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Photo by Mark Gjukich

Cullen Washington, Jr.: The Public Square

Artist: Cullen Washington, Jr.
Guest Curator: Vera Grant
January 25, 2020 - March 13, 2020
A. Alfred Taubman Gallery I


This expansive look at the work and concerns of emerging contemporary artist Cullen Washington, Jr. pivots around the artist’s most recent series, Agoras — a set of vivid, large scale abstract paintings and small collage works.

The compositions explore the ancient Greek public space as a site for activated assembly and the heart of the artistic, spiritual, and political life of the city.

UMMA’s installation is designed with a simulated public square at its center, complete with sound components featuring noted political and aesthetic discourse and surrounded by Washington’s soaring monumental collages. Works from four earlier series by the artist form the perimeter of the Museum’s largest special exhibition space.

Though in-person visits to the exhibition were cut short when the museum closed during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, online visitors are invited to explore Washington’s works in this digital extension of the exhibition.


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.