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The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene


The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene awakens us to the physical and social effects of the Anthropocene, a much-debated term used to define a new geological epoch shaped by human activity. Structured around ecological issues, the exhibition presents photography, video, and sculpture that address subjects and themes related to raw materials, disasters, consumption, loss, and justice. More than thirty-five international artists, including Sammy Baloji, Liu Bolin, Dana Levy, Mary Mattingly, Pedro Neves Marques, Gabriel Orozco, Trevor Paglen, and Thomas Struth, respond to dire global and local circumstances with resistance and imagination—sustaining an openness, wonder, and curiosity about the world to come.

Read the exhibition press release here.


UMMA and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival welcome artist Mary Mattingly to Ann Arbor for a 3-day residency, June 27–June 30. Mattingly, whose photograph, Life of Objects, is featured in UMMA’s exhibition The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene, is deeply concerned with our relationships to objects—where they come from, where they go, their implications for humans, and their impact on the environment. Join the artist for a variety of interactive workshops and discussion-based programs during her residency.

Objects in the Round
Thursday, June 27 – Opening 7–10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, June 28 & 29 – Workshops and Construction 5–10 p.m.
Sunday, June 30 – Closing/Deconstruction 5–8 p.m.
Annex tent at Top of the Park on Ingalls Mall at 915 E. Washington St.

Mattingly will lead a large-scale collaborative public art project over three evenings. Come build a miniature landscape with Mattingly and other festival goers and explore your own relationship to objects, built landscapes, and habits of consumption. Bring a household item or object you are willing to part with to contribute to the project. Objects in the Round is an exclusive opportunity for every generation to engage with arts and ecology.
Sunday, June 30, 5–8 p.m. Mattingly will deconstruct the installation. Following the deconstruction, join the artist in the Grove for a gathering.

Long Table Discussion: Art / Environment / Sustainability
Thursday, June 27, 5:30 p.m.
Annex tent at Top of the Park

To kick off her residency, Mattingly will be joined by thought leaders from the U-M and beyond for a discussion about the possibilities and challenges for artists and arts organizations creating and presenting artwork that explores sustainability and the environment. The Long Table format was born from the director and scholar Lois Weaver’s exercise around participation and public engagement. The aim is to foster civic-minded discussions about ideas and questions surrounding the city’s creative culture. It’s a dinner table atmosphere encouraging participants to ask questions, make statements, leave comments, or openly sit, listen, and watch.

In Conversation: Life and Afterlife of Objects with Mary Mattingly and curators Jennifer M. Friess and Amanda Krugliak
Sunday, June 30, 3–4:30 p.m.
University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State Street, Ann Arbor

This program is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Please click here to register.

Artist Mary Mattingly is deeply concerned with our relationships to objects—where they come from, where they go, their implications for humans, and their impact on the environment. Mattingly asks us to consider how consumerist societies enact histories of exploitation in the creation of objects, by mapping complex supply chains from mineral mines to store shelves.

Returning to Michigan after a 2016 residency and exhibition at the U-M Institute for Humanities, during which she travelled to the Upper Peninsula’s cobalt mines, engaged U-M students (including UMMA’s Student Engagement Council) in tracing source materials, and surfaced stories to create a time capsule, Mattingly will share how Michigan continues to inform her work. Join Mattingly, along with Jennifer M. Friess, UMMA Assistant Curator of Photography, and Amanda Krugliak, Arts Curator at the U-M Institute for the Humanities for a look in the gallery, followed by a discussion of the complex terrain Mattingly’s artistic practice explores.

Immediately following this UMMA program, Mattingly and the public will disassemble the project from 5–7 p.m. For more information visit Stop by the Institute for the Humanities, 202 S. Thayer, to see the time capsule from Mattingly’s 2016 residency on your way to Top of the Park.

Mary Mattingly’s residency is presented in partnership with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Festival Footprint Initiative established with generous support from Toyota.