UMMA Press Release

APRIL 2009 at the Expanded UM Museum of Art


Museums in the 21st Century: Concepts, Projects, Buildings

March 28 through May 3, 2009

Organized and circulated by Art Centre Basel, this exhibition highlights the preeminent trends in international museum architecture across four continents. This major exhibition showcases 27 of the world’s leading museum building projects planned, in progress, or finished between the years 2000 and 2010, including UMMA’s historic expansion and restoration designed by Brad Cloepfil and Allied Works Architecture. Through sketches, architectural plans, photographs, maquettes, and multimedia tools, the panoramic creative process behind the undiminished museum building boom will be explored, from concept to construction. The exhibition will make itsU.S. debut in Ann Arbor after a European tour.

The exhibition Museums in the 21st Century: Concepts, Projects, Buildings was conceptualized and coordinated by the Art Centre Basel,Basel,Switzerland. The Ann Arbor presentation is made possible in part by Susan L. Johe, the University ofMichigan’s Office of the President, Office of the Provost, and the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning’s Guido A. Binda Lecture and Exhibition Fund, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Expressions of Vienna: Master Drawings by Klimt and Schiele from the Pulgram-McSparran Collection

March 28 through May 31, 2009

Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) and Egon Schiele (1890–1918) are two artists whose work is closely associated with the Viennese avant-garde during the early 20th century. Klimt, who was the first president of the Vienna Secession, the organization that promoted the integration of all art forms into a more aesthetic approach to life, was the looming figure in Viennese portraiture and mural painting. Schiele, whose career was much shorter than Klimt’s, was deeply influenced early in his career by Klimt’s work. Their work bridges the important transition in Vienna from 19th-century concerns and styles into the emerging Expressionism of the period following the First World War. This group of exquisite and important drawings by the leaders of art in Vienna a century ago is part of a larger gift of European art from the collection of University of Michigan professors Ernst Pulgram and Frances McSparran. The exceptional quality of these works is a tribute to Professor Pulgram’s astute eye as he began collecting at the end of World War II. The balance of the Pulgram-McSparran gift will be shown in an exhibition later in the first year of the reopened facility.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the Friends of the Museum of Art.


 UMMA Projects: Walead Beshty

March 28 through June 14, 2009

Working across a range of media, London-born, Los Angeles-based artist Walead Beshty explores the boundaries between politics and aesthetics, consumption and critique. In his most recent work, Beshty has undertaken a meticulous investigation into the conditions and processes of artistic production. His monumentally-scaled photograms, produced by folding large sheets of unexposed photo paper into three-dimensional forms and exposing them to variously colored lights, produce geometric fields in which areas of sumptuous color are interwoven with passages of intense luminosity. Although not representational in a traditional sense, their appearance is a direct index, like a fingerprint, of the process of their own making. In a related series of sculptures—composed of shatterproof glass boxes sized to the volume of the FedEx shipping boxes in which they are transported (and which double as pedestals)—Beshty extends his inquiry beyond physical materials and technical processes to include the means by which artworks exist, circulate, and accrue value after they leave the studio. Every time the work is shipped, it is packed in same FedEx box, acquiring additional damage in transit. In addition to the challenge they pose to normative ideas about conservation and value, Beshty’s boxes also ask us to rethink our notion of what an individual work “looks” like, as their appearance changes with each showing. His UMMA Projects exhibition will include a new installation work, extending these concerns to the architectural character of the gallery itself.

This project is made possible in part by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and UMMA’s New Visions Venture Fund, including the Susan and Richard Gutow Fund and the Dr. Robert and Janet Miller Fund.


 MFA in Creative Writing Faculty Reading

Thursday, April 2, 5 pm, Helmut Stern Auditorium

This is a joint reading by Michael Byers (fiction) and A. Van Jordan (poetry). Michael Byers is the author of two books, The Coast of Good Intentions, a book of stories, and Long for This World, a novel. A. Van Jordan is the author of three books of poetry, RiseM-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, and Quantum Lyrics.Jordan has received the Whiting Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and the Pushcart Prize.

MFA program events are sponsored through the generosity of Helen Zell and UMMA.

MFA in Creative Writing Zell Postgraduate Fellows Reading

Thursday, April 2, 8 pm, Helmut Stern Auditorium

Through the generosity of Helen Zell the MFA in Creative Writing Program awards third-year fellowships to several graduating students who have been selected for this award by a national judge. The 2008–2009 Zell Postgraduate Fellows will read as the culmination of their year of residency. This event will feature Kristie Kachler, Emily Mahan, and Megan Levad (poetry); and Becky Adams and Joy Wood (fiction).

MFA program events are sponsored through the generosity of Helen Zell and UMMA.

Mark Webster Reading Series

Friday, April 3, 7 pm, Multipurpose Room

This is the final event in the 2008–09 Mark Webster Reading Series, the series for graduating students in the Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program. Elizabeth Gramm will be reading poetry and Brian Short will be reading fiction. For more information:

Rethinking the Old Masters at UMMA

Thursday, April 9, 5 pm, European and American Galleries

Senior Curator of Western Art Carole McNamara will guide visitors through the stunningly reinstalled European and American galleries, highlighting new acquisitions, old favorites, and recently conserved objects. UMMA staff has recontextualized some familiar works and integrated several less frequently viewed treasures, resulting in compelling new installations of the Museum’s collections.

In Grand Fashion

Friday, April 10, 5 pm and Sunday, April 26, 3 pm, Japanese Gallery

UMMA’s Research Curator of Asian Art Natsu Oyobe will speak about the Yamaguchi collection of 20th-century kimono and discuss the changing status of traditional garments in modern times.

The Doris Sloan Memorial Lecture

Brad Cloepfil, Allied Works Architecture

Wednesday, April 15, 5 pm, Helmut Stern Auditorium

Brad Cloepfil, founder of Allied Works Architecture and award-winning architect of UMMA’s expansion and restoration, will discuss the UMMA commission and other works in the context of civic architecture and participate in a conversation with the audience. Mr. Cloepfil’s recent slate of acclaimed projects includes the Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and the Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis. He is known for his bold and elegant minimalist aesthetic—and engaging candor.

This lecture is co-sponsored by UMMA and the UM A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

The Sloan Memorial Lecture honors one of the Museum’s most ardent friends and supporters. Established through the generosity of Dr. Herbert Sloan, the annual lecture is a tribute to Dr. and Mrs. Sloan’s shared passion for collecting art and fostering its appreciation.

Zell Visiting Writers Series: Mary Jo Bang

Thursday, April 16, 6 pm, Helmut Stern Auditorium

 Mary Jo Bang is an acclaimed author of five books of poems, including  The Eye Like a Strange Balloon (2004), The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of the Swans (2001), andLouise In Love (2001). Her most recent collection, Elegy (2007), traces the aftermath of her son’s death and was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award for a manuscript-in-progress. She is the recipient of numerous other awards, including a “Discovery”/The Nation award, a Pushcart Prize, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and a Hodder Award from Princeton University.  Her first book, Apology for Want (1997), was chosen by Edward Hirsch for the 1996 Bakeless Prize. Bang’s work has been chosen three times for inclusion in the Best American Poetry series. Bang was the poetry co-editor of the Boston Review from 1995 to 2005. She lives inSt. Louis,Missouri, where she is professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Washington University. For more information:

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