Art Action Day 2018 at UMMA

How does art unite us?

You are invited to participate in national Arts Action Day at UMMA–wherein artists and cultural groups, and museums across the country are communicating the power of art to unite us and bring us together. We believe in the need both to heighten our sense of our shared humanity, to work for equality and justice, and to communicate visions of what our world could be.

This digital selection of objects from UMMA's collection exemplifies some of the ways that works of art can meaningfully engage audiences in important conversations. The featured works are presented below with comments from UMMA staff which will be updated throughout the event. 

We also encourage you to participate in the democratic experiment by adding your own voice! You may respond to the overall prompt: How does art unite us? Or, you can respond to each piece individually with how you feel it engages, evokes, inspires, and/or unites.

Please add your own responses either online (by clicking here and then on "Comments"), or in person by visiting UMMA January 19–21, 2018.

#artactionday #artunitesus

Art can force us to confront and discuss difficult topics.

Art incites dialogue and invites open-mindedness. Art can inspire goodwill and empathy.

Responses TBD

Art records and interprets the important movements in our shared history. It's there to document the struggles, honor the brave souls who took part, and (when appropriate) celebrate the victories. 

Art provides a voice that is louder than one megaphone; through it we have the ability to reach and impact millions of people.   

Art reminds us of our history and can inspire and motivate us during challenging times. 

Responses TBD

Art lifts us from our everyday distractions and enables us to encounter beauty and awe that surpass the mundane things that divide us.

Art can mean something different to each person experiencing it.

Art and storytelling go hand in hand.

Responses TBD

Art can stop us in our tracks. For the moment of encounter we can converse with another person from a different time and place, and understand that we are connected as we are in fact connected to all humanity.

Responses TBD

 #artactionday #artunitesus

This print has rows of stencilled black text in all capital letters on white background. In pencil, the print is signed and dated (l.r.) "Glenn Lignon '92" and numbered (l.l.) "27/45". 
Glenn Ligon
etching, aquatint, spitbite, and sugarlift on Rives BFK paper
25 in x 17 1/4 in (63.5 cm x 43.82 cm);32 3/16 in x 26 3/16 in (81.76 cm x 66.52 cm)
Museum Purchase
A black and white image of three children and four adults with suitcases greeting two other adults with a white fence in the foreground.
Richard Swanson
Estonian Refugees
gelatin silver print on paper
8 in x 10 in (20.32 cm x 25.4 cm)
Gift of Mark Swanson
Portrait of a middle-aged woman. She looks into the camera lens; her dark hijab disappears into the dark background. Persian calligraphy is inscribed subtly over her skin in ink.
Shirin Neshat
digital pigment print on paper
24 in x 16 1/2 in (60.96 cm x 41.91 cm);26 in x 17 1/2 in (66.04 cm x 44.45 cm)
Gift of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
A group of people marching in protest outside of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Danny Lyon
March on Washington, [SNCC members and friends defiantly gather to sing freedom songs], from "Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement"
gelatin silver print on paper
14 x 11 in. ( 35.56 x 27.94 cm )
Gift of Thomas Wilson '79 and Jill Garling '80
In this drawing, four women walkshoulder to shoulder toward the left. They are wearing long skirts of the early twentieth century and sashes, and they are carrying pendants over their right shoulders and small pieces of paper in their left.
John Sloan
Votes for Women
crayon, ink, and graphite on white paper
8 9/16 in x 11 in (21.75 cm x 27.94 cm);14 3/8 in x 19 5/16 in (36.51 cm x 49.05 cm);6 11/16 in x 6 5/16 in (16.99 cm x 16.03 cm)
Museum Purchase
This mixed media painting has a graffiti aesthetic. There are a series of portraits, one large in spray paint in the center of the work and a number of smaller ones in collaged newspaper. Throughout the composition are stenciled phrases in black and red paint as well as inscribed phrases in pen and various colored paints. There are also a number collaged pieces of newspaper. The work is signed and dated (l.r.) "B Dogancay / 2009" in yellow paint.
Burhan Cahit Doğançay
Give Peace a Chance
collage and mixed media on canvas
43 in x 62 in (109.22 cm x 157.48 cm)
Anonymous gift
A black and white silkscreen lettering of a dove with its right wing outstretched, neck turned. The bird's beak is a brilliant shade of orange. There is a poem titled, "I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great." below the dove, and names of various people above the dove. The poem was written by Stephen Spender.
Ben Shahn
I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great
white and black silkscreen lettering and watercolor wash on paper
30 1/4 in x 24 1/4 in x 5/16 in (76.83 cm x 61.6 cm x 0.79 cm)
Gift of the Robbins Center for Cross Cultural Communication, Founder Warren M. Robbins
Oak panel with screen print; signed K.Haring 88 along lower right edge.
Keith Haring
Art Attack
screenprint on oak panel
30 in x 30 in x 2 in (76.2 cm x 76.2 cm x 5.08 cm);30 in x 29 15/16 in x 2 in (76.2 cm x 76.04 cm x 5.08 cm)
Gift of Margaret I. McIntosh
This photograph depicts a view of a desert landscape with a fish hanging from the top of a thin pole in the foreground.  Behind the fish is a small cemetery that has mounds and crosses and in the distance are a few small buildings. Two more poles with fish hanging from them appear farther away in the image to the right of the fish in the foreground.
Patrick Nagatani
Japanese Children's Day Carp Banners, Paguate Village, Jackpile Mine Uranium Tailings, Laguna Pueblo Reservation, New Mexico
dye destruction print on paper
16 ⅛ in x 20 1/16 in (40.96 cm x 50.96 cm)
Gift of Beverly Baker in memory of Morris D. Baker
White background with a black "NO." The white interior of the "O" turns into a fist clenching the top. 
Shigeo Fukuda
Hiroshima-Nagasaki 50 #1
screenprint on paper
40 ½ in x 28 ¾ in (102.87 cm x 73.02 cm)
Gift of the DNP Foundation for Cultural Promotion
Yaacov Agam
Beating Heart (Moods)
stainless steel
23 in. x 23 in. x 1 in. ( 58.42 cm x 58.42 cm x 2.54 cm )
Gift of Jack A. and Noreen Rounick
This is a line drawing done in colors of red, orange, blue, yellow, brown and green, on white paper. In the top center portion of the sheet are the words, "A LIE". Below this are forms that resemble an egg, a slice of bacon, a piece of bread with a pat of yellow butter. Below these forms are some round shapes, labeled "flakes", a bowl and a carton of milk, labeled "milk".
Jean-Michel Basquiat
A Lie
colored crayons on paper
24 in x 18 in (60.96 cm x 45.72 cm);24 in x 18 in (60.96 cm x 45.72 cm);28 in x 23 in (71.12 cm x 58.42 cm)
Gift of Arthur Cohen in honor of Ben and Yetta Cohen


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Last Updated

January 29, 2018 1:16 p.m.


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