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Cosmogonic Tattoos: Exhibition and Window Installation by Jim Cogswell

Detail of Apulian Krater (340 BC), 2015. Ink on mylar, 12” x 18”
University of Michigan Museum of Art: April 22–December 3, 2017

Kelsey Museum (exterior):  June 2–December 17,  2017

Kelsey Museum (interior special exhibition): June 2–September 10, 2017

In celebration of the University’s Bicentennial in 2017, artist and professor Jim Cogswell has been invited by the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology and the University of Michigan Museum of Art to create a set of public window installations in response to the objects in their collections.  Titled Cosmogonic Tattoos, his project will use adhesive vinyl images applied in saturated colors to windows in the two buildings, highlighting the role of these museums in the life of our campus community. Through close examination of objects separated from us by deep chronological and cultural divides, imaginatively transformed within our campus context, this project celebrates the power of architecture, ornament, and material objects to shape knowledge, historical memory, and cultural identity.

Preliminary digital sketch for entrance, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 2015

Jim Cogswell’s vinyl images are not printed but are a mosaic assembled from multiple fragments, each color machine-cut from a different roll and applied as a separate unit to the windows. The color permeates the vinyl material, making it equally vibrant on both sides. With varying degrees of transparency, it responds to the incidence and intensity of light determined by weather and time of day, bathing viewers in shifting sensations of color. With its intricate presence on the outside of the windows, Cosmogonic Tattoos will draw attention to the museum buildings even from a distance, evoking objects on view in their collections by weaving elements distilled from the artist’s drawings into unexpected relationships. 

Guest curator: Jim Cogswell