The Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan presents two fall 2017 companion exhibitions on view at the Stamps Gallery September 8-October 14, 2017: The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding and Vital Signs for a New America. Both exhibitions encourage audiences to construct new readings of the past and imagine new paradigms for the future. There will be an exhibition reception on Friday, September 8 from 6 to 8 p.m.
The exhibitions and reception are free and open to the public.
“The Stamps Gallery is committed to serving the University of Michigan and the community at large by acting as catalyst, connector, and experimental laboratory for innovation and ideas,” said Srimoyee Mitra, Stamps Gallery Director. “Through research- and process-based exhibitions like The Unfinished Conversation and Vital Signs, the gallery becomes a space for the entire community to come together to explore, experience and discuss questions that challenge us and open us up to new possibilities. These conversations signal the burgeoning and critical role of creative practices in building momentum towards justice and positive change. As one of the newest cultural spaces in the city, we are thrilled to nurture and cultivate a hub for expanding the imagination through art and design practices.”
The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding
Co-curated by Gaëtane Verna, Director of The Power Plant in Toronto, and Mark Sealy, The Unfinished Conversation includes image and video work by Terry Adkins, John Akomfrah, Shelagh Keeley, and Zineb Sedira. The exhibition is grounded in the work of cultural theorist Stuart Hall (1932-2014), a Jamaican-born United Kingdom academic who devoted his life to studying the interweaving threads of culture, power, politics, and history. Taking Hall’s essay Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse as a point of departure, viewers will be invited to think about how meaning is constructed;; how it is systematically distorted by audience reception;; and how it can be detached and drained of its original intent to produce specific or slanted narratives.
The Unfinished Conversation: Encoding/Decoding is organized and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto in partnership with Autograph ABP, London. The exhibition is co-curated by Gaëtane Verna, Director, The Power Plant and Mark Sealy, Director, Autograph ABP.
Vital Signs for a New America
Curated by Srimoyee Mitra, active public engagement is at the heart of Vital Signs for a New America. Each work on view in this group exhibition offers opportunities to interact directly with the artists and their art. As part of the exhibition programming, the gallery will become a common space for storytelling and tea drinking with Dylan Miner;; a bustling executive assistant’s office with Sheryl Oring;; and a tactile, expansive personal archive with the performance collective The Hinterlands. Vital Signs invites the public to speak out, listen, and imagine new models for inclusive futures.
Dylan Miner: Elders Say We Don’t Visit Anymore
Saturdays, September 9-October 14, 1-3 pm Dylan Miner, Director of American Indian and Indigenous Studies at Michigan State University, is an artist, activist, and scholar. As part of Vital Signs, Miner will host Elders Say We Don’t Visit Anymore. In this creative action, the public is invited to share tea and conversation with the artist, creating new friendships and maintaining social relationships within a specific time and place.
Sheryl Oring: I Wish to Say
Friday, September 8, 5-6:30 pm and 7-8 pm [two engagements] Fridays, September 15-October 13, 5-7 pm For this project, Oring sets up a portable public office — complete with a manual typewriter — and invites viewers to dictate postcards to the President of the United States, prompting with a simple phrase: “Do you have a message for the president?” Over the last decade, Oring has toured this project across the country and more than 3,000 postcards have been mailed to the White House. Oring will work with students from the Stamps School of Art and Design to continue her performance for the duration of the exhibition.
The Hinterlands: The Radicalization Process Papers
Tuesday, October 3, 6-7:30pm: History is a Living Weapon [performance] In 2013, while rehabbing their Detroit home, the performance collective The Hinterlands discovered a rich personal archive of publication clippings, which appear to chronicle radical U.S. histories of the 60s and 70s. The ephemera and memorabilia in the The Radicalization Process Papers takes audiences on a journey that navigates layers of historical accounts, art, politics, and cultural artifacts. History is a Living Weapon is a live performance based on The Radicalization Process Papers.
Stamps Gallery Hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, noon to 7 p.m.
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