Collection Ensemble

Extraordinary Artists, Startling Works of Art, Put in Dialog For You To Discover

Collection Ensemble presents the first major reinstallation of UMMA's iconic entry space in over a decade. It exchanges Alumni Memorial Hall's previous focus on European and American painting for a broad mix of American, European, African, and Asian art from across media, sampling the Museum's remarkable, disparate holdings.

The installation is organized into thematic and formal vignettes that respond to the concepts and ideas resonating from an extraordinary large-scale photograph of a vacant cathedral by contemporary German artist Candida Höfer. The exhibition displays more than 40 works by famous and not so famous artists, many of them artists of color and women –including Charles Alston, Khaled al-Saa'i, Norio Azuma, Christo, Theaster Gates, Jenny Holzer, Roni Horn, Dinh Q Lê, and Kara Walker. 

The reinstallation in the iconic and beloved museum’s space is emblematic of the re-thinking of the role of UMMA on campus. The goal is to tell a more expansive and mutable history of art, one that shows that art has powerful connections across media, politics, and culture. As a campus museum, UMMA is a vital hub for new ideas and exchanges. This exhibition recasts the role of UMMA’s collection as an active, creative, surprising source of material and ideas, open for debate and interpretation.

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Museums on campus should be bursting with new thinking, debates, and connections. They should remind you how exciting and surprising art is.

Christina Olsen, UMMA Director

Nine Vignettes

The works in Collection Ensemble are organized in nine groups or vignettes, each sharing a subject — water, or the cosmos— but little else. The works vary in material, point of view, and purpose. Juxtaposed this way, these arrangements remind us that works of art can change in meaning and affect when placed next to different things. Explore the nine groupings below and find new connections of your own.

Painting of a 3-D cube offset on a biased angle from above. The cube has thicker edges and is hollow in the center. The top face's edges are bright yellow, the side edges are grey and the inside edges are a pale yellow.

Al Loving, Untitled Cube, 1969.
Acrylic on canvas. Museum Purchase, 1969/2.25.
Courtesy the Estate of Al Loving and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York

Entrancing

Void (2020)

Composer: Morgan Elder (Performing Arts Technology, BFA; 2023)

Read more about the Musical Labels project

The Cosmos & Me

Expanses (2020)

Composed and performed by Aislinn Bailie (Master of Music in Performance - Bassoon, 2021) and Emily Yang (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts Technology, 2020).

Read more about the Musical Labels project

Water Protocols

Wade in the Water, Traditional Spiritual, Arranged by Moses Hogan

Copyright (c) 1997 by Hal Leonard Corporation. International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Performed by the U-M Chamber Choir at UMMA in October 2019 under the direction of Eugene Rogers

Read more about the Musical Labels project

Come See About Me

Sketches of Self (2020)

Performers: Joshua Catania, piano (BFA Jazz and Contemplative Studies, ‘23) and Meg Brennan, flute/alto saxophone (Masters in Improvisation, ‘21)

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Light Details

Speak No Evil (2020)

Composed by Ari Sussman (Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition 2021). Performed by Jimmy Cunningham (Bachelor of Music in Performance - Viola, 2021) Megan Rohrer (Master of Music in Performance - Violin, 2020).

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Constructing a Scene

Co-Constructing (2020)

Composed and performed by Virago: Sofia Carbonara (Bachelor of Music in Performance - Percussion, 2020), Wesley Hornpetrie (Specialist of Music in Performance - cello 2018), BethAnne Kunert (Master of Music in Performance - Saxophone, 2019), Megan Rohrer (Master of Music in Performance - Violin, 2020), and Kaleigh Wilder (Master of Music in Improvisation - Saxophone, 2019).

Community Blocks

Cross-Sections (2019)

Composed by Akari Komura (Master of Music in Composition - Voice, 2021). Performed by Akari Komura and Matthew Koester (Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance - Saxophone, 2022).

Read more about the Musical Labels project

Sunday, Sunday

Sunday, Sunday (2020)

Composer: Joe Chrisman (Bachelor of Music in Composition - Piano, 2023). Performed by Joe Chrisman, Phillip Buchman (Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies - Drums, 2023), Aaron Snyder (Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies - Saxophone, 2023), Ryan Venora (Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies - Trumpet, 2023), and Ben Wood (Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies - Bass, 2023).