A recent viewpoint by Eliot Johnson about UMMA made me wonder if either Johnson or the Daily’s editors even bothered to visit the collection, seeing as they couldn’t even correctly identify the museum by its name, The University of Michigan Museum of Art (Adding color to UMMA, 9/9/09).

To his credit, Johnson does rightly point out the addition lay in contrast to its surrounding, but fails to recognize the intent of this move beyond another University attempt to, “classify whatever it likes as art.”

Rather than being a bi-product of aberrant modern design as suggested, the shell of the building appropriately compliments its contents. As the collection of the University grew more expansive, it began to outgrow its place, physically and ideologically. The architect’s design reflects this change by bridging more modern work with the historical vocabulary of the old building, and the location of work within further observes this distinction. Though more modern, it’s not radically disparate from other buildings in the area, like the Ross School of Business.

Additionally, the recommendation that student art should be used as a plug to fill Johnson’s aesthetic void is insulting, not flattering. Artists are not the purveyors of crafty, visually pleasing projects, devoid of context or substance to be used in a rotational playlist on the side of a building.

The writer should recognize the building itself is someone’s work of art, and his suggestion is analogous to holding a competition to spray paint over one of the works inside he surely holds equal disdain for.

Perhaps next time Johnson should view UMMA in its entirety, rather than passing judgment after simply walking through the corridor the of museum.

Matt Hallock
Art & Design senior

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