Associate Professor of Art Julie Lindemann, an award-winning photographer, lost a courageous battle with cancer Tuesday, August 25. She was 57.
Lindemann shared a tenure track appointment at Lawrence with John Shimon, her artist collaborator of more than 30 years. Their close collaboration led to works of remarkable originality and a memorable, distinctive style.
As contemporary artists who used old-fashioned photographic techniques, Lindemann and Shimon combined intellectual and creative energy to tell incredible human stories through their powerful portraits of ordinary people, especially native Wisconsinites, revealing the complexities of human nature.
Lindemann was deeply admired for her ability to see potential in all of her subjects, the sensitivity for which she dealt with them and for her masterful use of historic photographic processes. Incredibly generous with her time and ideas, she was a popular faculty member and students loved being taught by her and working with her.
Lindemann and Shimon joined the Lawrence art department in 2000 in a joint appointment as visiting instructors. Five years later they were appointed to a shared tenure track appointment. Their courses were always team-taught, demonstrating the effectiveness of collaborative teaching. Fully embracing the power of liberal arts education, Lindemann and Shimon were recognized with Lawrence’s faculty award for Excellence in Creative Activity at the college’s 2012 commencement.
Their photography has been featured in more than 90 solo and group exhibitions in venues ranging from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and are part of 15 permanent collections, including the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Wisconsin State Historical Society.
Their work was showcased in the 2014 major exhibition “We Go From Where We Know” at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan and most recently, a retrospective covering 30 years of their work — “There’s A Place: Photographs by J. Shimon & J. Lindemann” — was featured at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend.
In December 2014, Mary Louise Schumacher, the art critic of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, honored Lindemann and Shimon as Wisconsin’s Artists of the Year.
In May, Lindemann and Shimon were recognized for their creative accomplishments with a Wisconsin Visual Art Achievement Award, which honors artists who have contributed to the wealth of creativity in Wisconsin.
A native of northeast Wisconsin, Lindemann grew up on a farm in the small Manitowoc County town of Osmond. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in social documentary photography from Illinois State University.
She began her professional career at the Milwaukee Art Museum and later enjoyed success as a freelance photographer, racking up an impressive list of clients that included the New York Times Magazine as well as Fortune, People and Men’s Health magazines, among others.
She and Shimon coauthored five books and catalogs of their work, the most successful of which was their artistic tribute to the aluminum Christmas tree chronicled in the book “Season’s Gleamings.” The book generated national attention when it was published in 2004, resulting in stories in the New York Times and USA Today and featured segments on CBS’ “Sunday Morning” and CNN.
A memorial service celebrating Lindemann’s life will be held on a date and place to be announced.
About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.