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Posted on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 5:43 a.m.

Penny Stamps speaker series promises an exceptional fall lineup: Oliver Stone and much more

By Jennifer Eberbach

As the Penny W. Stamps Distinquished Speakers Series begins its fall season at the Michigan Theater, Director Chrisstina Hamilton looks forward to presentations by renowned creative thinkers such as famous filmmaker Oliver Stone and other accomplished artists, filmmakers, designers, and innovators.

The public can attend for free at the Michigan Theater on Thursdays, Sept. 13 through Dec. 6, at 5:10 p.m.

Although the series is produced by the University of Michigan's School of Art & Design, it is as much an Ann Arbor community-wide entertainment offering as it is a learning opportunity for art school students.

The theme for fall semester is “Roam,” an idea Hamilton thinks applies to all 12 events. “All of these people in the lineup are exceptionally creative. In the creative process you need to let your mind intentionally wander and go off the map instead of following the defined routes,” she says.

Another thing they all have in common is progressive, transgressive, and sometimes controversial approaches to the creative process. “All of them have been successful in transcending the norm, what is prescribed,” Hamilton says of the presenters.

In cases when speakers might bring up controversial ideas, Hamilton suggests people be open to listening to opinions that oppose their own. “Penny Stamps as a series is about how ideas can beget ideas. It’s an opportunity to find out about all sorts of ideas and decide for yourself what you think about them. We don’t have to agree or endorse an idea to bring it to the stage. It’s more about opening up a dialogue.”

Here is the lineup:

September 13 - The Penny Seats Speakers Series kicks off with innovative animator PES, whose presentation on “The Art of the Short Film” will feature a number of the highly popular short films he has produced over the last decade.

September 20 - Boundary-crossing photographer Sally Mann has been both praised for her beautiful landscapes and portraits and debated over for her controversial depiction of her children playing in the nude in her 1992 photo series Immediate Family.

September 27 - Documentalist Jennifer Karady has received acclaim for her large-scale staged portraits telling Soldiers’ Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan. She is joined by the Founding Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) Paul Rieckhoff.

October 4 - Silicon Valley executive Peter Hirshberg is an innovative thinker with interests and expertise at the intersections between media technology, art, and the civic sphere.

October 11 - Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (YHCHI), a collective of web artists from Korea, is featured in a UMMA solo exhibition, through December 30. The Penny Stamps presentation will be “designed especially for students interested in a career in the arts.”

October 18 - The beautiful yet dark visions in Alexis Rockman’s paintings show worlds where civilization and nature have collided. They are fictions but based on a lot of scientific understanding of the natural world.

October 25 - Famous and controversial film director Oliver Stone joins the Penny Stamps series to give a presentation entitled “Untold,” his current project being a 10-part TV documentary on American history entitled “The Untold History of the United States.”

November 1 - Paola Antonelli is Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design and Director of Research and Development at the Museum of Modern Art. A visionary in design, according to Time Magazine, she is also an accomplished writer and editor.

November 8 - Designer and Typographer Stefan Sagmeister has had a successful career designing for big clients, from Rolling Stone to HBO, to musicians David Byrne and Lou Reed. For his Penny Stamps presentation, he will explore “how to achieve happiness as a designer.”

November 15 - Artist and activist Chris Jordan’s photographs will be featured in a U-M campus-wide exhibition, Running the Numbers, which look at “contemporary western culture through statistics.” It will run October 26 to November 20.

November 29 - Janine Antoni, a sculptor, photographer, and performance artist, explores the body and its everyday activities through her acclaimed artworks.

December 6 - Jim Hubbard’s documentary film United in Anger: A History of Act Up traces the journey of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, a group instrumental in bringing awareness to the AIDS crisis. He presents it in honor of Day With(out) Art/World AIDS Day (which are both on December 1).


matthew dowd

Thu, Sep 13, 2012 : 4:48 a.m.

Oliver Stone is CIA.


Wed, Sep 12, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

One of the best series at the Michigan Theater. Chrisstina Hamilton does a great job.