Visual Arts Roundup: Catching up with UMMA, Stamps Gallery, Michigan Art Gallery, WSG Gallery, Ann Arbor Art Center, Gutman Gallery, Eat More Tea, Ann Arbor Women Artists, and Riverside Arts Center


Shang deinstall at UMMA

Images courtesy of UMMA.

For 12 years, going through UMMA's front entrance was the second thing you did when you arrived at the museum. The first thing was to swing on Shang, the giant metal sculpture by Mark di Suvero.  But a private collector bought the piece and it was deinstalled in early October. UMMA is encouraging folks to share photos of themselves on the swing with the hashtag #GoodbyeShang. Click here to read a great letter from an anonymous visitor who left a laminated letter attached to Shang with magnets; let's hope your experience on the swing has half as revelatory as it was for this fan.

While a distinctive piece of art that's part UMMA's exterior has left, a new one has been installed through October 26.

Ibrahim Mahama's In-Between the World and Dreams is hanging off the front of UMMA; it's comprised of hundreds of sewn-together jute sacks, which are used to transport cocoa beans, food, charcoal, and more in his home country of Ghana. There is 4,452 square feet of burlap in the UMMA installation, which is Mahama's first large-scale work to be shown in the U.S. The artist worked with members of his community in Ghana to sew everything together, using the work as a commentary on commerce, global exchange, and colonialism—and the invisible labor performed by people of color in these situations. There is an additional installation at the U-M Institute for the Humanities Gallery, which can be seen and heard from the sidewalk.

Mahama will discuss In-Between the World and Dreams via video on Friday, Oct. 23 at 8 pm as part of Penny Stamps Speaker Series.

We previously wrote about UMMA's fall 2020 virtual exhibitions here.

As with UMMA, the inside of Stamps Gallery is only open to University of Michigan faculty, staff, and students for its fall 2020 exhibitions (Tuesdays and Fridays, 2 pm-7 pm), but the current exhibits are also on the website, including:

Respond/ Resist/ Rethink: A Stamps Student Poster & Video Exhibition
Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design students created posters and videos with social messages that encourage communities to build (or rebuild) on "racial equality, justice, and belonging."

Real and Imagined: Fabric Works and Video Animations by Heidi Kumao
Stamps Professor Heidi Kumao created experimental animations and fabric works that tell stories inspired, in part, by the #MeToo movement and the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford.

Get Out the Vote: Empowering the Women’s Vote
A collection of posters designed to honor the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The above exhibitions run through December 4, but Sheryl Oring's I Wish to Say goes through November 1. For this project, Oring is collecting notes addressed to the next president written by college students across the country, then she stages the missives as virtual performances every Tuesday from 4.30 pm-6.30 pm and Sunday from 1 pm-3 pm on Zoom. (Oring's work last appeared in 2017 at Stamps as part of Vital Signs for a New America.)

Outside the U-M ecosystem, there are numerous shows at galleries and retail spaces.

Back in August we wrote about the Leon Makiewlski virtual exhibit at Ypsilanti's Michigan Art Gallery, and that's still viewable as the space prepares its next show, Mignonette Yin Cheng's Her Joyful Eye, which opens November 14. Cheng is professor emerita of painting at the University of Michigan School of Art and we plan to have a full review of that exhibit.

We also wrote about WSG Gallery's recent virtual exhibitions—Sara Adlerstein's Not for Sale: My Private Collection and Francesc Burgos' Recent Workas well as the in-person exhibit that's being hosted by Ann Arbor Art Center (A2AC). But we've yet to write about A2AC's mural project because we were waiting for all the works to be completed so we could pen a review, which should run soon. A2AC hired local, regional, national, and international artists to create 10 murals primarily in downtown Ann Arbor.

Gutman Gallery opened in February 2020 and was closed the following month along with everything else. But in July, the gallery reopened with limited hours to feature works by artists who were to show at the canceled Ann Arbor Art Fairs. This month the Gutman Gallery is running Pop! A Pop Culture Art Exhibition, featuring work by 11 of its member artists.

Speaking of pop, Ann Arbor's Eat More Tea (211 E. Ann St.) is hosting a pop-up show October 16-18 featuring the works of Los Angeles jewelry artist Eric Silva and Traverse City pottery maker Phil Wilson

The Ann Arbor Women Artists (AAWA) had a juried exhibition in the spring that is available to view online. Juror Edward Kenney picked 40 pieces for this show, which was supposed to be held at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor in late March through April. AAWA is currently selecting pieces for its next exhibit, Racial Dialogues Through Art.

Finally, Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti is still accepting submissions for its community art project Present: An Online Exhibit. The gallery is accepting photos and scans of all sorts of creative activities, from painting and cooking to sculpture and poems. 

Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.