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Vital Signs for a New America


September 8 – October 14, 2017


In-person Event

Stamps Gallery
201 South Division Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104


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.

Vital Talks: A Stamps Gallery Panel Discussion

Sat­ur­day, Sep­tem­ber 9 from 3 — 5 PM
Stamps Gallery, 201 S. Divi­sion St., between Wash­ing­ton St. and Lib­erty St. in down­town Ann Arbor. 

Co-pre­sented with Literati Book­store, Vital Talks is a panel dis­cus­sion on cul­ture, pol­i­tics, and heal­ing mod­er­ated by Sri­moyee Mitra, Stamps Gallery Direc­tor. This event is free and open to the public.

Pan­elists include artists She­lagh Kee­ley, Dylan Miner, Sheryl Oring, The Hin­ter­lands, and cura­tor Gaë­tane Verna, direc­tor of the Power Plant Con­tem­po­rary Art, Toronto.

The Stamps Gallery is a brand new space for con­tem­po­rary art and design think­ing, mak­ing. This fall, the Gallery launches its fall pro­gram with two major exhi­bi­tions: The Unfin­ished Con­ver­sa­tion: Encoding/​Decod­ing and Vital Signs for a New Amer­ica. Both exhi­bi­tions encour­age audi­ences to con­struct new read­ings of the past and imag­ine new par­a­digms for the future. This dis­cus­sion brings together artists and cura­tors from these shows to share their work and strate­gies on learn­ing from diverse his­to­ries of col­lec­tiv­ity and resistance.

Books by the pan­elists and related to the exhi­bi­tions will be avail­able for pur­chase, cour­tesy of Literati Bookstore. 


Stamps Gallery

201 South Division Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104

  • Sunday: Closed
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Thursday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Friday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Saturday: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Holiday Closings: Stamps Gallery will be closed from November 24 - 28, 2021 and December 20, 2021 - January 4, 2022.