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Panel Discussion: Looking Back/Moving Forward: Activating the Archive and Documenting a Movement

A black and white photo of members of the White Panther party in 1970 in front of their headquarters on Hill Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Leni Sinclair, 1520 Hill Street, Ann Arbor, 1970” 

Saturday, September 22, 2018
2:00 – 4:00 pm


In-person Event

Stamps Gallery
201 South Division Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104


Lecture / Discussion
Open to the public
Free of charge

Join us for a discussion on the social movements (Anti-War Movement, Civil Rights Movements and Student Movements, including the Black Action Movement) and experimental art practices (The Once Group) that were born and nurtured in Ann Arbor and on the University of Michigan campus from the late-1950s to the 1970s. Panel participants include artists, educators and activists who played an active role in the happenings that defined these radical times in Ann Arbor’s history. This is a public program for the exhibition Have We Met? Dialogues on Memory and Desire on view at Stamps Gallery from Sept. 21 — Nov. 182018.

Panelists: Julie Herrada (Curator, Labadie Collection), Buster Simpson (Artist & Stamps Alum 69 MFA), Leni Sinclair (Artist & Activist). Moderated by Diane Kirkpatrick, Professor Emerita, History of Art, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Diane M. Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, History of Art, University of Michigan, received her B.A. degree from Vassar College in 1955, her M.F.A. degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1957, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan in 1965 and 1969, respectively. Kirkpatrick joined the faculty as a lecturer in the history of art in 1968 and was promoted to instructor in 1969, assistant professor in 1972, associate professor in 1974, and professor in 1982. A specialist in contemporary art, including photography, cinema, and technological media, Kirkpatrick has published widely, has two books in progress, and has presented numerous conference papers, all while undertaking educational television productions, guest curatorships, and a wide range of media projects. She was a pioneer in recognizing the potential of computer technologies for research, teaching, and exhibiting.

Buster Simpson has been active as an artist working in the public since the late 1960’s. His work ranges from stand alone sculpture to integrated and/​or collaborative works. His work incorporates ecological, historical, social, and technological considerations, contextualizing them into a site specific aesthetic. His art, its medium and product vary, but the methodology and underpinning conceptual approach are consistent. All aspects of the public realm potentially could become part of the palette; the landscape, the infrastructure, the built environment, and the social and economic engagement. Simpson has stated, I prefer working in public spaces. The complexity of any site is its asset; to build upon, to distill, to reveal its layers of meaning. Process becomes part and parcel to the art of the place.” Simpson has worked on major infrastructure projects, site master planning, signature sculptures, museum installations, and community projects. Simpson has completed numerous art master plans for urban centers and watersheds that integrate community, ecology and art.

Leni Sinclair was born in Koenigsberg, East Prussia, and raised on a Collective Farm in the former East Germany. She escaped from there before the Berlin Wall was built, and emigrated to America with the help of relatives and settled in Detroit. While studying geography at Wayne State University in the early 1960s, she helped organize the Detroit Artists Workshop and began documenting the cultural and political history of Detroit with her camera. She soon discovered the thriving Detroit jazz clubs and by mid-decade, she also found herself amidst an explosive Michigan Rock” scene, working with emerging artists such as the MC5, Iggy and the Stooges, and Bob Seger while also serving as part of the lighting crew at the legendary Grande Ballroom. Leni possesses a genuinely iconic collection of photographs documenting the political and cultural transformations taking place in Detroit and Ann Arbor from 1965 to 1975. In 2009, Leni had her first major museum exhibit at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, and since then had exhibitions in Lille, France; in Munich, Germany; and in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as at the Susanne Hilberry Gallery in Ferndale, Michigan in 2014. From Coltrane and Sun Ra to Howlin’ Wolf, Hendrix, and Aretha Franklin, Leni Sinclair’s images present not merely five decades of music photography, but an essential portrait of American culture.

Before assuming the role of Labadie Collection curator in 2000, Julie Herrada served for six years as assistant curator of the collection. Not only does she collect and manage holdings related to international social protest movements, she also curates exhibits, assists students and researchers from all over the world, and is constantly collaborating and thinking of ways to preserve and provide universal access to hidden histories. Herrada has authored several book reviews and has published articles in professional journals such as Archival Issues, Collection Building, Progressive Librarian, Serials Review and RBMS Journal (publication of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the American Library Association). In 2002 Herrada was one of the first people selected as a Mover and Shaker by Library Journal. The award is bestowed on those in the library profession who are innovative, creative and making a difference.” In May of 2008 she was part of a small group who organized an international symposium called Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Archives and the Ethics of Memory Construction”, which explored the relationships between archives, professional ethics, power, social justice, and contemporary and historical accountability. In 2011 Herrada received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Wayne State University’s School of Library and Information Science.