Curator: Jennifer M. Friess, Associate Curator of Photography
Gallery: A. Alfred Taubman Gallery I
On View: June 4–October 23, 2022

Watershed brings recent work from fifteen contemporary artists to UMMA for an exhibition that immerses visitors in the interconnected histories, present lives, and imagined futures of the Great Lakes region.

Some of these artists give voice to the experiences of communities that have been marginalized, making personal and visceral the social, economic, and political relationships among people, water, and land. Others use water as part of their process—whether photography, painting, sculpture—to provoke reflection on its ineffable effects on our bodies, language, and lives. All demonstrate how art can contribute to and shape current dialogues on the critical problems confronting our region.

This exhibition features new commissions from those listed below as well as works by Dawoud Bey, Pope.L, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Cai Guo-Qiang, Shanna Merola, Doug Fogelson, Matthew Brandt, and Senghor Reid.

Watershed for Families

Downloadable activities and upcoming in-person events designed to connect you and your family with Watershed — learn about the Great Lakes, see how artists deal with complex issues, and discover ways to make a healthy environment! Activities and events are best suited for children ages 5 and up.

Learn More

New Commissions

Watershed includes six new works commissioned by UMMA for the exhibition.


Artist Bonnie Devine Paints The Gift

For two weeks in July 2022, Artist Bonnie Devine painted her commissioned mural "The Gift" directly on the Watershed gallery wall. Watch the mural take shape in this timelapse video.

Watch on YouTube

Exhibition Support

Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the U-M Office of the Provost, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Susan and Richard Gutow, and the U-M Institute for the Humanities. Additional generous support is provided by the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability, Graham Sustainability Institute, and the Department of English Language and Literature. Special thanks to Margaret Noodin and Michael Zimmerman, Jr. for translating the gallery texts into Anishinaabemowin.