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Exhibitions and Events

U-M Stamps School of Art & Design announces Fall 2017 Penny Stamps Speaker Series

A. Alfred Taubman Wing exterior; Photo by Peter Smith

The University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design’s Penny Stamps Speaker Series is pleased to announce their fall 2017 line-up.

The Penny Stamps Speaker Series brings respected innovators from a broad spectrum of fields to the School to conduct a public lecture and engage with students, faculty and the large University and Ann Arbor communities. This fall, the Series will present 12 speaker series events including Congressman John Lewis, civil rights leader and co-creator of the graphic novel trilogy ‘MARCH’; Jennifer Daniel, illustrator and creative director at Google; Art Spiegelman, artist and illustrator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning literary graphic novel ‘MAUS’; and many more.

One distinguished speaker will have events in addition to their Michigan Theater talk: architect and designer Keiji Ashizawa. Additional opportunities to engage with Ashizawa and Ishinomaki Laboratory include:

In addition to the main line-up, three visiting artist will offer special events in both Ann Arbor and Detroit: conceptual artist Mark Dion, performance artist, actress, poet and theatre-maker Penny Arcade and visual artist Jason Yates.

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

Fall 2017 Penny Stamps Speaker Series Events

jessica Care moore: We Want Our Bodies Back

September 14, 2017

Native Detroiter jessica Care moore is a playwright, author, activist, musician, performance artist, and institution-builder. A five-time Showtime at the Apollo winner and returning star of the HBO Series Def Poetry Jam, moore’s forthcoming collection of poems and visual art installation, We Want Our Bodies Back, honors the life of Sandra Bland. Moore has performed readings for audiences around the globe and has received numerous awards, including a 2016 Kresge Arts Fellowship; the 2013 Alain Locke Award from the Detroit Institute of Arts; and the 2015 Great Expectations NAACP Award. Her poetry and voice is prominently featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History. Additionally, moore is the CEO of Moore Black Press, a publishing company dedicated to preserving the new generation of writers and poets, and Executive Producer of Black WOMEN Rock!, a movement showcasing the music and stories of Black women who build institutions around their craft.

Screening: Get in the Way

September 21, 2017

The Penny Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan presents a free screening of Get in the Way at 5:10 pm in the Michigan Theater. This 2017 PBS documentary chronicles the journey of civil rights hero, congressman, and human rights champion John Lewis and is presented in partnership with Detroit Public Television (WDPTV).

This screening of Get in the Way replaces the previously scheduled speaker series talk by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell on the collaborative co-authoring of MARCH, a graphic novel trilogy about the congressmen’s life and activism. The talk was postponed due to an emergency meeting called by the Congressional Black Caucus in the nation’s capitol, and will now take place on November 27, 2017 at 7 pm in Hill Auditorium.

Through never-before-seen interviews shot over 20 years, Lewis, a masterful storyteller, tells the gripping tale of his role in these history-making events. Other key interviewees include civil rights activists Andrew Young, C.T. Vivian, Juanita Abernathy, and Bernard Lafayette, plus Lewis’ congressional colleagues Eleanor Holmes Norton, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Emanuel Cleaver, and Amory Houghton.

Once an activist pushing from the outside, Lewis, now 76 years old, has become a determined legislator making noise on the inside. Considered by many to be the conscience of Congress, with equal measures of modesty and forcefulness, Lewis strives to persuade D.C. power brokers to hear the voices of the unheard. He fights for those suffering from discrimination, poverty, poor education, police brutality, inaccessible healthcare and limitations on voter rights. Despite setbacks – and there have been many – John Lewis’ eyes remain on the prize.

Keiji Ashizawa: Community Building and DIY Design

September 28, 2017

Keiji Ashizawa has been involved in designing architectural spaces, interiors, furniture, and lighting since the founding of his practice, Keiji Ashizawa Design, in 2005. After the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, he established Ishinomaki Laboratory to create a local community hub for recovery activities and craftsmanship in the disaster-struck city of Ishinomaki. As CEO of Ishinomaki Laboratory, he proposes a new brand concept for furniture — connecting the regional city with the world. Keiji is also an award-winning architect and designer who presents ‘honest’ design — simple yet refined — derived naturally through the process of maximizing the potential of each material and its function. Past projects have included Miyake Design Studio, Dior, Swatch, and Victorinox. His furniture and lighting pieces have been exhibited internationally with clients including IKEA, Galerie Maria Wettergren, FRAMA, COMMOC, Duende, and Zaozuo. He is also the founder of Design Koishikawa, a gallery space and marketplace in Tokyo. Ishinomaki Laboratory was a recipient of the Good Design Award in 2012, and in 2015, the Ishinomaki Stool became part of the permanent collection of the V&A Museum.

Christo: The Floating Piers and Work in Progress

October 5, 2017

Christo is a sculptor known for co-creating large scale ephemeral works worldwide with his longtime artistic partner and wife, Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009). Over the span of his 60-year career, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have created many public works involving the exterior wrapping of buildings, museums, and public spaces in canvas, tarp, and other materials. Oil barrels have also featured prominently in the couple’s work, selected for their “sculptural effect and low cost.” Their most recent U.S. project, The Gates (completed in 2005), featured 7,503 rectangular arches draped in saffron fabric across New York City’s Central Park. While many speculate on the specific meaning of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work, throughout their career, the artists have shunned the idea that their creative work seeks to convey deeper meanings, insisting that they create work to evoke a purely visceral emotional response using visual aesthetic. However, Christo speaks of the public locations of their installations in decidedly democratic terms. “Nobody can buy our projects. Nobody can sell tickets to experience our projects. Freedom is the enemy of possession and possession is equal to permanence. That is why our projects cannot remain and must go away forever. Our projects are ‘once in a lifetime’ and ‘once upon a time.’”

Jennifer Daniel: Talk to me

October 12, 2017

Jennifer Daniel is an illustrator, graphic designer, author, and regular contributor to the New York Times and the New Yorker. As a Creative Director at Google and former graphics editor at the New York Times she explores both verbal and written language as a means of personal expression and regularly questions how she justifies contributing to capitalism. Acclaimed for her conceptual, clever, and content-driven approach to illustration and writing, her work has also been widely published. Her latest book, The Origin of Almost Everything, explores the universe through charts and diagrams, data, and facts. Fast Company calls her “a genius at information design” and her latest book, “the best-looking science book ever created.” Her work has been recognized by the Art Directors Club, D&AD (Design & Art Direction), Malofiej (infographic awards), American Illustration, the Society of Publication Designers, Society of Illustrators, and AIGA. Mother of twin toddlers, Daniel describes the intersection of career and parenthood: “Still working towards a nomination for Mom of the Year.”

Mark Dion: Waiting for the Extraordinary

Special Event: October 18, 2017, 5:30 p.m. at UMMA (525 South State St.)

Mark Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. “The job of the artist,” he says, “is to go against the grain of dominant culture, to challenge perception and convention.” Appropriating archaeological, field ecology, and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between ‘objective’ (‘rational’) scientific methods and ‘subjective’ (‘irrational’) influences. Mark Dion questions the objectivity and authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society, tracking how pseudo-science, social agendas, and ideology creep into public discourse and knowledge production. In 2011, Mark Dion created the site-specific installation, Waiting for the Extraordinary, commissioned by the U-M Institute for the Humanities. The work focused on the original blueprint for the University, and its 13 distinct classifications of knowledge, incorporating 3D replicas of artifacts from U-M museums and collections. To coincide with the University’s Bicentennial year, Dion now re-stages the work in a new iteration.

Kiki Smith: Copy Cat: Meandering Prints

October 19, 2017

Kiki Smith is known for her multidisciplinary practice relating to the human condition and the natural world. Smith uses a broad variety of materials, continuously expanding and evolving a body of work that includes sculpture, printmaking, photography, drawing, and textile. Smith has been the subject of numerous exhibitions worldwide, including over 25 solo museum exhibitions. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been the recipient of several awards, including the 2012 National Medal of Arts; the 2010 Nelson A. Rockefeller Award; the 2009 Edward MacDowell Medal, the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture in 2000, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center, among others. She is an adjunct professor at New York University and Columbia University. Smith has been represented by Pace Gallery, New York since 1994.

Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer

Special Event: October 21, 2017, 7 p.m. at Wasserman Projects (3434 Russell St. #502, Detroit, MI 48207)

Penny Arcade is an internationally respected performance artist, actress, poet, and theater maker. Her work is a cultural critique on class, race, and identity that has always focused on the other and the outsider. She is an original member of New York’s seminal rock and roll, political theater The Playhouse of the Ridiculous and was a teenage superstar in Andy Warhol’s Factory. She grew up to make her own work, sustaining a career of almost 50 years. With her longtime collaborator of 25 years, Steve Zehentner, she also co-helms the Lower East Side Biography Project Stemming The Tide Of Cultural Amnesia, a video documentary project that has broadcast and cybercast weekly for 18 years. For her Penny Stamps event, Arcade will perform her show Longing Lasts Longer (a double award-winner at the Edinburgh Festival), which turns contemporary stand-up on its head to create a crack in the post-gentrified landscape. Driven by her magnetic rock and roll energy, Arcade’s razor-sharp satire is mixed live to euphoric soundscapes inspired by four decades of pop culture.

Jason Yates: Fast Friends Forever

Special Event: October 24, 2017, 5:30 p.m. at UMMA (525 South State St.)

Jason Yates, a Detroit native, currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Yates’ work focuses on a collaborative ethos and bridging the gap between various genres — namely art, music, fashion, and design. The rich cultural history of Detroit is hugely influential in Yates’ work and has been since his teenage years, when he became friends and artistic collaborators with musician George Clinton. He received his BFA from the University of Michigan in 1995 before moving to Los Angeles to study with Mike Kelley, Mayo Thompson, and Liz Larner in the MFA program at Art Center in Pasadena. Yates formed ‘Fast Friends Inc.’ a collaborative project to disseminate art outside the conventional gallery system and to distribute the work on the artist’s own terms. Chris Kraus writes in Where Art Belongs: “Yates is an exceptional artist.” For six years as Fast Friends Inc., he created band posters for Ariel Pink, Matt Fishbeck (of the band Holy Shit), and others that are also original art works.

Morehshin Allahyari: On Digital Colonialism, Re-figuring, and Monstrosity

November 2, 2017

Morehshin Allahyari is an Iranian media artist, activist, educator, and curator who uses computer modeling and digital fabrication techniques to explore the intersection of art and activism. “I want my work to respond, resist, and criticize the current political and cultural situation that we experience on a daily basis,” she explains. Allahyari’s Material Speculation: ISIS, a digital fabrication project that inspects petropolitical and poetic relationships between 3D printing, oil, techno-capitalism, and jihadism, has achieved wide acclaim for proposing 3D printing technology as a tool both for resistance and documentation. The many publications featuring the work include the New York Times, Huffington Post, Wired, NPR, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, Dazed Digital, and VICE. She has exhibited at numerous institutions and festivals throughout the world, including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Australia; Hartware MedienKunstVerein and Transmediale in Germany. Allahyari was recently awarded a 2016 Sculpture Award from the Institute of Digital Art. Allahyari relocated to the United States in 2007 and currently lives in New York.

Art Spiegelman: Comics is the Yiddish of Art

November 9, 2017

Artist and Illustrator Art Spiegelman is known widely for his Pulitzer Prize-winning literary graphic novel Maus, a Holocaust narrative that casts mice in the role of Jews and cats in the role of Nazis. His comics are celebrated for their shifting graphic styles, their formal complexity, and controversial content. Spiegelman studied art and philosophy at Harpur College before becoming part of the underground comix subculture of the 60s and 70s. As creative consultant for Topps Bubble Gum Co. from 1965-1987, Spiegelman created Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids, and other novelty items. In 1980, Spiegelman founded RAW, the acclaimed avant-garde comics magazine, with his wife, Françoise Mouly. Spiegleman’s illustrations graced the pages of the New Yorker from 1993-2003, when he served as a staff artist and writer for the publication. Spiegleman’s illustrations have been exhibited at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Centre Pompidou, Ludwig Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery, Jewish Museum in NYC, and the AGO Art Gallery of Ontario. His current project, WORDLESS!, a multimedia look at the history of the graphic novel, had its world premiere at the Sydney Opera House.

Lucy McRae: Future of Wellness

November 16, 2017

Lucy McRae is a sci-fi artist, designer, body architect, and filmmaker placing the human body in complex, futuristic scenarios that confound the boundaries between the natural and artificial. Her approach is to influence culture by exploring scientific breakthroughs relating to health and the human body, while providing a feminine point of view on emerging technology. Inventor of Swallowable Parfum, McRae is recognized as an early identifier of emerging technologies that drive product innovation. McRae led Philips Electronics Future Lab and has consulted with companies such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Intel, and Aesop. McRae encourages scientific conversation where science and technology meet the body, throwing into question “What makes us Human?” She has spoken and taught master classes at TED, WIRED Health, Royal Albert Hall, London’s College of Physicians, Tribeca, Cannes Lion, and most recently at MIT’s Being Material conference. Her work has been developed in collaboration with leading institutes including NASA, MIT, and Ars Electronica. Her work has been exhibited at the London Science Museum, Centre Pompidou, and the Venice Biennale.

Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell: March

Rescheduled: November 27, 2017, 7 p.m. at Hill Auditorium

Due to an emergency meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Thursday, Sept. 21, Penny Stamps Speaker Series event featuring Congressman John Lewis and “March” co-creators Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell was cancelled earlier this month.

The event has been rescheduled for another date and a larger venue: 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27, at the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave. The free, public event will offer open seating on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Lewis is a civil rights leader and an American politician, serving Georgia’s 5th district since 1987. In 2013, Lewis co-wrote “March,” a three-part graphic novel trilogy about the story of his civil rights activism. The novel is co-written with Aydin and illustrated by Powell.

The keynote talk is co-presented by the International Institute’s Conflict and Peace Initiative and the King-Chavez-Parks Visiting Professors Program. The Conflict and Peace Initiative is funded by the International Institute Enterprise Fund. Its focus is to build a cross-disciplinary approach to peace and conflict studies that engages, challenges and inspires new audiences.

The Conflict and Peace Initiative will host meetups with Powell Tuesday, Nov. 28, as well as a series of fall 2017 social justice events, including a comics contest.

Justine Mahoney: Tainted

November 30, 2017

Justine Mahoney’s sculptures and collages have captivated audiences for their deceptively innocent approach to exploring the dark side of human existence. Drawing inspiration from the disparate realities of growing up white in 1970s Johannesburg during some of the most tumultuous decades of South African apartheid, Mahoney is deeply influenced by her childhood experiences.

In Tainted, her 2017 exhibition, Mahoney explores emotional and physical states of struggle through convoys of toy-like sculptures. These childlike figures — referred to by the artist as “an army of toy soldiers” — offer an inspired view into this world of collaged fantasy, with themes centered on her own observations of gender, landscape, aspiration, and oppression. “I portray emotional states like resilience and braveness in the face of adversity, and see my child soldiers as standing steadfast and strong…Their role is to bring on a sense of one’s ability to move forward through extreme situations.” Julian McGowan of the Southern Guild Gallery aptly describes it as “Malice in Wonderland.” Mahoney is a graduate of Technikon Witwatersrand (’91).

Buster Simpson: Art Antioxidant

December 7, 2017

Buster Simpson, an artist active since the late 1960s, has worked on major infrastructure and planning projects, site-specific sculptures, museum installations, and community interventions. Simpson was born in Saginaw, Michigan, and attended the University of Michigan, where he received his MFA in 1969, and later, the Distinguished Alumni Award in Architecture and Design. Simpson is a recipient of numerous awards, including NEA fellowships and the Americans for the Arts Public Art Award in 2009. “I prefer working in public spaces. The complexity of any site is its asset, to distill, build upon, and reveal, the challenge is to sharpen the conjunction between poetry and place.”

Simpson has exhibited at The New Museum, MoMA PS1, Seattle Art Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum, Capp Street Project, International Glass Museum, and a recent retrospective at the Frye Art Museum. Simpson’s work is included in numerous public commissions throughout North America.

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