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April 5, 2023

University of Michigan Museum of Art Awarded Grant As Part of Teiger Foundation’s Inaugural Call for Proposals

Photo by Ian Solomon

The Award, Part of New Teiger Foundation Initiative to Support Innovative Curator-Led Projects, Will Support Upcoming Project by UMMA, the Nonprofit Monument Lab, and Artist Cannupa Hanska Luger

Ann Arbor, MI—April 5, 2023—The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), in partnership with Teiger Foundation, announced today that it is among the 39 recipients of a new grant program from the Foundation in support of innovative curator-led projects and coalitions in the field of contemporary art. UMMA was selected from a competitive pool of more than 400 applicants, following an open call for proposals and a rigorous review process by an advisory group of peer curators as well as the Foundation’s Board and staff.

The $75,000 grant will support You’re Welcome, a multi-faceted project at UMMA this fall developed in collaboration with the nonprofit Monument Lab and the University of Michigan Arts Initiative exploring cultural and social impacts of historic structures on campus.

Curators Ozi Uduma, UMMA’s Assistant Curator of Global Contemporary Art, and Paul Farber, Director/Co-founder of Monument Lab and Curator in Residence for the University of Michigan Arts Initiative, are developing the project, which includes a major site-specific installation on the exterior of the Museum’s Alumni Memorial Hall from artist Cannupa Hanska Luger.

The grant is part of $3.3 million total the Foundation awarded as part of its inaugural Call for Proposals. The new grantmaking program is designed to help address critical gaps in funding for contemporary art curators and is the first initiative of its kind to support the full spectrum of curatorial activities. This includes community integration of traveling exhibitions, research and development of major exhibitions, and multi-year programming at small institutions, among other activities.

UMMA’s project includes an exterior commission from Luger that directly interrogates the Museum’s history and probes broader narratives around sovereignty, institutions, and colonialism as well as a gallery presentation of other work from Luger paired with objects from the Museum’s collection that fosters further dialogue around the central curatorial question, “How do we remember on this campus?” Additionally, UMMA will open a public Monuments Classroom where Farber and Monument Lab will provide programming and workshops for the local community to explore the role of monuments in shaping public narratives. Together, the project components explore key themes of commemoration, militarism, and land sovereignty, making visible the relationship between the building, the land it stands on, the people it was built to commemorate, and a long history of the hidden colonial narratives deeply embedded in public structures.

For Teiger Foundation announcement of the grants reflects both a strategic acceleration of the Foundation’s activities and its enduring commitment to experimentation, community building, and positive structural change within the field of contemporary art. Initially established in 2008, Teiger Foundation entered a new phase of activity following the posthumous sale of the collection of its founder David Teiger (1929 – 2014) and has become today one of the largest foundations dedicated exclusively to contemporary art.

“The grants we are making within our 2023 fiscal year are reflective of the Foundation’s exciting trajectory, one of increasingly ambitious activity supporting boundary-pushing curatorial projects and coalitions,” said Larissa Harris, Teiger Foundation’s inaugural Executive Director.

The collaboration with Monument Lab and the broader project are part of UMMA’s institutional work to examine the responsibilities of public institutions as cultural history makers and stewards. As part of its strategic vision, UMMA is committed to challenging and excavating its own history and historical approach to best practices, in order to create a museum that is reflective of and honest in its engagements with its community. Prior projects include Wish You Were Here: African Art and Restitution, a research initiative and exhibition that made public the museum’s investigations into the histories of 11 objects in its African collection, and Vote 2022: Midterms Matter, which centered on the midterm elections and made the museum a site of active dialogue about our political divides.

“As an institution, we are interested in probing how museums both produce and disseminate shared cultural history—both as it was once told and also as it is being re-examined and retold today,” said Christina Olsen, UMMA’s Director. “We are honored to be among the recipients of Teiger Foundation’s inaugural grants and are grateful for their support, which is vitally important in bringing important work like this to our communities.”

Full details about Teiger Foundation’s inaugural Call for Proposals, the newly launched Climate Action Pilot, and the 2023 grantees can be found here.


Related Exhibition

Cannupa Hanska Luger: You’re Welcome

Cannupa Hanska Luger

September 22, 2023 — February 18, 2024

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