New On View at UMMA: The Statue of Liberty, an American Flag, and… Minnie Mouse?

New On View at UMMA: The Statue of Liberty, an American Flag, and… Minnie Mouse?

Installation photo and video of Whitewashed taken by UMMA staff

Sonya Clark, Whitewashed, 2017, digital file template to be painted directly on wall, made up of Sherwin Williams paint colors: Incredible White, Storyteller, Natural Choice, Museum purchase made possible by the Director's Acquisition Committee, 2021

Joining the walls at UMMA this season are more than 30 works spanning eras, media, and subject in three new installations as part of the ongoing Curriculum / Collection exhibition that finds curious connections between art and the ideas taught in a variety of University of Michigan courses. 

Installation of video of a piece by Sonya Clark

Included among the works of art now on display are commercial and pop art posters by Paul Rand and Eduardo Paolozzi featuring iconic cultural symbols like Minnie Mouse and IBM computers; and Liberty Renewed, a fantastical cityscape by artist Doug Webb featuring the Statue of Liberty in a bathtub.  

Also on display for the first time at UMMA is Whitewashed by Sonya Clark—an American flag painted directly on the gallery wall in shades of white and cream. The work entered the UMMA’s collection in 2021. For this installation, it was painted directly on the wall by UMMA staff following instructions from Clark. 

Together, the works now on display as part of Curriculum / Collection in winter 2023 showcase the power of art to speak important truths, highlight our shared humanity, and complicate perceptions–making visible the ideas students in classes across campus will be tackling throughout the semester. 

On view this semester for Curriculum / Collection are these courses: 

  • Predicting the Future, taught by Cameron Gibelyou, Lecturer in Applied Liberal Arts.
    This course considers topics ranging from representations of the future in literature to the science of predicting complex systems, such as climate. Visual representations of progress (real and interpreted) feature throughout the works on display. (ALA 350) .
  • U. S. Citizenship: Race / Class / Gender, taught by Dana Nichols, English Language and Literature; Kristin Hass, American Culture; Sigrid Anderson, University Library; English Language and Literature; and Stephanie Hicks, Program on Intergroup Relations.
    This course explores the ideological and political processes that define American citizenship. These professors have worked on previous iterations of Curriculum / Collection, so for this installation, they have decided to revisit artworks that provoked the most meaningful discussions in past classes. They have also added a new acquisition: Whitewashed, a mural designed by Sonya Clark that was painted onto the wall by UMMA staff. (English 332, AMCULT 103, AMCULT 300, ALA 270)
  • Strategic Brand Management, taught by Marcus Collins, Ross School of Business, Marketing. 
    This course explores the role of advertising in social media, and how consumers make meaning out of the ads they see. Several of the artworks on display were originally created as advertisements, such as the posters by Paul Rand and Alphonse Mucha. (MKT 603)

All three of these displays will be up through the end of the Winter 2023 semester, alongside two other courses that have been up since the fall (RCHUMS 202: How to Think: Image, Process, and Creativity / Cyanotype, and French 350: After: Special Topics in French Studies).

Any faculty members who are interested in getting involved with Curriculum / Collection in the future can learn more and submit a proposal here. UMMA is especially open to proposals from faculty and disciplines who have not previously made use of the museum in their courses.

Curriculum / Collection

Explore the infinite value of art in shaping our understanding of...well, everything

View Exhibition