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Predicting the Future

Buky Schwartz, Line A-C, 1971, mixed media, wool | canvas, Gift in honor of Dr. E. Bryce and Harriet Alpern, by their children

ALA 350

Faculty Curator: Cameron Gibelyou (Lecturer in Applied Liberal Arts)

On view: Winter 2023

“Predicting the Future” considers topics ranging from representations of the future in literature to the science of predicting complex systems, such as climate. The art on display helps viewers consider how our predictions about the future are shaped by ideologies of progress and our assumptions about the relationship between humans and technology.

You may notice that many of the images we selected for this display are composed around a diagonal line that extends from the lower left of the image to the upper right. This is not a coincidence. Images of subjects that represent technological change, such as cities, railroads, and factories, repeatedly use this diagonal to visually represent stories of progress.

How does attending to the way that artists use this diagonal to suggest progress narratives help us read predictions about the future in their work and see what insights or critiques they offer about modernity, society, or technology?

Works Included In This Collection

Doug Webb
serigraph on paper
Sargent Claude Johnson
lithograph on paper
Ralph Gibson
photograph on fiber paper
Jacob Lawrence
soft ground etching and aquatint on paper
1994; printed 1995
Michael Kenna
sepia-toned gelatin silver print on paper
Andrew Russell
albumen print on paper


Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost, Erica Gervais Pappendick and Ted Pappendick, the Eleanor Noyes Crumpacker Endowment Fund, and the Oakriver Foundation.