Skip to main content
Photo by Mark Gjukich

Cosmogonic Tattoos

Artist: Jim Cogswell
April 22, 2017 - April 30, 2019

In celebration of the University of Michigan’s Bicentennial in 2017, artist and distinguished U­–M art professor Jim Cogswell was invited to create a series of public window installations in response to the holdings of the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.

For this visionary project, the artist adhered a procession of vivid images to the glass walls of the museums in a rhythmically evocative narrative, based on reassembled fragments from a diverse range of artworks in both museums’ permanent collections.  The juxtaposed images address our shared histories and experiences while connecting the viewer to the origins and meaning of objects and their power to shape knowledge, memory, and identity. By leveraging the buildings’ unique architecture, the artist expands our understanding of a museum as a cultural repository and highlights the significant role of these institutions in the life of the campus community.

Cosmogonic Tattoos is on view at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology through May 2, 2018 and UMMA through June 2, 2019.


Lead support for Cosmogonic Tattoos is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost. Additional support for the artist’s project is provided by the University of Michigan Bicentennial Office and the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design.