Lane Hall Artwork moves to UMMA
For nearly 20 years, Joanne Leonard’s 22-foot-long scroll, Reel Family, has graced the back hallway of Lane Hall’s first floor. Visitors, students, and building occupants have admired and studied the delicate texts and images that spread out like a timeline.
Leonard created her photo-collage in 1999 and gifted the piece to IRWG and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS) in 2003. The work uses transparency/translucency and storytelling strategies that combine text and image to narrate two stories: the private one of Leonard’s family, who emigrated to the U.S. from Bavaria to escape anti-Semitism; and the public story of the 1877 Hilton-Seligman Affair, a well-known case of anti-Semitism against a prominent New York financier who was a friend of Leonard’s family. A companion piece donated around the same time, a monoprint “Of Windows and Wings”, created by Professor Leonard’s twin sister, Eleanor Rubin, remains on display in the Lane Hall collection.
After two decades on display, the scroll was beginning to show signs of wear. In order to preserve the work, IRWG and WGS, in agreement with Professor Leonard, donated the scroll to the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) to be part of their permanent collection. Last month, staff members from UMMA and expert framer Ray Anderson (who did the original framing and installation in Lane Hall), gently disassembled the frame and transported the scroll to the museum. Reel Family will be safely stored at UMMA.
“We are thrilled to welcome Reel Family into UMMA's collection, where it will join other wonderful collages and documentary photographs from Joanne Leonard's prolific practice,” said Jennifer Friess, Assistant Curator of Photography. “Thanks to our colleagues at IRWG for thinking of the Museum of Art as the steward of this work!”
According to Friess, those faculty and students interested in viewing this work and more can schedule a session in UMMA's Study Rooms by reaching out to University Learning and Programs for assistance at email@example.com.