Detroit and Beijing collide in Ann Arbor at UMMA starting Saturday

Wang Qingsong's 'The Bloodstained Shirt' projects powerful message to audiences

By Sarah M. Parlette - Associated Producer

"The Bloodstained Shirt" (2018) focuses on the social issues parallelled in Detroit and Beijing. Photo | University of Michigan Museum of Art

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - On Saturday, the University of Michigan Museum of Art will add an exhibit, "Wang Qingsong/Detroit/Beijing,” which connects Detroit to Beijing.

 “The Bloodstained Shirt” by Wang Qingsong brings a 1959 drawing of an uprising of Chinese peasants back into focus by paralleling the uprising to the decay of communities in Detroit and Highland Park, Michigan. 

Based on the 60-year-old drawing by artist Wang Shikuo, Wang’s 2018 photo project demonstrated how pursuits of power can be toppled by communities who band together.

Behind the project's powerful message, Wang used 70 volunteers and an abandoned factory in Highland Park to recreate the 1959 drawing.

Internationally sought after, Wang has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibits around the world from Australia and Germany to the United States and Taiwan. His artwork examines social issues, like urbanization, as well as controversial and political issues.

The Wang Qingsong/Detroit/Beijing exhibit runs from Feb. 2 to May 26. Photo | University of Michigan Museum of Art

According to the UMMA, Wang noticed a similarity between southeast Michigan communities affected by real estate development and gentrification, and the massive development of Beijing, China.

On Saturday, there will also be an artist talk with Wang at 4:30 p.m. in Helmut Stern Auditorium in which he will discuss how his project developed around the goal of connecting Detroit and Beijing.

The exhibition “Wang Qingsong/Detroit/Beijing” is located in the Irving Stenn Jr. family gallery and will continue until May 26.

Even though the UMMA is free and open to the public, please remember to make a donation so as to support the arts. While the building is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., visit the UMMA galleries between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m, Tuesday through Saturday or noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

The UMMA is located at 525 S. State St.

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