Congrats are in order for the University of Michigan Museum of Art and for Art Professor Holly Hughes. The UMMA has received a Challenge Grant of $500,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support “Dynamic Humanities Connections,” an initiative that will transform the museum’s amazing onsite achievements into an even more amazing array of services for UMMA’s visitors and users from around the world. The grant is one of only nine of this size offered nationwide. Museum Director extraordinaire, Joseph Rosa, told me, “It will further UMMA’s connections with contemporary questions and bring the next generation of scholars and patrons into the museum – both onsite and via new technology-based interpretive tools that offer visitors richer and more varied experiences.” Is that extraordinaire, or what? Especially the “patrons” part!
I can’t fathom why I’m such a sucker for performance art. After all, it’s so outrageous, so hysterical in both the funny and histrionic senses. UM Professor Holly Hughes has risen in the field of performance art to become one of the preeminent practitioners in the world. She has just co-edited “Animal Acts: Performing Species Today,” a collection of animal-themed performance scripts with commentaries from leading scholars, published by the University of Michigan Press in January. Check out the UM Press website for video clips of performances filmed last year in the Duderstadt Studio. Yeah, the show I wrote about in this space. Watch for the how-does-she-do-it phenom Emilia Javanica, who uses props, sound effects and more to make sweet-but-telling observations about the wonder and horror of everyday life.