University of Michigan Museum of Art

I had a chance this weekend to visit the museum of art at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I was visiting some friends from high school and we took a couple hours to walk around the museum. The sculpture and architecture that I saw on their campus creates a perfect balance between city and university. I particularly enjoyed Mark Di Suvero’s painted stele sculpture “Orion” that spells the word “ART” regardless of the perspective. I believe the idea that art comes in many forms and the structure changes based on the audiences perspective, but no matter how you look at it, the piece remains art.

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On the opposite side of the museum, this Cor-Ten steel sculpture called “Daedalus” by Charles Ginnever breaks the plain of grass. I enjoy this sculpture because it creates interesting shadows and adds artificial elevation to the grass. The form of the sculpture also changes dramatically depending on what angle it is being viewed at. I am reminded of the harsh slopes and faces of mountains in Alaska.

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My favorite piece was a casted aluminum sculpture with a wood base by David Smith called “Growing Forms” because it reminded me of the work we have done in this class. David Smith was an untrained artist and began making sculptures after learning welding techniques on a car assembly line. The sculpture was made in 1939 and is one of the few pieces of metal that Smith made during the war years when metal was scarce and expensive. The teardrop shaped metal cast looks to me like a representation of the human soul, and takes the shape of a “glyph’, a figure Smith used to illustrate psychic states. It is an organic form that looks like a woman or a fetus composed in a raindrop. The totemic wood base creates contrast between the metal cast and acts as a pedestal creating a barrier between the cast and the audience.

David Smith’s work got me thinking about how I can use vertical space to lift my cast up and frame it in a certain way. I will be considering how the height and perspective change the meaning of my casted piece.

I enjoyed the museum and my time on Michigan’s campus. There was also a contemporary painting exhibit and a gallery of Tibetan and Japanese art. It was great to expierence Ann Arbor and see some cool art.

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