REVIEW: Bodies of Michigan exhibit

The Bodies of Michigan art exhibit put together by Natalie Giannos in Palmer Commons is located along the walls of the Windows Lounge.  That immediately made it difficult for me to look closely at the images because in order to do so, I needed to navigate around all the people studying and invade their space.  It also gave me the impression that while the images were in a public space, not many people were actually seeing them because they were so immersed in their own projects.  That made me a little upset because I found a lot of the pieces rather striking.  Therefore, I think a different venue would greatly benefit this exhibit if it’s going to run again next year — maybe something a little more intimate where the images can actually be observed closely.

The exhibit featured six images (there is a spot for a seventh image entitled “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not” Robin Rranza, but the picture looks like it was torn off the wall).  The collection overall was very colorful, with images like “Bad Boy Rebellion” also by Robina Rranza and “Alternatively…” by Sonalee Joshi.  I found this enjoyable because, despite the difference in medium, those two images captured two completely different types of people.  “Bad Boy Rebellion” could be representing more of a party scene whereas “Alternatively…” seemed a little more hipster and low-key.

Bad Boy Rebellion
Alternatively…

While the majority of this exhibit was colorful, there was one photograph that stuck out to me.  Entitled “Loveletter” by Mackenzie King, it was a picture of a seemingly nude woman in monochrome.  I really enjoyed looking at “Loveletter” because the centralization of light silhouetted the model’s body in such a way that emphasized her curves beautifully.  The title of the photograph and its content really worked well together, and I enjoyed its simplicity.

Loveletter

Another image was “Goiters Caused by Coulrophobia” by Adrian Hanna, which presented a depiction of what looked like the interior of the human body.  This was an interesting piece because it had some 3-D elements.  The final image was entitled “I Know” by yours truly, a picture of my friends posed underneath a bridge in the Arb.

Overall, I think I would have enjoyed the exhibit a lot more had it been held in, for instance, its own room.  Despite that, I loved the concept behind it and all the different interpretations of the human body.

PREVIEW: Bodies of Michigan exhibit

The Bodies of Michigan art exhibit at Palmer Commons features a multitude of artists and their take on how they understand and interact with the human body.  Differing mediums, styles, and contexts convey everything from friendships to phobias.  I’ve personally been really interested in street photography lately, and the fact that this exhibit features photography as well as different styles is really fascinating.  I’m hoping to understand how other artists have chosen to represent their worlds.

It’ll be at the Windows Lounge until Thursday, and I’m excited to see it!  For more information, click here.

My contribution to the exhibit is also featured!

PREVIEW: Buster Simpson Stamps Speaker Series

An alum of UM and native Michigander, Buster Simpson is a renowned artist who works in architecture, sculpture focusing on creating art in public spaces.  

He’s been actively creating art since the late 1960s, with socially and environmentally focused pieces that predated the more recent trends in relational aesthetics and “green art.”  He’s received a number of awards and recognitions for his work including UM Distinguished Alumni Award in Architecture and Design, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and the Americans for the Arts Artist of the Year Award.  His work is featured in public spaces across the country and has been exhibited in at The New Museum, MoMA PS1, Seattle ArtMuseum, The Hirshhorn Museum, Capp Street Project, International Glass Museum, and the  Frye Art Museum. Check out his body of work on his official website, http://www.bustersimpson.net/.

Like all of the other lectures in the Stamps speaker series, this one is FREE to the public and will take place at 5:10 at the Michigan theater.  This will be the last talk in a long series of fascinating and successful lectures so be sure to stop on by. If you miss the event there will be a review of the lecture here on art[seen], and be sure to look out for the winter speaker series once its announced!

REVIEW: Victors for Art—Michigan’s Alumni Collectors

For some reason, I envisioned a collection of aged oil paintings and sculptures at the sound of the Victors for Art exhibit. I thought to myself, an exhibit of work owned by alumni? They probably have ancient sculptures and European paintings or something. 

And the exhibit did have that. I spent a good ten minutes marveling at an oil painting comprised of various shades of blue, featuring two men on a cliff. Another several minutes were spent admiring an oil painting of a woman who appeared to be deep in thought, pictured below; I took note of the wonderful shading and highlight that the artist captured in this piece, especially through the wrinkles and folds of the woman’s veil.

Photo courtesy of the UMMA

But Victors for Art went beyond one’s envision of a typical museum art gallery: I found myself looking at a stuffed rooster in a glass casing, standing across from one that was identical in appearance but was comprised of various materials. Other works included a set of figurines that represented the twelve zodiac animals ( dating back to several centuries), a painting of a nude woman leaning on a large pack of Lifesavers, and a large piece of a woman dazzled in embellishments, pictured below.

Photo courtesy of the UMMA

As the group of alums who made this exhibit possible was diverse, so were the works themselves. This gallery is presented along with the theme of figuration, going with the idea that this exhibit will “allow visitors to explore the variety of artistic responses and purposes encompassed…” and that’s exactly the kind of experience I had when visiting Victors for Art: Michigan’s Alumni Collectors—Part I: Figuration.

Photo courtesy of the UMMA
Photo courtesy of the UMMA

For those who have not yet seen this exhibit, it’s a must! Victors for Art provides the opportunity for one to view art that may not usually be available for the public to view. The exhibit is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11AM – 5PM and Sunday 12PM – 5PM!

PREVIEW: Victors for Art—Michigan’s Alumni Collectors

Among the plethora of special events and festivals that the University of Michigan is hosting for the 2017 Bicentennial, the UMMA is showcasing works of art collected by their very own alumni. These works, which range from oil paintings to sculptures to multimedia, come from a variety of artists such as Christo, Jean Dubeffet, and Gergia O’Keeffe. The gallery Victors for Art gives visitors the opportunity to view art that would otherwise not be seen by the public eye.

Take the chance to celebrate the university’s bicentennial and view these works while they are at display at the UMMA!

Details
When: Now until June 11th
Time: Monday through Saturday 11:00AM to 5:00PM, Sunday 12:00PM to 5:00PM
Location: UMMA

REVIEW: Caldwell Poetry Performance

On the night of Wednesday the 29th, sixteen students affiliated with the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program (current and alumni) stepped up in front of a full crowd in Lloyd’s Barner Lounge of other LHSP students and staff to read poetry. There was a mix of nine original works with seven interpretive works of other poets, and altogether, it was a great night of poetry. Out of respect for the original works, I do not have any lines from those pieces, but will link to the interpretive pieces as available.

I (to my own surprise) started the night off with current UM professor Laura Kasischke’s “Game,” but I couldn’t objectively tell you how my performance went due to forgetting some of my memorized lines. Regardless, one of my favorite parts of the piece reads: “She shouted my name, which, even as a child I knew was not ‘Stop. Please. I’m Dying.'” Next, current LHSP student leader Rhea Cheeti recited Lily Myers’ “Shrinking Women” with a powerful voice to mimic the powerful words.

Original works interweaved nicely with interpretive works: after a few interpretive pieces, students read their own original works. One of the earlier yet highly notable original pieces was Mary Oseguera’s “They don’t call it Mexi-coke in Mexico,” a gorgeously written piece with a refrain on the speaker’s experience with the descriptor “Hispanic.” My description of her piece wouldn’t dare come close to how amazing her words and recitation were. Alyson Grigsby read a piece “pages 131-133) from Claudia Rankine’s incredible book Citizen, one of the most important works of American poetry available to the public today:

“You imagine if the man spoke to you he would say, it’s okay, I’m okay, you don’t need to sit here. You don’t need to sit and you sit and look past him into the darkness the train is moving through. A tunnel. / All the while the darkness allows you to look at him. Does he feel you looking at him? You suspect so. What does suspicion mean? What does suspicion do?”

Next, a few students read their original works and Josh Segal read Rachel McKibbens’ “Selachimorpha.” Another one of my personal favorites was Hannah Rhodenhiser’s “I Wrote You A Poem for Christmas,” a refreshing love poem. It made my heart smile, and I hope it made the rest of the audience feel just as warm. Olivia Anderson read “On the Corner of Ann and Observatory,” which had a mysterious feel to it despite the title being located where we all sat in that moment. Allison Taylor’s “Poison” was a treat for the audience – instead of just reading the poem, she sang it while playing her acoustic guitar. Her talents are real.

Dhriti Deb read “The Gaffe” by CK Williams and before Dominique Witten closed the event with an original piece titled “They are not Children,” Laura Dzubay read Katie Makkai’s “Pretty.”

The event was excellent and, as advertised, full of poetry. Original works were plentiful and strong – as were the voices of their writers. As for the students who interpreted works by other poets, I was impressed. Their voices and performative skills were impeccable, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to everybody’s works and being in a setting devoted to the enjoyment of poetry.

Winners will be announced on April 12th, at LHSP’s End-Of-Year Festival (or more recently referred to as LHSP’S LHSP: Last Hurrah for Student Projects, coined by the performance event’s emcee, Emily Miu) held at Couzens. I’m looking forward to seeing the joy on the winners’ faces, whoever they may be!