Program on Intergroup Relations

Program in Intergroup Relations


Race and Social Justice Institute

School of Education

Faculty Members: Stephanie Hicks (Program on Intergroup Relations, Institute for Research on Women and Gender), Maisie Gholson (School of Education)

Jacob Lawrence
Ten Builders
soft ground etching and aquatint on paper
19 11/16 in x 24 ⅞ in (50.01 cm x 63.18 cm);22 1/16 in x 28 ⅛ in (56.04 cm x 71.44 cm);10 4/5 in x 16 4/5 in (27.46 cm x 42.7 cm)
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis

This collaboration started with the idea of assembling artworks that would provide material for discussions about identity, power, and social justice, but we immediately faced limitations from UMMA’s collection in terms of who is represented, how they are represented, and who is doing the representing. Representations of Whiteness in the collection are plentiful and complex; representations of people of color, in contrast, are much fewer and more limited to documentary, photographic images.

We chose to work with this limitation by centering some of those images of “realness” represented by photography and framing them with more abstract and conceptual works that might suggest norms of identity, ranging from conventions to stereotypes, that regulate and police processes of inclusion and exclusion.

As your eyes move from image to image, what narratives do they craft? How do they work together and individually to conjure meanings about dominant narratives and counter narratives of race in America? Think also about the limitations posed by an art museum collection, built on processes of exclusion and privilege over many decades. Think about what you don’t see as well as what you do see. 

Works included in this collection

Exhibition Support

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

Curriculum / Collection

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

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