Causing Moments: WSG Gallery's “Lynda Cole: Recent Places and Themes”


Lynda Cole, Two-2

Lynda Cole's Two-2; oil stick, cold wax on Terraskin, mounted on Gator Board.

Local artist Lynda Cole is back at the WSG Gallery with another adventure in abstraction that’s as much about her sense of self as it is an exploration of art itself.

The last time we saw her work was in November 2015 when she held North to be as much a state of mind as it is a navigational direction. As I wrote at that time, Cole’s North exhibition was a “fusing of time and space -- through a particular state of mind.”

Her Recent Places and Themes is more of the same. As Cole says in her gallery statement, “Months ago, when I began working on paintings for this show, I was exploring the simple way in which two colors would interact.”

UMMA's "Aftermath: Landscapes of Devastation" ponders our relationship to disaster images


Peter Turnley, New York, 9-11

Peter Turnley's New York, 9-11-01, 2001, archival pigment print; University of Michigan Museum of Art; gift of David and Jennifer Kieselstein, 2016/2.504.

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.

Homes and Homelands: Yaa Gyasi at Rackham Auditorium


U-M professors Guarev Desai and Aida Levy-Hussen joined author Yaa Gyasi (center) at Rackham Auditorium on Feb. 6.

U-M professors Gaurav Desai and Aida Levy-Hussen joined author Yaa Gyasi (center) at Rackham Auditorium on Feb. 6. Photo by Lisa Powers.

I am a little afraid to read Yaa Gyasi’s novel, Homegoing, much for the same reason I’ve picked up but never finished reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved. I’m gun shy when it comes to fiction that portrays, in any fashion, chattel slavery. I’ve never even seen Roots. For me, there is something extremely uncomfortable about knowing my existence and all the opportunities that have come with it are a direct result of my ancestors’ suffering.

On Feb. 6, I had to face my fears to a certain degree at “Homegoing: A Conversation with Yaa Gyasi,” the 2018 Institute for the Humanities Jill S. Harris Memorial Lecture, which took place at Rackham Auditorium. Homegoing is also the 2018 Washtenaw Reads book, a title selected by a panel of community members from Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline, and Ypsilanti. The Washtenaw Reads program aims to promote reading and dialogue through community members experiencing and discussing a common book.

Two Stamps exhibitions explore the intersection of the political and the personal


Celebrate People's History posters at Stamps Gallery

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.”

Keeping Promises: Joe Biden at the Michigan Theater


Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. Official White House Photo by David Lienemann.

Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. Official White House Photo by David Lienemann.

I have a chaste crush on Joe Biden.

There is something special about him that shines through in a way that speaks to my heart. He’s one of those people onto whom I have projected unsolicited personal significance. When times are tough, Joe Biden is one of those people I think of to help me through a difficult time.

When I found out he was going to be at the Michigan Theater as a part of his American Promise tour, I bought a ticket immediately.  Now, 193 days later, a failed attempt to download my ticket, three customer service calls, and one backup ticket purchase later I found myself in a large line of people waiting to hear the former vice president on Monday, Feb. 5.

Artistic Pedagogy: "Dancing Globally" at the University of Michigan


Madeline Joss and Nicolas Hopkin dance in Ohad Naharin's Mabul at University of Michigan's Dancing Globally

U-M students Madeline Joss and Nicolas Hopkin dance in Ohad Naharin's Mabul.

You’re setting the energy level pretty high when you blast a Dick Dale surf-guitar version of “Hava Nagila” before the lights even go down. My expectations were high, too, for the first night of University of Michigan Department of Dance’s four-day Dancing Globally event (Feb. 1-4).

Multiverses of Meaning: "Constellations" at Theatre Nova


Constellations at Theatre Nova

Meghan VanArsdalen and Forrest Hejkal navigate the multiverse in Constellations. Photo by Jee-Hak Pinsoneault.

British playwright Nick Payne’s celebrated two-person play Constellations deals with quantum multiverses: multiple universes in which many different outcomes can come from the same, or a similar starting point. But don’t worry, you don’t need a Ph.D. in theoretical physics to understand and love the play, which is at Theatre Nova until Feb. 18.

Encore Theatre shakes it up with “The Million Dollar Quartet”


Encore Theatre's Million Dollar Quartet

The Million Dollar Quartet +1 rocks its way through the Encore Theatre. Photo by Michele Anliker.

Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on at the Encore Musical Theatre in Dexter as the way-back machine takes us to Dec. 4, 1956, when Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash came together for the first and last time as a quartet.

The Colin Escott-Floyd Mutrux jukebox musical The Million Dollar Quartet is less a historically accurate presentation of that day than an all out celebration of these four seminal figures in the history of rock 'n' roll and Sam Philips, owner of Memphis’ Sun Records and their mentor, producer and father figure (though only a few years older).

Black Lives Matter: Ebony G. Patterson's "Of 72" & "...and babies too..."


Ebony G. Patterson's Of 72 & ...and babies too...

Ebony G. Patterson's complementary works at U-M Institute for the Humanities address violence, identity, and the forgotten. Foreground: …and babies too… (mixed media, 120" x 58" x 10", 2016). Background: Of 72 (mixed media on paper, 19" x 13", 2011). Photo by Christopher Porter.

On May 23, 2010, Jamaican police and military entered the impoverished Kingston neighborhood Tivoli Gardens, a stronghold of drug lord Christopher Coke, leader of the infamous Shower Posse. The United States had ordered the extradition of the now-convicted Coke, and at least 73 civilians were killed by security forces as they searched for the man more commonly known as Dudus. (He wasn’t captured until June 23.)

Ebony G. Patterson’s Of 72 installation, on view at U-M’s Institute for the Humanities through Feb. 9, addresses this “state-sponsored mini-Armageddon,” as writer Annie Paul called it, and it also explores the complexities of black identity as a whole.

WSG's "Sixteen Plus Sixteen" pairs gallery members & their selected artists


Stewards of Creation, La Palouse, WA photo by Nina Hauser

Nina Hauser's Stewards of Creation, La Palouse, WA; iPhone photograph printed on archival paper using pigment inks; 5"x7"; 1/10.

The annual Sixteen Plus Sixteen features the work of WSG gallery members and their chosen guests. The 16 invited artists’ works are then shown alongside the works of WSG’s 16 represented artists.

As stated on WSG's website, the showing is “always an exciting art-filled time with lots of vibrant new pieces.” The gallery certainly represents many vibrant works, representing a diversity in practice and media. The show includes paintings, sculpture, ceramics, fabric, photography, books, and much more.