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New UMMA exhibition explores ancient space through contemporary artist in Ann Arbor

"Agora 1," a mixed media collage on canvas created by Cullen Washington Jr in 2017. Photo by Andrea Feldman.
"Agora 1," a mixed media collage on canvas created by Cullen Washington Jr in 2017. Photo by Andrea Feldman. (Cullen Washington, Jr.)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – On Jan. 25, the University of Michigan Museum of Art will open up a new exhibition that explores ancient Greek public space through the work of Cullen Washington Jr.

Revolving around Washington’s series “Agoras,” the installation, “Cullen Washington, Jr.: The Public Square,” explores elements in ancient Greek public areas. The center of the exhibition will be a public square. Four earlier series from the artist will create a perimeter around the square. Sound components incorporating political and aesthetic discourse will be a part of the installation as well as large mixed-media pieces created by Washington.

"Agora 8," a mixed media collage on canvas created by Cullen Washington Jr in 2018. Photo by Andrea Feldman.
"Agora 8," a mixed media collage on canvas created by Cullen Washington Jr in 2018. Photo by Andrea Feldman. (Cullen Washington, Jr.)

A native of Lousiana, Washington uses mixed media and abstract art to convey an array of messages, themes and commentary. His work has been shown at exhibitions around the United States including at the Studio Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Washington has held the position of artist-in-residence at several institutions around the United States such as Amherst College and the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

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On Jan. 25, Washington will join exhibition curator Vera Grant at the UMMA at 4 p.m. for a conversation about abstraction as well as the role of art and artists.

At 5 p.m., on Jan. 23, he will also have an artist talk at the Michigan Theater as part of the Penny Stamps Speaker Series. Find more information about that event here.

The “Cullen Washington, Jr.: The Public Square” exhibition will run until May 17.

The UMMA is at 525 South State St.

"Agora 9," a mixed media collage on canvas created by Cullen Washington Jr. in 2019. Photo by Andrea Feldman.
"Agora 9," a mixed media collage on canvas created by Cullen Washington Jr. in 2019. Photo by Andrea Feldman. (Cullen Washington, Jr.)