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Vital Signs for a New America: Reception

Sheryl Olring wearing a red suit walking with an individual in casual dress down a busy sidewalk

Friday, September 8, 2017
6:00 – 8:00 pm


In-person Event

Stamps Gallery
201 South Division Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104


Reception / Open House
Open to the public
Free of charge

On view from September 8‑October 14, 2017 in the Stamps Gallery (201 S. Division St., Ann Arbor), Vital Signs for a New America is a group exhibition including work by Dylan Miner, Sheryl Oring, and the performance collective The Hinterlands. There will be an exhibition reception on Friday, September 8 from 6 – 8 pm. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Curated by Srimoyee Mitra, Vital Signs for a New America uses a range of meaningful and compelling of community-engaged approaches to invite the public to join Miner, Oring, and The Hinterlands in speaking out and sharing stories; listening and re-learning; and remembering the past to imagine new possibilities for the future.

Active public engagement is at the heart of Vital Signs for a New America. Each work on view in this group exhibition offers opportunities to interact directly with the artists and their art. As part of the exhibition programming, the gallery will become a common space for storytelling and tea drinking with Dylan Miner; a bustling executive assistant’s office with Sheryl Oring; and a tactile, expansive personal archive with the performance collective The Hinterlands. Vital Signs invites the public to speak out, listen, and imagine new models for inclusive futures.

Dylan Miner: Elders Say We Don’t Visit Anymore
Saturdays, September 9‑October 14, 1 – 3 pm

Dylan Miner, Director of American Indian and Indigenous Studies at Michigan State University, is an artist, activist, and scholar. Miner identifies as a Wiisaakodewinini (Métis), the Ojibwe designation for a Native male of mixed ancestry. While conducting an oral history project with retired Anishinaabe autoworkers, elders shared the idea that we don’t visit as much as we used to” due to the limitations of urbanizations, wage labor, and settler colonialism to name a few. In response, Miner was inspired to explore the methodology of visiting with an art gallery or museum context. Elders Say We Don’t Visit Anymore is a creative action where the public is invited to share tea and conversation with the artist, creating new friendships and maintaining social relationships within a specific time and place.

Sheryl Oring: I Wish to Say
Friday, September 8, 56.30 pm and 7 – 8 pm (two engagements)
Fridays, September 15-October 13, 5 – 7 pm

Nationally renowned artist Sheryl Oring’s belief in the value of free expression guaranteed by the American constitution propelled her to initiate I Wish to Say (2004-ongoing), a public platform that invites people to voice their concerns about the state-of-affairs in the country to the President of America. For this project, Oring sets up a portable public office — complete with a manual typewriter — and invites viewers to dictate postcards to the President of the United States, prompting with a simple phrase: Do you have a message for the president?” Over the last decade, Oring has toured this project across the country and more than 3,000 postcards have been mailed to the White House. Taking place for the first time in Michigan, Oring will be working with students and volunteers at the Stamps Gallery and in the city of Ann Arbor to spark dialogues not just among artists and academics but also among the diverse public of Ann Arbor on their notes to the President.

The Hinterlands: The Radicalization Process Papers
Tuesday, October 3, 6 – 7.30pm: History is a Living Weapon (performance)

The Hinterlands delve into the past to remember and re-learn the cultural memories and collective histories of Detroit and Ann Arbor. A collection of boxes is discovered in the basement of a house on the border of Detroit and Hamtramck. In them, a rich personal archive of publication clippings, which appear to chronicle radical U.S. histories of the 60s and 70s. Using the archive as a performative platform, the artists invite audiences to engage with the materials contained in the boxes that blur the boundaries between fact and fiction, real and imagined. The ephemera and memorabilia in the The Radicalization Process Papers takes audiences on a journey that navigates layers of historical accounts, art, politics, and cultural artifacts and asks audiences to examine the assumptions of freedom and democracy in popular American culture. Created and compiled by The Hinterlands in collaboration with historian and poet Casey Rocheteau and designer Ben Gaydos.