Curated by Rachel Torres & Bridget Kennedy
The U-M Library collections contain not only manuscripts, journals, and electronic resources but a variety of objects and visual collections. Our very first purchase in 1838 was John James Audubon’s Birds of America. Many of our visual collections are digitized and on virtual display through digital collections, online exhibits, and faculty research and projects. Dozens of visiting scholars, faculty, researchers, and courses interact with and interpret our collections every year and our digital collections are available globally for scholars to access and use.
While these opportunities yield exciting new knowledge, the U-M Library wanted to offer another kind of engagement for our campus and local communities to interact with and interpret our collections.
During the fall 2018 term, Detroit artist, Doug Jones, worked with subject specialists across the U-M Library to identify content to adapt as large-format hyper-real "bookmarks" to be installed throughout library buildings. Using his PIXEL Technique, Jones reinterpreted the pieces in a hyper-real, large-scale format (mimicking bookmarks) and printed them on individual cotton sheets.
Based on the unique and inspiring collections of the library, each piece was painted during a series of creation sessions held from February to August of 2019. Faculty, students, scholars, and southeast Michigan residents painted the pieces using q-tips and embellished them based on their own creative drive. Jones and library partners collaborated with library students and staff, student associations, university departments, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, CEW+, and the Detroit Center to organize and host these sessions.
Each piece is finished and mounted on aluminum using automotive manufacturing techniques, a technique Jones uses to incorporate the region's history with the automotive industry into the fine arts process. The pieces are currently located in the Hatcher Gallery Space (6 pieces), Hatcher South Lobby (2 pieces), and Hatcher 8th Floor Suite - Entrance Hallway (2 pieces). Given their construction, they are able to be moved at any time.
The project celebrates the library's deep and broad collections, the library's contributions to knowledge creation and sharing, and academic and regional community members. The process served as a community-building experience for people of all ages, backgrounds, skill levels, locations, languages, and experience levels to join together in co-creation.
I invented my PIXEL Technique to bring diverse people together in the production of fine art. Connect the Dots: Collective..
Based on the unique and inspiring collections of the University of Michigan Library, each piece was painted during a..
The iconic Snowy Owl is an engraving by John James Audubon. Birds of America was the University of Michigan’s initial..
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