All events are free and take place at UMMA unless otherwise noted.

Jan 25

A Conversation with Cullen Washington, Jr.: The Hope of Abstraction and the Possibilities of the Public Square

Artist Cullen Washington, Jr. uses non-representational abstraction to understand order, chaos, and social relationships. His practice makes use of the grid to physically and metaphorically flatten hierarchies and rank to create a new conception of the possibilities for a public square. Washington sees this public space as an ideal "gathering place" for activated assembly and inclusive democracy. Historically, the public square has also been the site of spectacles and public humiliations; today, the internet holds out the promise of a level playing field with access for all that also includes space for extreme views and falsehoods.  Please join Mr. Washington and exhibition curator Vera Grant on opening day for a conversation about the role of art, artists, and the “hope of abstraction” within our current battles for the public square.

Light refreshments to follow.

Lead support for this exhibition is provided by Erica Gervais Pappendick and Ted Pappendick, Candy and Michael Barasch, the University of Michigan Office of the Provost, Office of the President, Michigan Medicine, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the Institute for the Humanities. Additional generous support is provided by the University of Michigan Department of History of Art, School of Education, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, School of Social Work, and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.