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University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) pres.

Artist Talk with Courtney McClellan: Observer v. Witness, presented by the Penny Stamps Speaker Series and UMMA

Courtney McClellan is an artist and writer from Greensboro, N.C., and the current Roman Witt Artist in Residence at the Stamps School of Art & Design. Her work addresses public ritual, institutional space, and objects that invite or demand speech. Her explorations result in sculpture, performance, installation, writing, and video. Her studio practice includes experimenting with materials, but also reaches to fields like law, theater, and journalism. For the past five years she has studied legal simulation.

At UMMA, McClellan will mount Witness Lab, an architectural courtroom installation and performance series. The facsimile courtroom located in the glassed-in Stenn Gallery will host legal simulations from participating groups including The Trial Advocacy Society and the Oral Argument Competition from the University of Michigan Law School, as well as the undergraduate team of the Collegiate American Mock Trial Association. Additionally, court transcript readings and trial advocacy workshops will be performed in the gallery. Stamps students will observe and document the courtroom activity through drawing, text, photography, and video. The accumulated documents will result in a publication. 

Witness Lab offers audiences a complex truth. By studying the courtroom as a space of performance, and the lawyers as agents of justice, participants and passersby consider the physical and social architecture of the law.


Witness Lab is presented in partnership with the Roman J. Witt Artist in Residence Program of the Stamps School of Art & Design, with lead support provided by the University of Michigan Law School and Office of the Provost.
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