The red walls grabbed my attention as soon as I entered the exhibition and the large text on one begins: “For most historical African objects in museum collections, the artist’s name is unrecorded.”
The artists’ names were rarely recorded, because, as the curators of UMMA's Unrecorded: Reimagining Artist Identities in Africa point out, the objects were considered "artifacts" rather than "artworks."
Organized by Allison Martino, the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow from 2016-2017 and Laura De Becker, Helmut and Candis Stern Associate Curator of African Art, the exhibition asks the viewer to question why these omissions are a common occurrence in museums. The 19th-century practice of “collecting significant objects to bring home” informed the Euro-American imagination through “the kinds of objects they acquired, as well as the information they chose to record.”
Ann Arbor Art Center’s current exhibition, Written Into Rock, explores imagery associated with the Earth, geology, and human impact on the environment. Curated by Gina Iacobelli, the exhibition features the works of seven artists dispersed throughout the gallery instead of placing works by each artist together.
The exhibition announcement states that the show “is an exploration of the ways in which humans have altered the natural landscape,” and was in part initially inspired by writings of Donna Haraway and Heather Davis, who explore ideas relating to the Anthropocene era, a “new geologic area defined by human’s mark on the geologic record.”
Michigan Medicine’s Gifts of Art program regularly supports artists while working to “revitalize and enrich lives” of patients and visitors. The latest Gifts of Art series on display in various parts of University Hospital is available to view through June 10. The eight small exhibits in Gifts of Art's nine galleries feature the works of artists Tina West, Richard Light, John Dempsey, Mary Brodbeck, Aimee Lee, Re Kielar, f8collective, and WCC faculty, staff, and students.
The University of Michigan Museum of Art’s exhibition Exercising the Eye: The Gertrude Kasle Collection presents an array of works by influential artists of the 20th century. Many of these artists, as pointed out by the exhibition organizers, were, in part, brought to prominence in the Midwest by Gertrude Kasle’s (1917-2016) promotion of their works.
The U-M Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Department of Women’s Studies exhibition Labors of Love and Loss is a collection of mixed-media pieces exploring gender and race and "considers the intertwined lives of caregivers, their dependents and charges.” The exhibition presents the works of Marianetta Porter and Lisa Olson, featuring processes such as letterpress combined with found objects. Though Porter and Olson’s works differ in some respects, they create a cohesive, important dialogue about the history of women’s work and the intersections between race, gender, and class, expertly portrayed through text and object.
What exactly is the exhibit, and what are the Labors of Love and Loss that the title refers?
Detroit-based artist and University of Michigan lecturer Joyce Brienza received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Wayne State University and earned an MFA at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She has exhibited her paintings nationally and internationally, and her work addresses often-dichotomous themes, exploring her interest in “places between.”
I talked to Brienza about her Floating Points exhibit in the Rotunda Gallery at U-M's North Campus Research Complex, which engages with themes of the unconscious/conscious, male/female, and high/low art.
Dalia Reyes is a Detroit-based artist and arts administrator with an undergraduate degree from the College for Creative Studies. In her artist statement for the exhibition Rainbow Body at the Connections Gallery in U-M's North Campus Research Complex, Reyes suggests her work “focuses on pushing fantasy into everyday scenery; where plants have names and all that glitters is definitely gold.”
I caught up with Reyes to ask a few questions about her process, cosmic fantasy, and upcoming projects.
What is drawing now?
This is one question the Art Now: Drawing exhibition at the Ann Arbor Art Center asks its viewers.
As it turns out, drawing is more than just ink or graphite on paper.
Aftermath: Landscapes of Devastation is a small, excellently curated photo exhibition at UMMA that addresses the relationship between disasters, their images, and viewers. Chronicling an immense range of historical disasters, the exhibit is comprised of shots from the beginning days of photography that have captured remnants of destruction.
Two complementary exhibitions at Stamps Gallery engage in themes of social and political progress through photography and graphic design.
Celebrate People’s History posters, a project organized by Josh MacPhee since 1998, is “rooted in the do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced and distributed political propaganda,” according to the Stamps website. Furthermore, “in dark times, it’s rare that a political poster is celebratory, and when it is, it almost always focuses on a small canon of male individuals: MLK, Gandhi, Che, or Mandela.”