For Students

Joseph Rosa, Director

From the Director

The launch of a new academic year is filled with promise, possibilities, and new initiatives. As always the summer was too fleeting, perhaps more so for me this year as my family and I quickly settled into the Ann Arbor community and began to explore this city’s wonderful array of parks, pools, shops, and neighborhoods—and, of course, the nearest grocery store.

This season’s main event is the major reconsideration of James McNeill Whistler’s print oeuvre—an undertaking of vast scope and scale by Senior Curator of Western Art Carole McNamara. Not since 1994 has the Museum presented the breadth of its stellar Whistler collection, and it’s the first time it will be shown off to superb effect in our recently renovated temporary exhibition space—the stunning A. Alfred Taubman Gallery—in Alumni Memorial Hall, which turns 100 this year (see story inside). Several exciting programs have been planned around this special exhibition, including a special members’ Private Showing on Friday, September 24; I look forward to meeting many of you there and learning about your relationship with UMMA.

The Whistler exhibition also provides a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the significance of a particularly prescient collector and supporter of the Museum, Margaret Watson Parker, and the power of thoughtful and dedicated collectors to transform an institution. Mrs. Parker’s gift to UMMA included not only 158 extraordinary prints and one painting by Whistler, but also Old Master prints, classic Japanese woodblock prints, and Pewabic Pottery. As an encyclopedic museum, UMMA will continue to focus its collecting strategies around filling omissions, expanding the artists represented, and striking a balance between the historical and contemporary.

Our new calendar of events, attached to the midsection of Insight, debuted last issue, and I hope that you’ll find it useful in planning your attendance at Museum events. This is the first half of a two-part initiative to enhance our public information about the range of programs and events that the expanded and restored Museum is now able to offer. The second tool, which will be unveiled this fall, is a new customized event enewsletter. Many of you may already subscribe to UMMA Events; if you’re not a subscriber yet, please sign up on the front page of our website (umma.umich.edu). Soon, you will be able to tailor the program information you would like to receive from us, whether it’s talks by artists and curators, performing arts events, the writers series, art making classes, etc.

Among the many events taking place this fall at the Museum are films, tours, and a lecture and workshop presented as part of the UM LSA Theme Semester What Makes Life Worth Living? I can’t think of a better way to explore this provocative and universal query than through a trip to the Museum.

Warmest regards,

Joseph Rosa
Director