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Exhibitions and Events

U-M Stamps School of Art & Design announces Fall 2016 Penny Stamps Speaker Series

By Truly Render

View of the Matthaei Botanical Gardens conservatory from the perennial garden. Photo courtesy Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum.

The University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design’s Penny Stamps Speaker Series is pleased to announce their fall 2016 line-up.

The Penny Stamps Speaker Series offers the Ann Arbor community presentations by creative movers and shakers from across the globe. This fall, the Series will present 12 speaker series events including Mark Mothersbaugh, visual artist and co-founder, lead singer, and keyboardist of the popular band DEVO; Fred Gelli, brand designer for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games; Jane Fulton Suri, partner Emeritus at IDEO; and many more.

Two distinguished speakers will have events in addition to their Michigan Theater talks: animator, director, designer, and performer Miwa Matreyek and visual artist Athi-Patra Ruga. Details are as follows:

  • Miwa Matreyek will give two talks in Southeast Michigan as part of her Stamps Speaker Series engagement:
    • Thursday, October 6 at 5:10 pm in the Michigan Theater
    • Friday, October 7 at 7 pm at Dreamland Theater (26 E. Washington St., Ypsilanti).
  • Athi-Patra Ruga will give three talks in Southeast Michigan as part of her Stamps Speaker Series engagement:
    • Friday, November 4 at 7 pm at MOCAD (4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit)
    • Thursday, November 10 at 5:10 at the Michigan Theater
    • Friday, November 11 at Bona Sera (200 W. Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti) at 7 pm.

Speaking about the 2016 speaker series theme of “Seed,” Director of Visitors’ Programs for the Stamps School, Chrisstina Hamilton stated: “Seeds represent the genesis or heart of a creative concept, but they also require a healthy ecosystem to thrive. The speaker series is an active part of the ecosystem that supports creative thought in the Stamps School of Art & Design, the University of Michigan campus, and the community at large.”

Unless otherwise noted, all programs take place on Thursdays at 5:10 pm at the Michigan Theater (603 E. Liberty St.) in downtown Ann Arbor and are free of charge and open to the public.

Fall 2016 Penny Stamps Speaker Series Events


Sanford Biggers: Subjective Cosmology

September 15, 2016Sanford Biggers

Sanford Biggers is a visual artist producing paintings, sculptures, immersive installations, and videos. He also creates multimedia musical performances with his collective Moon Medicin. Biggers combines media into compelling, sensual, and witty works that address challenging and far-ranging topics in order to offer new perspectives and associations for established symbols. Topics include hip- hop, Buddhism, politics, identity, pop culture, American history, and art history.

Biggers is Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Visual Arts program and a board member of Sculpture Center, Soho House, and the CUE Foundation. His numerous awards include: the American Academy in Berlin Prize, Greenfield Prize, New York City Art Teachers Association Artist-of-the-Year, Creative Capital Project Grant, New York Percent for the Arts Commission, Art Matters Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts Award, the Lambent Fellowship in the Arts, the Pennies From Heaven/ New York Community Trust Award, Tanne Foundation Award, and Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award Grant.


Alex Schweder: Performance Architecture

September 22, 2016Alex Schweder

Alex Schweder works with architecture and performance art to complicate the distinction between occupying subjects and occupied objects. His projects include Practise Architecture at Tate Britain, Flatland at New York’s Sculpture Center, Its Form Follows Your Performance at Berlin’s Magnus Muller, A Sac of Rooms All Day Long at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Counterweight Roommate in Scope Basel, Roomograph at the deCordova Museum, and The Rise and fall in the Marrakech Biennial. The Pollack Krasner and Graham Foundations have funded his projects. Schweder is the author of Stalls Between Walls, an essay included in Ladies and Gents, the Gendering of Public Toilets. He is a three-time artist in residence at the Kohler Company and held residence at the Chinati Foundation and American Academy in Rome. Schweder has been a guest professor at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Pratt Institute, and the Institute for Art and Architecture in Vienna.


Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia

September 29, 2016Mark Motherbaugh

A composer, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, author, and visual artist, Mark Mothersbaugh is best known as co-founder, lead singer, and keyboardist of the popular band DEVO. He has also written musical scores for video games, television series (including Rugrats, Beakman’s World, Santo Bugito, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and Regular Show), and films (including Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou).

Mothersbaugh’s visual art practice preceded his musical career, and he continues to add to a prolific body of work that includes prints, drawings, paintings, sculptures, rugs, musical instruments, videos, and performances. From his popular music to his personal artwork, Mothersbaugh’s unique artistic view constantly foregrounds the relationship between technology and individuality. His life and work is the subject of a major book and traveling museum retrospective, Myopia, tracing the path from his DEVO days to the present. Mothersbaugh will be in conversation with Adam Lerner, Director and Chief Animator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and author of the book Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia and curator of the exhibition.


Mira Matreyek: Dreaming with Your Shadow

October 6, 2015
Additional Event: October 7, 2016 – 7 pm – Dreamland Theater (26 E. Washington St., Ypsilanti)

Miwa Matreyek. Photo courtesy Amanda Shank.

Photo courtesy Amanda Shank.

Miwa Matreyek is an animator, director, designer, and performer based in Los Angeles. She creates live, staged performances where she interacts with her animations as a shadow silhouette, at the cross section of cinematic and theatrical, fanatical and tangible, illusionistic and physical, the hand-made and the high-tech. Her work exists in a dreamlike visual space that makes invisible worlds visible, often weaving surreal and poetic narratives of conflict between man and nature. Matreyek has performed extensively, including animation/film festivals, theater/performance festivals, art museums, science museums, and tech conferences. Other performances have included TEDGlobal, MoMA New York, Sundance, Future of Storytelling, the Exploratorium, Adler Planetarium, ISEA conference, Meta.Morph (Norway), Anima Mundi (Brazil), and many more. She is also a co-founder and collaborator of the multi-media theater company, Cloud Eye Control and a recipient of the Creative Capital Award, Sherwood Award, and Princess Grace Award.


Not An Alternative: Tactics for the Anthropocene

October 13, 2016Not An Alternative

Not An Alternative is a NY-based collective that works at the intersection of art, activism, and critical theory. Its mission is to affect popular understandings of histories, symbols, and institutions through the occupation and redeployment of popular vernacular, semiotics, and memes. Not An Alternative was named in the NY Times and ArtNet’s “Best in Art in 2015” round-ups. The group’s installations, performances, and presentations have been featured within art institutions such as Guggenheim (NY), PS1/MOMA (NY), Queens Museum (NY), Brooklyn Museum (NY), Tate Modern (London), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), MOCAD (Detroit), and Museo del Arte Moderno (Mexico City), and in the public sphere, where they collaborate with community groups and activist mobilizations. Not An Alternative’s latest, ongoing project is The Natural History Museum, a mobile and pop-up museum that highlights the socio-political forces that shape nature, yet are excluded from traditional natural history museums. The mission of The Natural History Museum project is to affirm the truth of science. The Museum inquires into what we see, how we see, and what remains excluded from our seeing.

Presenting for the group, its co-founder Beka Economopoulos has 15 years experience as a grassroots organizer, working with local, national, and international NGOs and activist mobilizations. She is currently the VP at Fission Strategy, a consultancy specializing in new media approaches to online advocacy, organizing, and communications. Prior to joining Fission, Beka directed the Online Organizing team at Greenpeace USA. She is a senior trainer and Advisory Board member at the New Organizing Institute, the only formal training institution for online organizing in the U.S.


Wynwood Walls

October 20, 2016Wynwood Walls

Dark, gritty, and desolate were words used to describe the Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood in 2006. Wanting to revitalize the neighborhood, renowned place- maker, the late property developer and patron of the arts Tony Goldman, saw the natural vocabulary of Wynwood was the hand painted signage, graphics and graffiti. In 2009, Wynwood Walls began, arguably the nation’s only outdoor street art museum, open to the public without charge. Comprised of six separate warehouses, the exterior walls serve as giant canvases for the greatest street art collection ever assembled in one place. In 2010, the Wynwood Doors were added in what was formally a junkyard. The culmination of the project is the Wynwood Walls Garden, completed in December 2015. The project expands the privately owned and funded Wynwood Walls Garden to an incredible 45,000 square feet of open space in an urban core.

The project has evolved into a living Museum of the Streets, with new murals added each year, attracting hundreds of thousands of people. Since its inception, the space has seen over 70 artists representing 18 countries who have covered over 85,000 square feet of walls, all at the center of a now thriving, diverse, highly artistic, and inspiring neighborhood.

  • Jessica Goldman Srebnick is the CEO of Goldman Properties and the founder of Goldman Global Arts (GGA), an organization that produces impactful, conceptual, and large-scale creative projects globally. GGA’s first project is an integration of world-class art into Miami’s Sunlife Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins. Goldman Srebnick oversees the company’s portfolio of assets in New York, Philadelphia, Miami Beach, and Miami’s emerging Wynwood Arts District, with a key focus on the vitality, aesthetic, and artistic components of all products created by the firm.
  • Tristan Eaton is a graffiti artist, street art muralist, illustrator, and toy designer. Eaton’s large-scale mural work features a meticulous, visual collage of pop imagery executed freehand with spray paint on a colossal scale. Eaton’s large-scale mural work can be found in cities across the globe from Paris to Shanghai and is part of the Museum of Modern Art NY’s permanent collection.
  • Kashink is one of the few active female artists in the French graffiti/street art scene. She wears a mustache and only paints men, preferably fat and hairy, looking like sensitive gangsters, alien-looking ogres, or shaman from ancient tribes. Inspired by both Hispanic and Slavic origins of pop art, her work considers issues of the absurdity of social interactions through the theme of masks and the various cultural traditions surrounding death. Kashink’s work has been shown in galleries across Europe, Canada, and the US including solo two solo shows: “Gayfitti” and “Paganism.”


Iris van Herpen and Philip Beesley: New Bodies, New Worlds

October 27, 2016Iris van Herpen

Philip Beesley
Philip Beesley is a practicing visual artist, architect, and professor whose widely cited work is focused on the rapidly expanding technology and culture of responsive and interactive systems. His Toronto-based practice, Philip Beesley Architect Inc., operates in partnership with the Europe- based practice Pucher Seifert, the Waterloo-based Adaptive Systems Group, and in numerous collaborations including longstanding exchanges with couture designer Iris van Herpen. Though his practices, Beesley combines the disciplines of professional architecture, science, engineering, and visual art. The studio’s methods incorporate industrial design, digital prototyping, instrument making, and mechatronics engineering. Beesley has authored and edited sixteen books and proceedings, and has appeared on the cover of Artificial Life (MIT), LEONARDO and AD journals. Features include national CBC news, Vogue, WIRED, and a series of TED talks. His work was selected to represent Canada at the 2010 Venice Biennale for Architecture, and he has been recognized by the Prix de Rome in Architecture, VIDA 11.0, FEIDAD, two Governor General’s Awards, Architizer A+ Art Award, and as a Katerva finalist.

Iris van Herpen
Iris van Herpen stands for reciprocity between craftsmanship and innovation in technique and materials. She creates a modern view on Haute Couture that combines fine handwork techniques with digital technology. Van Herpen forces fashion to the extreme contradiction between beauty and regeneration. It is her unique way to reevaluate reality and so to express and underline individuality.

The essence of van Herpen is expressing the character and emotions of a woman and to extend the shape of the feminine body in detail. She mixes craftsmanship — using old and forgotten techniques — with innovation and materials inspired on the world to come. Van Herpen prefers interdisciplinary research and often collaborates with scientists and other artists, such as Philip Beesley.


Fred Gelli: Inspiration from fruit skins and using design to change the world

November 3, 2016Fred Gelli
Fred Gelli is co-founder and creative director of Tátil, a strategic consultancy that uses design to create sustainable connections between people and brands, such as Coca-Cola, P&G, Philips, and TIM. Over his 27-year career trajectory, Gelli has accumulated over 100 national and international awards, including iF Design Award, IDEA – USA, D&AD, and Cannes Lions. Recently, Gelli designed the Rio 2016TM Olympic and Paralympic Games Brands and served as the 2016 Creative Director of the Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies in Rio.

In 2014, Fred was included in Fast Company’s ranking of the 100 Most Creative People in the world, while his company was included in the Top 10 Most Innovative in South America. In the same year, Brazilian magazine Época named him one of the 50 Most Influential Brazilians. For the last 15 years, Fred has been a university professor in the fields of Ecodesign and Biomimicry at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.


Mary Mattingly

November 9, 2016 – 5:10 pm – Rackham Amphitheater Mary Mattingly

Mary Mattingly’s work collapses boundaries between performance, sculpture, architecture, and documentation. Through wearable environments and autonomous living systems, her practice addresses nomadic themes that are based on the need to migrate due to current and future environmental and political situations.

Mary is the founder of the Waterpod Project: a self-sufficient habitat and public space atop a barge built to explore future collaborative living situations. It docked throughout New York’s harbor, with artists living onboard testing the ecosystem for the project’s duration. Over 200,000 people visited the Waterpod in 2009.

Formally contingent on mapping worldwide human migration patterns, Mary’s current projects are itinerant, small-scale architectural interventions that morph into preexisting structures, reflecting city dwellers’ movements and exchanges while attempting to alter the despotic effects of economic development.

Her work has exhibited internationally and been featured in ArtForum, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Financial Times, Le Monde Magazine, ICON, The Brooklyn Paper, Aperture, BBC News, MSNBC, Fox 5, and WNBC.

In residence with the U-M Institute for the Humanities, Mattingly will complete an installation in the Institute Gallery and an outdoor burial project on the U-M Central Campus Diag, chronicling the trappings of student life on campus.

Athi-Patra Ruga: Queens in Exile

November 10, 2016

Additional Event: November 7, 2016 – 4–7 pm @ MOCAD (4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit)Athi-Patra Ruga

Exploring the border-zones between fashion, performance and contemporary art, Athi-Patra Ruga makes work that exposes and subverts the body in relation to structure, ideology, and politics. Bursting with eclectic multicultural references, carnal sensuality, and a dislocated undercurrent of humor, Ruga’s work creates a world where cultural identity is no longer determined by geographical origins, ancestry, or biological disposition, but is increasingly becoming a hybrid construct. A Utopian counter-proposal to the dogma of division between mind and body, sensuality and intelligence, pop culture, craft and fine art, Ruga’s works expresses the eroticism of knowledge and reconciles the dream with experience.

Recent exhibitions include: AFRICA: Architecture, Culture and Identity at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; Imaginary Fact at the South African Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale; African Odysseys at The Brass Artscape in Brussels; Public Intimacy at the SFMOMA, San Francisco; The Film Will Always Be You: South African Artists on Screen at the Tate Modern in London; and Making Africa at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Athi-Patra Ruga was also recently included in the Phaidon book ‘Younger Than Jesus’, a directory of over 500 of the world’s best artists under the age of 33.


Jane Fulton Suri: Inspired by Life

November 17, 2016Jane Fulton Suri

Jane Fulton Suri is Partner Emeritus and Executive Design Director at IDEO where, for nearly 30 years, she has been uncovering insight to inform and inspire design for organizations worldwide. Jane came to IDEO with a background in psychology and architecture and the ambition to bring social science-based perspectives to design practice. She pioneered human-centered approaches, empathic observation and experience prototyping. She has co-authored and published several design tools to promote human-centered practices: IDEO’s Thoughtless Acts?, the book of snapshots to model close observation of day to day interactions, and, most recently, The Little Book of Design Research Ethics.

Working variously in Tokyo, Cambridge, and California, Fulton Suri focuses on developing future creative leaders. Shas taught at the California College of the Arts, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley, and other schools internationally. Her work has won design and research awards, including Industrial Designers Society of America and Industrie Form Europe, and she holds several patents for design innovations.


Roland Graf: From the Ground Up

December 1, 2016Roland Graf - credit Klaus Pichler

An Austrian artist, architect and designer, Roland Graf crosses many disciplines to design objects, to intervene in public spaces, and to develop experimental human interfaces. Since 1997, he’s served as co-director of the artist collective Assocreation, which is best known for its award-winning interactive installations that often manipulate sidewalks and public thoroughfares. Examples of this interactivity include Bump (Prix Ars Electronica Distinction 2001) and the street video game Solar Pink Pong (Excellence Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival, Nomination for the New Technological Art Award 2016); Solar Pink Pong is also part of Graf’s recent Daylight Media Lab research initiative at the University of Michigan. While Graf enjoys working on a wide variety of projects both as a collaborator and an individual, his concepts are all rooted in the same interests: space, technology, and human interaction.

Graf’s work has been shown internationally at art festivals, museums, galleries, design fairs, film festivals, conferences, and computer expos. Venues include the Bienal de Valencia, The Vienna Künstlerhaus, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, CENTRALE for contemporary art in Bruxelles, Milan Design Week, AVIFF Art Film Festival in Cannes, Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, CeBIT in Hannover, TEI’15 in Stanford, as well as in the streets of New York, Detroit, Sao Paulo, Istanbul, Mumbai, Hong Kong, and Kathmandu.

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