For Students

Joseph Rosa, Director

From the Director

The warmer seasons at UMMA reflect Ann Arbor’s annual demographic shift to fewer faculty and students and an increase in tourists. This wonderful, regular migratory pattern keeps the area healthy and diverse and allows the Museum to reach out to new audiences throughout the year. For us at the Museum it also signals an opportunity to measure ourselves against our yearly programmatic and visitor experience goals and to rethink and refocus as needed.

UMMA’s collections grow significantly every year; as a result, since our expansion in 2009 it has become clear that in order to balance the cultures, eras, traditions, and media throughout this incredible, nearly 100,000 square-foot facility, we need to expand the visibility and offerings of twentieth- and twenty-first century art, architecture, and design throughout the Museum.

Thanks to the soaring new Joan and Bob Tisch Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, many of the Museum’s glorious twentieth-century works of art now rotate on extended view. In 2011 we opened the New Media Gallery in order to share the captivating work being created through video, film, and digital technologies. Our next phase results in dedicated spaces for both the Museum’s outstanding photography holdings—over 3,000 works that cover the history of the medium, from nineteenth-century archival prints by William Henry Fox Talbot to the contemporary large-format color imagery of Candida Höfer—and its exciting domestic design collection (see story in this issue), which builds on the legacy of our enviable Tiffany and other American and European decorative arts collections.

The UMMA Design Gallery featuring twentieth-century furniture design also signals a renewed commitment to presenting the most progressive thinkers in the field of architecture and design. It is crucial for a university art museum of this size and stature to not overlook this vast and always innovative field of visual culture. What architects and designers have produced historically informs much of what we experience daily through our built environment, as well as in fashion, technology, and industrial design. These objects also often serve as an accessible entry point for visitors, who once comfortable in the museum space might venture into galleries of less familiar work. The exhilarating exhibition Florencia Pita/FP mod continues through June 16, and this season we present a focused look at the socially provocative urban design work of N H D M, a collaborative practice for design and research in architecture and urbanism founded by Nahyun Hwang and David Eugin Moon. Later this year we will kick-off a new collaboration with the UM Bentley Historical Library with the first in a series of three exhibitions to highlight domestic architecture from the Midwest.

On the modern exhibitions front, this spring UMMA celebrates a rewarding collaboration with the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York, with Isamu Noguchi and Qi Baishi: Beijing 1930. UMMA’s Associate Curator of Asian Art Natsu Oyobe has pulled together a groundbreaking exhibition detailing the impactful artistic relationship between these two fascinating artists—who were introduced to each other by UM alumnus Sotokichi Katsuizumi. Exhibition and related programming details inside.

I look forward to sharing with you all of these new and exciting initiatives and hope they compel you to plan a visit to your Museum very soon!

Warmest regards,
Joseph Rosa