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Michigan/Mellon Research Colloquium

Michigan/Mellon Research Colloquium with Presentations by Andrew Herscher, Ana María León, and Rebecca Zurier

​“Detroit Art City: Toward a History” Rebecca Zurier, Associate Professor of History of Art and “Detroit Resists and Architectures of Resistance” Andrew Herscher, Associate Professor of Architecture, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Associate Professor of History of Art and Ana María León, Assistant Professor of History of Art, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, and Assistant Professor of Architecture.

The Michigan/Mellon Project on the Egalitarian Metropolis brings together designers and humanities scholars to discuss questions of urbanism, equity, privatization, and the common good. The project is co-directed by Robert Fishman, Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, and Matthew Biro, Professor of Art History. For more information, please visit our website: http://taubmancollege.umich.edu/research/michigan-mellon-project-egalitarianism-and-metropolis

Rebecca Zurier studies what American art and culture can tell us about each other, defining art broadly to include comic strips, mass media, vernacular architecture, and other aspects of the visual and built environment. Her research has focused to date on the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, a time when industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and changes in race relations and social mores–as well as experimentation in politics and the arts–redefined the United States as modern. Current interests include urban culture in New York and Detroit, national identity and the perception of American art abroad, and concepts of realism and representation in art and writing.

Andrew Herscher trained as an architect and historian of architecture and works on the spatial politics of violence, humanitarian and human rights issues, exile and migration, and contemporary art and architecture. His research, writing, and teaching is informed by his long-term participant-observation in Kosovo’s post-conflict environment, including work with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, and the Kosovo Cultural Heritage Project, a nongovernmental organization he co-founded and co-directed. During his time in Michigan, he has also been involved in a number of collaborative projects in Detroit, including the We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective; Detroit Resists, a coalition of activists, artists, architects and community members working on behalf of an inclusive, equitable, and democratic city; and the Detroit Unreal Estate Agency, an open-access platform for the study of urban crisis using Detroit as a focal point.

Ana María León is trained as both an architect and an architecture historian. Her research focuses on the intersection of modernity, pedagogy, and politics in art and architecture, with special emphasis on networks between the Americas and Europe. Her current project examines the housing projects of Catalan architect Antonio Bonet in Buenos Aires as mediators between the avant-garde’s fascination with the unconscious and the state’s mandate to control the crowds. She has worked on the intersection of pedagogy and politics in Latin American art and architecture, particularly in the influence of the participatory discourse of Marxist pedagogue Paulo Freire in the work of artist Lygia Clark and architect Vilanova Artigas in São Paulo, and in the Open City architecture school in Valparaíso.