Public programs facilitate dialogue between academics and professionals, informing scholarship and strengthening practice.

Multiple day conferences, year-long colloquia, individual lectures, “conversations” between individuals, hands-on workshops, and Museums at Noon talks featuring our graduate students all contribute to the remarkable richness of MSP offerings.

Video recordings of some MSP lectures are archived for viewing in our Media Gallery.

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Curatorial Dilemmas: Representing Africa at UMMA with Pamela McClusky

November 2, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

A series of talks by leading curators and thinkers in African art will launch a reimagining process for the forthcoming reinstallation of the University of Michigan Museum of Art’s Robert and Lillian Montalto Bohlen Gallery of African Art. Pamela McClusky, Curator of African and Oceanic Art, Seattle Art Museum, will be the second speaker in this series to contribute reflections on her own groundbreaking work in the display of African art.

McClusky established a department for the Art of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the Seattle Art Museum in the 1980s.  It became the museum’s fastest growing department, receiving several significant collections, and hosting a vast range of exhibitions.  Honoring the depth of the African holdings, she led a collaborative process with African artists, scholars, and advisors to create a national tour, publication and web resource entitled: Long Steps Never Broke a Back in 2002-2004.
During the last decade, she has collaborated on exhibitions such as Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth, Gauguin and Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise, and Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats. When the Seattle Art Museum expanded in 2007, she curated multiple galleries of African art, along with experimental installations that mixed cultural perspectives and cross continental boundaries. In 2012, she led an effort to place Australian art in the permanent galleries and oversaw an exhibition, publication and tour called Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art.  Recently, she was the lead curator for Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, a national touring exhibition that combined masks of the past with masquerading of the present, and Mood Indigo: Textiles from Around the World.  She is now working on a new design and interpretation of the African collection galleries which will focus on the distinctions between public and private art and the ways they are presented in museums.

Additional featured speakers include:
Thursday, October 19, 7 p.m.: Mary (Polly) Nooter Roberts, Professor, UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and Consulting Curator for African Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Thursday, November 30, 7 p.m.: Christa Clarke, Senior Curator Arts of Global Africa, Newark Museum


Lead support for Power Contained: The Art of Authority in Central and West Africa is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost and the African Studies Center.

This lecture series is presented in partnership with the University of Michigan African Studies Center, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Department of History of Art, Institute for the Humanities, and Museum Studies Program.

The series is presented in conjunction with the UMMA exhibition Power Contained: The Art of Authority in Central and West Africa (on view from August 19-December 31, 2017).



November 2, 2017
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


U-M Museum of Art, Helmut Stern Auditorium
525 S. State St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 United States
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