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University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) pres.

Artist Talk with Cullen Washington, Jr.: Abstract Meditations on the Grid and Humanity presented by the Penny Stamps Speaker Series

Co-presented by the Penny Stamps Speaker Series and UMMA

Cullen Washington, Jr.’s work offers meditations on human interconnectivity and “the universal framework that undergirds all things.” Fusing together seemingly disparate concepts via the connective tissues of mixed media, Washington uses non-representational abstraction to understand order, chaos, social relationships, and other natural phenomena. The work takes audiences on a vibrant journey through and with materiality – a concerted and haptic interplay between gestures of painting and drawing and the modes of reproduction.

In the exhibition Cullen Washington, Jr.: The Public Square, his most recent series, Agoras, explores the “agora”— the ancient Greek public space — as a "gathering place" for activated assembly that functions as the heart of the commercial, spiritual, and political life in the city. Washington describes the contemporary agora as an “area of convergence, where the displaced can find a place.”

Washington’s work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum and has been exhibited at the Queens Museum, Saatchi Gallery London, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He has been an artist in residence at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Yaddo, and The Joan Mitchell Foundation. He is also a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award.

Co-presented by the Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series and UMMA as part of the 2020 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium.

Cullen Washington, Jr.: The Public Square will be on view at UMMA January 25 - May 17, 2020.

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, 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. 
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