Pop-up exhibit "What Were You Wearing?" at UMMA examined sexual assault


What Were You Wearing?

More than 500 people pondered the pointed question, "What were you wearing?" at the exhibition of the same name. Photo by Sherlonya Turner.

The last time I asked myself, “Was it what I was wearing?” was last Friday. I had been eating my dinner at the bar of a local restaurant when a man struck up a conversation with me. Eventually, he made a joke to the bartender about bringing me a “roofie colada.” The bartender responded disapprovingly. Then, the man doubled-down on his joke, adding, “Don’t worry; she won’t remember a thing.”

As the evening went on, I couldn’t quite shake that joke.

What Were You Wearing? is a pop-up installation that sets out to challenge the idea that sexual assault is somehow about clothing choice. On Monday, Dec. 4, this exhibit was at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, brought there in partnership with the HeForShe student organization.

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Craft Services: A peek at Winter Art Tour 2017


Winter Art Tour 2017

The second annual Winter Art Tour spans 10 locations across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

For the past few years in Washtenaw County, the second weekend of December has been the time to shop for wonderful handcrafted goods from local artists at pop-ups, craft fairs, and studio shows.

An easy way to find out what’s happening where is to check out the stops on the second annual Winter Art Tour, which takes you to 10 venues across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti where you can shop handmade goods from over 300 artists during the weekend of Dec. 8-10. There's a passport to get stamped as you visit each of the tour's locations, and if you hit at least four spots, you have a chance to win beautiful handcrafted prizes.

The event features two large craft fairs and several smaller studio sales across Washtenaw County:

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Valerie Hegarty's "American Berserk" exhibit deconstructs the gloss of U.S. history


Valerie Hegarty, Watermelon Tongue 2, 2016, glazed ceramics

Valerie Hegarty, Watermelon Tongue 2, 2016, glazed ceramics.

Brooklyn-based artist Valerie Hegarty is known for site-specific installations. For her American Berserk exhibit in the University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities Gallery, Hegarty created a rotting watermelon -- which isn't to say she saw the space and thought, "Hmm, this room screams, 'EXPIRED FRUIT.'" Rather, Amanda Krugliak, curator for Institute for the Humanities, suggests Hegarty’s works “speak to the morass, the schism, the cracked facade, and fruit rotten, the flowers drooping.” The tradition of representing fruit on the brink of putrefaction is long established.

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Look Deep: John Lilley's “Wandering Around … in black and white” at Kerrytown Concert House


John Lilley

John Lilley, Sand Dunes, Early Morning: Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado, black and white photograph on archival paper.

We last saw John Lilley’s photography at the Kerrytown Concert House in June 2012. His John Lilley Photographs exhibition found the Dexter photographer using digital color notable for its exhilarating chromaticity as well as its remarkable penchant for detail.

“Simply put,” said Lilley at that time, “I make photographs because I see photographs.”

But as he later tellingly added in that statement, “I’m rarely attracted to the 'big picture.' Rather, my vision is almost unconsciously drawn to distinct designs, textures, and forms that occur as small subsets of the broader landscape. I’m fascinated by the myriad possibilities for abstract composition that exist in our world.”

All of which is to say that Lilley’s current Wandering Around … in black and white shows us that his monochromatic photography is easily the equal of his color work. Indeed, if anything, Lilley’s photographic self-discipline is as much (if not more) vivid than his color art.

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Pop-Up Patriarchy: "WORLD LEADERS" exhibition by Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen


Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen, Skin suits and saddle shoes makes a mamma want to rage, 2017, inkjet print on vinyl banner

Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen, Skin suits and saddle shoes makes a mamma want to rage, 2017, inkjet print on vinyl banner.

The University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities’ pop-up exhibition WORLD LEADERS showcases the work of photographer Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen. She has an MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BA in social science and history of art from the University of Michigan. Currently based in Los Angeles, Von Habsburg-Lothringen has curated projects at Los Angeles Museum of Art, Detroit Design Festival, the Mike Kelley Mobile Homestead, and Cranbrook Museum of Art.

The exhibit consists of one large photograph, printed on a vinyl banner, and hung on the back wall of the common room, adjacent to three small, framed still-life photographs of presumably designer clothing. The exhibition announcement states that Von Habsburg-Lothringen’s newest series, Conditions, “continues to examine the position of the woman in neo-liberal society as both object and agent. It reflects on the slippage between aspiration and desperation in the face of the vanishing American Dream.”

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trustArt Gallery's "Studio Works" exhibit encourages community engagement


Studio Works at trustArt Gallery

Pyramid power: Eight artists are combining their talents for the Studio Works exhibition at trustArt Gallery in Ann Arbor.

The trustArt Gallery's Studio Works exhibition (Nov. 11-19) will display multi-media works by artists and designers who work in rented studios at the venue. The exhibit features works by Larry Cressman, Liz Davis, Elizabeth Barick Fall, Rose E. Gomez, Barbara Hohmann, Allen Samuels, Laura Shope, and Lissie Williams, and it also offers an intimate look into the studio space and how it relates to the artists’ practices and everyday environments.

In addition to the more common gallery exhibition, the added opportunity to see the artists’ studios and working spaces aims to create community engagement with the arts, according to trustArt Gallery's statement: “We are connected through our location and environment as we pass through the shared open space of our gallery: it provides an opportunity to intersect; to cross paths; a place for our studio works to be shared and reflected upon; a chance to interact with each other and the community.”

The opening-up of studios to the community will allow for many people to interact with art and art making in an expanded capacity. It allows unique insight into aspects of the creative process and creates a chance for discussion and dialogue between the artist and the community.

Featured artists/designers:

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Just Say Yes! ypsiGLOW is all about the affirmative


ypsiGLOW 2017

WonderFool organized a month of creative workshops, which culminated in the second annual street party ypsiGLOW on Oct. 27. Photos by Sherlonya Turner.

It turns out that if you make a large, wave-shaped luminary that complements your shiny green mermaid costume, a lot of people are going to stop you and ask whether you’ll take a picture with them.

When you set out specifically to participate in a unique community event, sometimes, you just say, "Yes."

It was a luminary-making workshop that made me add ypsiGlow to my calendar. In the weeks leading up to the downtown Ypsilanti light-up dance party, Wonderfool Productions hosted drop-in GLOWorkshops at the Riverside Arts Center where community members were invited to come make luminaries and or costumes for the Oct. 27 event.

A sucker for learning new skills, I had attended one of the workshops simply interested in learning how to make a luminary. One of the artists asked me what I wanted to make as I began familiarizing myself with the materials and observing other workshop attendees. That’s when I told her; it was the first "yes" of this experience.

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Photographer Nina Hauser dreams of India in her new WSG Gallery show


Nina Hauser, Expressing the Inexpressible

Nina Hauser's Expressing the Inexpressible, part of The Real World Is Not the Only World -- India Dreams at WSG Gallery.

The last time we saw Nina Hauser’s iPhone photography at the WSG Gallery was in May 2013. I was keenly struck at that time how her display illustrated the fundamental principle that the human element cannot be taken out of art irrespective of the technology used to make the work. The 22 photographs in that exhibit were marked by a remarkable technique and skill -- with both artful elements reflecting the “eye” implicit in the photographic image.

Hauser’s current exhibit at that same gallery, The Real World Is Not the Only World -- India Dreams, finds this local photographer immersed in her fascination with the culture of the Asian subcontinent -- and certainly sufficiently enough as to revolutionize her aesthetic.

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Ann Arbor Art Center's "Millennial Pink" explores a generation through color


Millennial Pink

Pretty in pink: Chelsea Lee’s Kim Kardashian Mini Face Pillows and Carson Davis Brown’s photograph Mass_012 are part of Ann Arbor Art Center's Millennial Pink exhbitition.

What, exactly, is “millennial pink”?

This term is now used to identify the aesthetic of an entire generation, the often-reviled millennial. This generation is defined as being born between 1981 and 2001. Whether you love or hate millennials, the color pink, or the term “millennial pink,” this exhibition delves into many issues at the forefront of contemporary cultural discussion.

The Millennial Pink exhibition is comprised of multi-media arts and will be on display at the Ann Arbor Art Center through Nov. 4. Artists in the show explore a variety of themes, including “gender identity, pop culture, sexuality, politics, and shades of Pantone pink.”

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Technological Delineation: "Moving Image: Portraiture" at UMMA


Towards An Architect by Hannu Karjalainen at UMMA

Hannu Karjalainen, Towards an Architect, 2010, HD video, edition of 2/5+2AP. Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul. Photo courtesy of Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska and Hannu Karjalainen.

Moving Image: Portraiture at the University of Michigan Museum of Art aims to address portraiture through the lens of contemporary media. As the third and final component of a series drawn from the Borusan Contemporary collection in Istanbul, including Moving Image: Landscape and Moving Image: Performance, each of the three artists included in this small exhibition uses technology to convey complex ideas, not only about the history of portraiture and representation but how technology can change our ideas of what constitutes portraiture.

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