Shifting Ideals: "GLOSS: Modeling Beauty" at UMMA


GLOSS: Modeling Beauty at UMMA

Philippe Halsman, Halle, 1942, gelatin silver print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of Hans Neukomm, 1996/2.7, Photo © Philippe Halsman Archive.

GLOSS: Modeling Beauty is a thoughtfully curated exhibition that focuses on the impact of fashion photography on the history of photography. The show explores “the shifting ideals of female beauty” in American and European visual culture starting in the 1920s with the work of Edward Steichen. The exhibition examines not only fashion photography and images from advertising campaigns but features documentary photography by Elliott Erwitt, Joel Meyerowitz, and Ralph Gibson, captured images of women and mannequins in urban environments. Furthermore, artists James Van Der Zee, Eduardo Paolozzi, and Nikki S. Lee “employ the visual strategies of traditional fashion photography, while offering alternative narratives to mainstream notions of female beauty.”

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Vital Conversations: The Stamps Gallery's fall season launches with two exhibitions


STAMPS's The Unfinished Conversation/Encoding/Decoding & Vital Signs for a New America

A captured moment from John Akomfrah's three-screen work The Unfinished Conversation. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.

The Penny W. Stamps' website let me know that I could expect to be challenged by The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding and Vital Signs for a New America exhibits.

But despite a deep interest in the overlap of politics and art in the 20th and 21st centuries, I wasn’t quite prepared for this collection of powerful, in-your-face images. I’m also glad that I have until October 14 to fully explore the exhibits.

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Rasa's Riverside Arts exhibition features South Asian-inspired multi-arts


Sangchen Tsomo

Sangchen Tsomo's figurative oil paintings mix Eastern themes with Western art styles. Photo courtesy Riverside Arts Gallery.

One component of the ongoing Rasa Festival can be seen through September 30 at the Riverside Arts Gallery in Ypsilanti. Riverside Arts Gallery’s lower-level space houses many large, vibrant, and gestural paintings, and geometric, mandala designs in ritualistic floor art known as rangoli, alpana, or kolam.

The show, Madhavi: Illusion’s Beer, which is a part of 2017’s Rasa Festival exhibitions, collectively focuses on the Navarasa (Nine Rasas). This can also be translated as “the nine moods,” which are various facets of Indian aesthetics. These facets include love/beauty, laughter, sorrow, anger, heroism/courage, terror/fear, disgust, surprise/wonder, and peace/tranquility.

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A2CAF 2017: Ben Hatke interview at AADL



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During the Ann Arbor Comics Art Festival -- aka A2CAF -- in June, cartoonist Jerzy Drozd interviewed his fellow author-illustrator Ben Hatke about his work. The two were on the third floor of the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library, standing in front of the framed works that comprise the exhibition Ben Hatke: Art and Adventure:

Explore the plucky heroes, eerie monsters, and fabulous realms of artist and author Ben Hatke in an exhibition of original art from his picture books and graphic novels. Illustrations and watercolors from Nobody Likes a Goblin, Zita the Spacegirl, Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, and a few surprises. (The exhibition runs through August 31.)

The talk between Drozd and Hatke runs 41 minutes. Pressed for time? Grab the MP3; the conversation works fine as a podcast. Or if you want to skip around, see the list below with the topics discussed and their times in the video/MP3:

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Variety Show: STAMPS's alumni exhibition "Ambiguities/Innuendoes? Go Fish"


Disney Room

A still from Alisa Yang's award-winning short film Please Come Again.

The 2017 University of Michigan Alumni Exhibition Ambiguities/Innuendoes? Go Fish features an eclectic collection of alumni works that engage, in varying capacities, with the terms “ambiguity” and “innuendo.” The annual exhibition allows STAMPS alumni to show their work. This year, work represented over 70 years of alumni from 1955 to 2016. This year, the exhibition featured juror Brian Kennedy, the president, director, and CEO of the Toledo Museum of Art.

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U-M SMTD's tidy exhibition of Beatles material celebrates the 50th anniversary of "Sgt. Pepper's"


The University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, and Dance's “Summit of Creativity: A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles’ of 'Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band'" drew experts from across the country in June to examine and analyze this timeless music with an academic panache typically reserved for the likes of Shakespeare, Gilgamesh, and radioisotopes.

By contrast, U-M musicologist Walter Everett’s 46-item exhibit 50th Anniversary of the Release of 'Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band' is tidy in comparison to the sprawling analysis bestowed on The Beatles and this record in particular. Both the band and Sgt. Pepper's are now part of the firmament in our shared cultural and intellectual history, and they are now well worthy of deep study and scrutiny. But The Beatles certainly didn’t conceive the album with all that in mind.

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Multimedia Meditations: Ann Arbor Women Artists 2017 Summer Juried Exhibit


Ann Arbor Women Artists 2017 Summer Juried Exhibit

Left to right: works by artists Kathy Hiner, Bonnie Wylo, Susan Clinthorne, Kathy Kelley, Barbara Goodsitt, and Patricia Davenport.

The 2017 Ann Arbor Women Artists Summer Juried Exhibit illustrates the diverse talent in the Ann Arbor area. Though the name implies this nonprofit organization features women artists only, by 2008 the group included 10 men. The volunteer-run organization is now open to all artists 18 and older. Today, this local art group has over 300 members. In this year’s annual AAWA Juried exhibition, 46 artists have their work on display. The works represented are executed in a variety of media, both 2D and 3D.

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Local Artists Reflect on Ann Arbor Art Fair


Ann Arbor Art Fair 2017

The poster for 2017's Ann Arbor Art Fair by Debo Groover.

The Ann Arbor Art Fair showcases the work of artists from around the country, but it’s also an important outlet for many local artists as well. Here, some working artists from the greater Ann Arbor area who are exhibiting this year share some thoughts on the event. The fair takes place July 20-23; for more information, see the Pulp preview article.

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UMMA's "Victors for Art: Michigan’s Alumni Collectors -- Part II: Abstraction" makes the private public


Hans Hofmann, St. Francis

Left: Hans Hofmann, St. Francis, 1952, oil on canvas. Right: Artist unrecorded, Kota peoples, Mahongwe group, Gabon or Republic of Congo, Reliquary figure, late 19th century, brass, copper wire, wood.

University of Michigan Museum of Art’s recently opened Victors for Art: Michigan’s Alumni Collectors -- Part II: Abstraction is the second show in a two-part series that began in February with Part I: Figuration. The exhibition includes a wide range of art, from an Amish quilt by an unknown maker to modern and contemporary works by influential artists such as Pablo Picasso, Christo, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, Barbara Kruger, Jasper Johns, John Baldessari, and many more.

As the title suggests, the show consists of a diverse range of works collected by University of Michigan alumni. The contributors come from 70 years of graduating classes, displaying the long-standing, continuing impact of university alumni collectors on the global art world. UMMA states that the show “offers an unprecedented opportunity to view art that may have never been publicly displayed otherwise -- and most certainly, not all together.”

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Making the Most of the Ann Arbor Art Fair 2017


Ann Arbor Art Fair 2017

Looking down at the 1970 Art Fair from a cherry picker. Photo from artfair.aadl.org.

Whether you’ve never been to the Ann Arbor Art Fair before or you’re a veteran fairgoer, there’s always something new to learn that can improve your experience.

The top piece of advice from Karen Delhey, one of the event’s organizers: “Do your research. It’s really important to go on our website before you come out and make your plan of attack.”

Everyone’s interests and tastes are different, so Delhey suggests you figure out your own must-dos and must-sees ahead of time. Check out the list of artists to find your favorites or seek out potential new discoveries. And you might want to map your route before you head out as well.

The 2017 edition of the Ann Arbor Art Fair runs Thursday-Sunday, July 20-23, throughout the downtown and campus areas of Ann Arbor. One of the largest and most prestigious events of its kind, the fair showcases the works of more than 1,000 artists in individual artist booths. Other attractions include live music, artist demonstrations, and activities for kids.

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