MSUToday
Published: Jan. 13, 2020

MSU Broad presents Never Spoken Again: Rogue Stories of Science and Collections

Contact(s): Morgan Butts Broad Art Museum office: (517) 884-3909 cell: (517) 884-3909 buttsmor@msu.edu, Caroline Brooks Communications and Brand Strategy office: 517-432-0920 brooks78@msu.edu

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University is pleased to present Never Spoken Again: Rogue Stories of Science and Collections, on view from Jan. 25–Aug. 23, 2020.

Curated by Colombian artist and researcher David Ayala-Alfonso, this traveling exhibition reflects on the birth of modern collections, the institutions that sustain them and their contingent origin stories. 

Revealing a universe of erasures, violence and chance occurrences, the exhibition considers how such collections produce knowledge and perpetuate historical narratives.

To do so, it brings together an international roster of artists whose works critically examine material culture, iconography and political ecologies.

The MSU Broad presentation responds to the context of the university as a top-tier research institution, a site for public education, and a store of artistic, cultural and historical knowledge.

The traveling exhibition thus includes works from different Michigan State University collections. Campus collections are key access points for many students within their disciplines, and Never Spoken Again prompts a reexamination of these holdings and their educational potential.

The artists in the exhibition make use of the languages of museum display and ethnography to uncover stories of colonial exploitation, myths, fake currencies, war games and the slow violence of systematic racism.

They examine not only collected objects and the systems of distribution that facilitate their circulation, but also the subjects of study they trade in. Their work thus encourages us to consider our own agency in documenting and reimagining our histories and futures, alike.