Back to all news stories

Cultural Collections

In the News: December – March media coverage

The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History


3/1/17 Burton Tower Lighting Unveiling Dinner at Rackham.

Friday essay: finding spaces for love
History of Art professor Patricia Simons explores how visual depictions and ideas about ‘love’ have changed over the centuries before modernity.
Read more: The Converstaion

In time of racial tension, U-M stages a contemporary look at slavery
Timothy Douglas is directing the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance play ‘Insurrection: Holding History‘, a show that stages a contemporary look at slavery. “At its essence,” Douglas said, “it’s a play about knowing one’s history, that without knowing one’s history, one cannot really self-identify and move forward in a productive way in the world.” Insurrection: Holding History is “not for the meek, but very entertaining and necessary.”
Read more: Michigan Radio

Maize and blue lighting installed at iconic Burton Memorial Tower
The Burton Memorial Tower will glow in new maize and blue lighting for the UMich200 Bicentennial Spring Festival, celebrating the University of Michigan’s 200th year. Starting the week of April 3, the tower will be illuminated with white lights that transition to maize and blue, and will end with a multimedia light show supporting the ‘True Blue! A Tribute to Michigan’ event at Hill Auditorium on April 8.
Read more: MLive

My story – narrative art
Srimoyee Mitra
 speaks about how she switched from being a writer and a theatre professional to pursuing a career in arts and curation. Mitra will assume the role of inaugural director of the new U-M Stamps Gallery, the 8,000-squarefoot space situated on the first floor of McKinley Towne Centre in downtown Ann Arbor, on April 3.
Read more: Times of India

University of Michigan features extensive inmate art exhibition
“We tend to think of prisoners as people who are all defined by the very worst thing they ever did. We want people to know something else about them, to give a fuller picture of who these people are in their human complexity,” said Ashley Lucas, associate professor of theatre and drama and the Residential College, commenting on the Prison Creative Arts Project currently featured on campus.
Read more: Michigan Radio

“Released, but Not Free” by Bryan Picken, featured in the 22nd Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners.

Nashville lies at the heart of a divided country: ‘Trump got bubbas to the polls’
Nadine Hubbs, a professor of music at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, commented on social divides and economic inequalities that we need to pay attention to. “The way people who are prospering look down on folks who are in rural spaces, often associated with country music, creates the kind of divisions that are really hard to bridge.”
Read more: The Guardian

How do we determine when a behavior is normal
Research by Julia Lippman, lecturer in communication studies, suggests that romantic-comedy films featuring men behaving in a stalker-like way can make women more likely to tolerate real-life obsessive behavior.
Read more: BBS


‘Sensory[PLAYSCAPE]’ is created with elastic textiles created with a computer controlled knitter.

An architect designed this soft, immersive jungle gym for his autistic daughter
U-M professor Sean Ahlquist designed an interactive and immersive playscape constructed from 3D-knitted elastic textiles for his autistic daughter. The project, called ‘Sensory[PLAYSCAPE]’, was created by a cross-disciplinary group of U-M researchers led by Ahlquist.
Read more: Co.Design

The “tiny, tiny train” in a gigantic city: An outsider’s ode to Detroit’s People Mover
Professor Nick Tobier’s book ‘Looping Detroit: A People Mover Travelogue’ is a collection of essays, photographs and poems inspired by Detroit’s People Mover. Tobier, who is originally from New York City, brings an outsider’s perspective to the People Mover.
Read more: Michigan Radio

DSO hosts art exhibition by Detroit artists
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is hosting an exhibition with work from Detroit artists in the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center. Melanie Manos, a professor at the U-M Stamps School of Art and Design, will be exhibiting her large-scale photography.
Read more: The Detroit News

Michigan gives patients ‘Gifts of Art’: BTN LiveBIG
Michigan Medicine’s Gifts of Art program brings visual art and music to U-M’s network of hospitals and health clinics. “We do this to calm, comfort, support and [it] assists the healing process,” says program director Elaine Sims. “What I’ve seen is that when you’re in a hospital, your regular, normal world is stripped away and you’re in a very primal, vulnerable space. Art is a primal, basic survival skill.”
Read more: Big Ten Network

Gifts of Art brings both visual art and music into spaces most beneficial to patients.

We used to talk to the person in line behind us. Now we look at our phones.
“What happens when they actually have to talk to a stranger in real-life social space? Are they going to be able to carry on appropriate social interactions? Are they going to be limited just to the friends that they have in their virtual social network?” asked Daniel Kruger, research assistant professor at the Institute for Social Research, regarding today’s young people growing up in a world saturated with smartphones.
Read more: Michigan Radio

Art & Soul – The Visual Arts: A Busy Time For Openings And Events
Lisa Herbert Borgsdorf, manager of public programs for the U-M Museum of Art (UMMA), was featured on WEMU’s Art & Soul. Borgsdorf spoke about the current events and exhibition happening at (UMMA), including the Victors for The Arts Bicentennial exhibition.
Read more: WEMU 89.1

DuPage Symphony Orchestra presents ‘Gershwin Greats’
William Bolcom’s “Concerto Grosso for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra” will be performed by the DuPage Symphony Orchestra on March 18–19 in Naperville, Illinois. Bolcom taught at the University of Michigan for 35 years, and has been awarded the National Medal of Arts, the Pulitzer Prize and two Grammys over the course of his career.
Read more: Chicago Tribune

The “Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon” was first of its kind hosted in Ann Arbor as part of the annual international effort that coincides with Women’s History Month.

Women and the arts are focus of Wikipedia edit-a-thin
On Saturday, March 11th, people gathered the Shapiro Undergraduate Library for a Wikipedia edit-a-thon. The event was focused on bringing gender equity to Wikipedia, specifically on the topic of women and the arts. Meghan Sitar, director of connected scholarship at the U-M library, said “A lot of this, it’s about learning how to participate in that (Wikipedia) community. People tend to know it can be edited, but not how it can be edited.”
Read more: Detroit Free Press

Evan Spiegel has described Snap as a camera company. He tells us what that means
Comments by Nicole Ellison, professor of information, were featured in an article about the growth of Snapchat and what the future holds for the image-messaging mobile app.
Read more: LA Times

As alcohol gender gap narrows, women’s risk of addiction increases
“Women, more than men, are held to unattainable beauty ideals against the backdrop of a toxic food environment. This can increase the likelihood that women will bounce back and forth between the extremes of intense dietary restriction and binge eating,” said Ashley Gearhardt, assistant professor of psychology.
Read more: Chicago Tribune

The Wolverine Printing shop.

Artisan of Michigan: Printing, the art preservation of all other arts
English professor Fritz Swanson’s love of the printing press led him to establish Wolverine Press, a letterpress studio. Wolverine Press is part of the Helen Zell Writer’s Program, and is housed in a space managed by the university library. “The old printers said that printing was the art preservative of all other arts. Things are kind of backwards now, because printing is dying. But it’s the basis of modern civilization, and holding on to it means holding on to 500 years of us.”
Read more: Michigan Radio

Want to profit off your meme? Good luck if you aren’t white.
“What Peaches does, what Sweet Brown does, is always viewed as lower class, and an example of what all black people must be doing,” said professor André Brock, on the topic of online meme creators. “When white people do that online, it’s promoted as their command of the digital space. Black people are never seen as enterprising.”
Read more: Wired

For migrants headed north, the things they carried to the end
A project started at U-M by anthropologist Jason De Leon has resulted in the exhibition ‘State of Exception,’ now on display in a Manhattan gallery. The exhibit, expanded by artist Richard Barnes and U-M Institute for the Humanities curator Amanda Krugliak, features a wall of 700 backpacks and belongings of migrants who illegally crossed the U.S border.
Read more: The New York Times

Japan’s gender-bending history
Jennifer Robertson, professor of anthropology and art history, writes about Japan’s gender-bending history. “Since the word “genderless” is misleading, a better term might be “gender-more,” in the sense that young men – especially in Tokyo – are insisting on the right to present and express themselves in ways that contradict and exceed traditional masculinity.”
Read more: The Conversation

Lies, propaganda and fake news: A challenge for our age
“The internet has made it possible for many voices to be heard … (now) some of those voices are saying things we don’t like and there is great concern about how we control the dissemination of things that seem to be untrue,” said Paul Resnick, professor of information.
Read more: BBC


Inside the secret process that’s supposed to prevent an Oscars mishap
“It’s a mistake anybody can make, it’s not a mistake you pay your accountants to make,” said business professor Erik Gordon on the Oscars envelope mishap. Gordon says the implications for PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that handles the balloting and award envelopes for the Oscars, could be serious and long-lasting.
Read more: PBS NewsHour

U-M students collaborate with Reuther Library to exhibit rare photos from the Chicano movement

“Chicana Fotos” installation. Photo by Katherine Raymond.

An Exhibition Design class at the Stamps School of Art and Design taught by Hannah Smotrich and Katie Rubin have worked to co-design ‘Chicana Fotos’—a new art exhibit featuring the work of photographer and filmmaker Nancy De Los Santos. “At one point, we were all sitting around, and I said, ‘I feel like we’ve all shrunk, and we’re now living in our model,’” said U-M student Emilie Farrugia.

Read more: Culture Source

Novel explores what it means to be an outsider in America
Peter Ho Davies, professor of English language and literature, was interviewed about his new book, “The Fortunes,” which offers four linked stories that explore what it means to be Chinese in America.
Read more: Michigan Radio

University of Michigan’s Priscilla Lindsay gives advice on college auditions
Though a college audition may only take two or three minutes, it can be a stressful experience for prospective students. Priscilla Lindsay, Professor and Chair at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), helped demystify the audition process. “Take a big old deep breath, and try to have some fun. Take a deep breath, and look upon this as your chance to figuratively shake hands with every one of us.”
Read more: Paste Magazine

Want to sleep better? Start practising self-control, turn off that TV on time
Research by Jan Van den Bulck, professor of communication studies, suggests that setting a time to switch off the TV at night helps viewers get to bed at an earlier time, possibly improving sleep patterns and quality.
Read more: Hindustan Times

U-M opens new art gallery in downtown Ann Arbor
The U-M Stamps School of Art & Design has opened a new gallery in downtown Ann Arbor. Mark Nielsen, exhibition specialist for the Stamps School, said the new space is 7,000 square feet and was design to be flexible, allowing it to meet the needs of the various exhibitions hosted by the school. “It’s nice to have it all in the same space. It shows the breadth of work from freshmen to senior and runs the gamut from more classroom-oriented stuff to more independent stuff.”
Read more: MLive

U of M to offer class on recognizing fake news
A new class at U-M, called “Fake News, Lies, and Propaganda: How to Sort Fact From Fiction’, hopes to help students be savvier news consumers. “These are issues that don’t have simple answers, and so the class will help students develop habits of mind when it comes to news literacy,” said Angie Oehrli, a U-M Librarian who helped develop the course.
Read more: Michigan Radio

Atomic Highways and Byways, installation view

An artist draws out America’s buried and fenced-off toxic sites
Artist Joan Linder has explored and documented some of the industrial waste disposal areas of the Great Lakes region over the past three years. Her drawings of toxic areas in Belleville, Michigan are currently on display at the U-M Institute for the Humanities gallery in the exhibition ‘Atomic Highways and Byways.’
Read more: Hyperallergic 

Celebrating ‘Nasty Women’ and ‘Bad Hombres’
U-M Stamps School of Art & Design professor and performance artist Holly Hughes worked with artists across the globe to build a loose network of over 35 President’s Day events in response to the presidential election. “I was thinking maybe we’d get 100 people at some dive bar in Ann Arbor,” says Hughes. “Within a couple of hours, I had almost 2,000 people contacting me through Facebook and was quickly overwhelmed by people wanting to do something like this.”
Read more: The Detroit News

Riding high, Beyonce fails to break Grammy curse
“‘Lemonade’ is really about how black women are treated in society historically, and in the contemporary moment, and it’s about loving ourselves through all of that. So, in some ways, it’s kind of fitting that she was left standing there,” said LaKisha Simmons, assistant professor of history and women’s studies, on the failure of Beyonce’s multi-Grammy-nominated album to win Album or Record of the Year.
Read more: The Guardian

Pair of University of Michigan faculty members earn Grammy Awards
Michael Daugherty and Joseph Gramley, professors at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, were both awarded with a Grammy Award during the 59th annual awards ceremony on Sunday, February 12. Daugherty received the Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for his work “Tales of Hemingway,” featured on the Naxos album of the same name. Gramley received a Grammy for Best World Music as part of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble.
Read more: MLive

Detroit welcomes the Venice Architecture Biennale
“We’re moving from a period where Detroit was dealing with decline and failure to a period of ambition and success. I see the show as a symbol that will open up a new range of possibilities for the city,” said Robert Fishman, professor and interim dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, referring to the Venice Architecture Biennale Exhibition.
Read more: The Huffington Post

US Pavilion Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 “The Architectural Imagination” Photo by Stefano Rubini

Oh, say, can you hear?
There are no rules for singing America’s National anthem on Super Bowl Sunday. “There’s a ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ for everyone,” said U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance professor Mark Clague. “It would be a tragedy if it were legislated how the song should be performed. If that happened, singing the anthem would be an act of obedience, and it would lose the power to express love of country. A democracy has to put up with versions that some people find off key.”
Read more: Houston Chronicle

U-M video game cache serves as an archive, at play
The U-M Computer and Video Game Archive (CVGA) collects video games in the same way others pursue books, journals or historical artifacts. “It’s important to have an archive like this, because games are part of our culture,” said David Carter, a reference services librarian and the CVGA’s archivist. “Like all things of popular culture, eventually people want to study it seriously. And you never think of collecting that stuff when it was first coming out.”
Read more: ABC News


The Sphinx Vurtuosi at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

Black History Month: Sphinx celebrates 20 years of diversity
Detroit’s Sphinx Organization, founded by School of Music, Theatre & Dance dean Aaron Dworkin, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The program works to expose young children to classical music and boost the number of African-American and Latino string players in professional orchestras and ensembles.
Read more: The Detroit News

A language museum?
English professor Anne Curzan will serve on the Advisory Board for the newly approved language museum Planet Word. The description of Planet Word proposes “to make reading, writing, words, and language surprising, fun, fascinating, and relevant.” Exhibition will feature language in all its variations, both spoken and written, and visitors will have the chance to play with language throughout the museum.
Read more: The Chronicle of Higher Education

After 40 years, Maxine Hong Kingston’s iconic book, ‘The Woman Warrior,’ still resonates
Manan Desai, assistant professor of American culture, was interviewed for a story about the 40th anniversary of Maxine Hong Kingston’s “The Woman Warrior,” an iconic staple of literature classes that blends together stories from Chinese folklore, family secrets and an Asian-American childhood.
Read more: NCB News

Trump is wrong. ISIS can’t be beaten by torture
“Now more than ever, we must pay attention to what ISIS is trying to tell us through its visuals: namely, that it was born and bred into vengeance within the American military-penal complex,” said U-M History of Art professor Christiane Gruber in her Newsweek opinion piece. She warns that the U.S. should not “fight fire with fire” in response to President Trump’s recent declaration that torture is effective.
Read More: Newsweek

The Anthem: Six voices on the song that everyone hears differently
Mark Clague, a musicology professor at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, has spent half a lifetime studying and performing the national anthem. “It’s meant for a trained voice, an operatic voice—it’s a show-off song, which is why Key chose it. He was saying, ’Hey—we just beat the British.’ But you have to have range to sing it, and it’s always been a scary song to sing,” said Clague, on why the “The Star-Spangled Banner” is notoriously hard to sing. The article on ESPN is one of a six part series exploring the national anthem.
Read more: ESPN

Volunteers combing through links on federal agency websites. Rebecca Williams, Michigan Radio

Michigan web developers and archivists join race to back up federal agency data
Justin Schell, director of the Shapiro Design Lab, organized the Ann Arbor Data Rescue, and is helping Ann Arbor join the ‘guerrilla archiving’ movement. The Ann Arbor group of more than 275 people backed up data from agencies such as the EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Energy and NASA, and saved the information on secure, non-government websites.
Listen: WMOT-FM, NPR

New book traces the fate of Detroit buildings
Architecture professor Robert Fishman wrote the introduction to Camilo Jose Vergara’s new book Detroit is No Dry Bones, a striking visual survey of his relationship with the city stretching over 25 years. Fishman wrote that Vergara almost singlehandedly reinvented “the tradition of critical urban photography that dates back to Jacob Riis’s ‘How the Other Half Lives’ (1890) and to adapt it to what he called ‘the new American ghetto.’ ”
Read More: Detroit News

Photo from the a recent School of Music, Theatre & Dance production of “The Imaginary Invalid.”

U-M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance gets $1 million from U-M regent
U-M regent Andrea Fischer Newman and her husband, Frank, announced a gift of $1 million to support three areas within the Department of Theatre & Drama at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD). “It effectively supports the life cycle of theater students at Michigan: scholarships that help us recruit exceptional students, regardless of means; facilities that contribute to dynamic training opportunities while enrolled; and introductions to industry professionals that will help launch careers,” said SMTD dean Aaron Dworkin.
Read more: MLive

U-M faculty members follow passions to multiple Grammy nominations
Michael Daugherty and Joseph Gramley, professors at the U-M School of Music, Theatre, & Dance, have each been nominated for multiple Grammy awards. Daugherty received three for his recent album “Tales of Hemingway,” including Best Classical Compendium. Gramley is a founding member of the Silk Road Ensemble—the group is nominated in the category of Best World Music Album, for “Sing Me Home,” featuring original and traditional folk tunes interpreted by the Silk Road Ensemble, Yo-Yo Ma and a range of guest artists. The ensemble also received a nomination for Best Music Film for the documentary “The Music of Strangers,” which follows the Silk Road Ensemble as they gather in locations across the world, exploring the ways art can both preserve traditions and shape cultural evolution. This article on MLive includes a peek into Daughtry’s home studio and interviews with both professors about their nominations.
Read more: MLive

An ode to Detroit’s People Mover, a looping public transit joke
Nick Tobier, a professor at the Stamps School of Art & Design, recently compiled and edited Looping Detroit: A People Mover Travelogue, a book containing contributions by 15 local artists and writers about the Detroit People Mover, which will celebrate 30 years of operation in 2017. “I selected these artists and writers for their voices and their connections to the city, both as long-term residents and more recently arrived,” said Tobier, who also notes parallels between the People Mover and the new M-1 Rail in the city.
Read more: Hyperallergic

Avant Garden turns flora to fashion at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Avant Garden—Weaving Fashion and Nature Together, a special exhibition at U-M’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens, featured fun floral-inspired fashions constructed out of materials from the conservatory’s collection.
Read more: Culture Source


Photo courtesy of Evan Gonzalez.

Poetic Rebellion
2013 Poetry MFA alumna and program assistant Director for the Zell Writers program, Airea D. Matthews won the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets, one of the most prestigious poetry prizes in the country. She received the award for her debut poetry collection simulacra. “Once in a while a poet comes along who is not content with the surface order, who is willing to upturn conventions, who in doing so reveals what was buried, what others chose not to see,” said Vievee Francis, Matthews’ mentor and celebrated Detroit poet.
Read More: TBD

Shinola’s quest to make the best turntable you’ve ever heard
In an article that talks about Shinola’s next big product, it’s origin story and marketing plan, U-M Stamps School of Art & Design professor Rebekah Modrak’s previous comments about Shinola’s “calculated authenticity” are referenced in a discussion about the company’s “Detroit-made, American-made” claims.
Read more: WIRED

Continue Reading