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Dan Peterman

Chicago, United States


Dan Peterman is an internationally renowned Chicago-based artist, an alumnus of UChicago, and co-founder of the Experimental Station. He combines innovative strategies of local engagement and activism with national and international exhibitions, projects, and installations. Among his diverse projects, Peterman explores networks of recycled or discarded materials frequently producing starkly minimal works that function interchangeably as stockpiles, sculpture, functional objects, and critiques of environmental oversight and neglect. Peterman is also a Professor in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

CAB 5 Contribution

Project Overview

Accessory to an Event (market stand prototype—gary Indiana farmers market), 2023

The abandonment of the Gary Farmers Market* the year following its unveiling in 1975, leaves the city of Gary with a complicated and remarkable site. Forty-eight years have passed as steel has rusted and cracks have developed in the concrete. Mosses, plants, and trees have rooted and grown, and debris has accumulated. The Farmers  Market site now hosts a micro-climate of shade and overgrowth.  Large steel truss-work shapes still float overhead—elegantly and optimistically as ever, but now intertwine with voluntary trees that have become part of the architecture and the architecture part of the trees. The nutrient cycles for this unintended plant-life echo the nutrient cycles tapped by humans in the production of food that the market was originally designed to serve. 

Fly-dumped building materials, abandoned household items, and strips of wire casings left behind by scavengers carefully pulling copper from salvaged electrical wire are all indicators of alternative market forces at work and have all found their way into this installation. The Gary market stand prototype creates a moment to observe and speculate on this confluence of material, economic,  social, and ecological conditions. It creates a moment to witness the passage of time measured in accumulated growth-rings of wood and thickening of moss. It doesn’t lay out a specific plan for the future but despite the ruptured civic promise that the site currently represents—this project speculatively clings to the complex and humble social promise of a local marketplace. 

*Whitley & Whitley Architects, LLC (Cleveland, Ohio) see Steel Studio installation


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James R. Thompson Center


100 W Randolph St., Chicago, IL, 60601


The Loop


Made possible by The Prime Group, Capri Investment Group, and Google, the James R. Thompson Center serves as a site for exhibitions and site-specific installations as part of CAB 5. Hailed as one of Chicago’s postmodern architectural marvels, the Helmut Jahn-designed building will open to the public through the end of the year.

The City is the Site