEL—Your unofficial guide to all that's hanging.

Get ready. Year two, round two. Today through Sunday, only in Miami! Okay, so you think you don't really like art. At some of the Art Basel events you might not even run into it, at least in a traditional sense. Over on Miami Beach, art from the world's top galleries will be formally housed in the convention center; you have to pay to see it there. But literally on the beach you can see work from alternative galleries in twenty shipping containers on the sand. In the Townhouse Hotel, rooms of art. In the Art Video Lounge, at ArtCenter/South Florida Gallery ... you get the point. That's official Basel…


Could it be, an art museum in a suitcase. High Art -- Sergio Vega JEMA Museum will at once be the smallest museum and at one point, the highest. JEMA is the John Erickson Museum of Art, and it really is a suitcase, and it will be flown in on December 4 at 3:00 p.m. This piece of "airplane performance" art will, according to the artist, explore issues related to High Art through "the testimonies" of parrots from Brazil. Yep, you read it right. Check it out at the opening reception at 8:30 on Thursday, December 4, or anytime till January 10 at the Madonna Building in the Design District, 3900 N. Miami Ave.

—Alfredo Triff