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Exhibitions and Events

'The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene' opening at UMMA

By Sydney Hawkins

ANN ARBOR—A new exhibition at the U-M Museum of Art is inspired by the impact of climate change around the world.

Opening April 27, “The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene” will feature a “collage of ecological issues” by 45 international artists that work across a spectrum of media—including photography, video and sculpture—to address broader themes of deluge, raw materials, consumption, extinction, symbiosis, justice and imaginary futures. The “anthropocene” describes a new geological epoch in which human activity impacts the ecological balance of the planet and is the main driver of change, at a global scale.

“The World to Come” addresses a range of topics—from disaster and environmental devastation and loss to the emergence of new bonds and alliances between humans and nonhumans.

It tackles topics such as fast-growing populations, waste and resource scarcity, inequality and protest, and the effects of technology. The artists featured also make a call for optimism with new ways of imagining a vibrant future for the world to come.

“When visitors come to the exhibition, what I mostly want them to do is to have a chance to pay attention, to really think and see deeply the beauty of our world and how important it is for us to keep it whole,” said Kerry Oliver-Smith, curator of “World to Come” and curator of contemporary art at the University of Florida Harn Museum.

“Artists can change the status quo. They help us not only see the damage in the world, but they really do let us understand our strong bond with nature and how much we are the same.”

The exhibition brings together artists from across the world, demonstrating a shared international engagement around these global issues.

“‘The World to Come’ visualizes a world’s worth of perspectives on climate issues,” said Jennifer Friess, assistant curator of photography at UMMA. “By bringing this exhibition to the University of Michigan, we hope to foreground the deep thinking artists are sharing as part of the critical conversations already happening in Ann Arbor and this region around issues of environmental research and sustainability.”

The exhibition is on view April 27-July 28 at the U-M Museum of Art, located at 525 S. State St. in Ann Arbor. UMMA is free and open to the public 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

“The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene” is organized by the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida. Support is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, UF Office of the Provost, National Endowment for the Arts, C. Frederick and Aase B. Thompson Foundation, Ken and Laura Berns, Daniel and Kathleen Hayman, Ken and Linda McGurn, Susan Milbrath, an anonymous foundation, UF Center for Humanities and the Public Sphere, UF Office of Research, and Robert and Carolyn Thoburn, with additional support from a group of environmentally minded supporters, the Robert C. and Nancy Magoon Contemporary Exhibition and Publication Endowment, Harn Program Endowment and Harn Annual Fund.

Lead support for the local presentation of the exhibition is provided by Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, U-M Office of the Provost, Michigan Medicine, Tom Porter in honor of the Michigan Climate Action Network, Herbert W. and Susan L. Johe Endowment, U-M Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, and U-M School of Environment and Sustainability.


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