American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center

American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center Dedicated to local, international, and political art. Tuesday-Sunday 11:00AM-4:00PM. Closed for certain holidays and during installation. Check our homepage for our operating status: american.edu/museum
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Housed in the dynamic and multidisciplinary Katzen Arts Center, the American University Museum builds its programming on the strengths of a great college and great university. We focus on international art because American University has a global commitment. We show political art because the university is committed to human rights, social justice, and political engagement. We support the artists in our community because the university takes an active and responsible role in the formation of our contemporary art and culture. We present exhibitions that mirror American University’s aspiration to be the premier Washington-based, global university. Our programming puts the best art of our region in a national and international context. Our collections enable us to present the art history of Washington, while our Kunsthalle attitude brings the most provocative art of our time to our place.

Operating as usual

Happy Birthday to photographer Arthur Tress (b. 1940)! A Brooklyn native, Tress began photographing Coney Island as a te...
11/24/2020

Happy Birthday to photographer Arthur Tress (b. 1940)! A Brooklyn native, Tress began photographing Coney Island as a teenager, developing a surrealist perspective amidst the decay of the amusement parks. Following a career as a US government photographer, Tress developed his signature “magical realism” style of fine photography, combining stage fantasy with reality and exploring themes of childhood, ceremony, and social allegory. This work, from our Corcoran Legacy Collection, is from Tress’s surreal “Theater of the Mind” series.

Image: Arthur Tress, “Mother and Daughter, New York City,” from the series "Theater of the Mind," 1978. Gelatin silver print, mat: 22 x 22 in. Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Gift of Dr. and Mrs. John V. Knaus), 2018.15.1385.

Columbia University’s Earth Institute GlacierHub blog reviews Olafur Eliasson’s installation on Italy’s Mount Grawand, “...
11/23/2020
Olafur Eliasson's Latest Creation Combines Art and Science on an Italian Glacier

Columbia University’s Earth Institute GlacierHub blog reviews Olafur Eliasson’s installation on Italy’s Mount Grawand, “Our glacial perspectives,” and mentions the work of Diane Burko, whose exhibition “Seeing Climate Change: 2002-2021” will debut at the AU Museum next fall. Abby Meola writes:

“Other prominent artists have also used glaciers in their work. Philadelphia-based artist Diane Burko uses glaciers in her paintings that combine both facts and art to convey the impacts of a warming planet. She described the necessity of creating with meaning. ‘We are all trying in our own way to link everything — science, art, culture — so that we can do something about what we care about,’ Burko told GlacierHub. ‘Artists have a need to create art, but we also have a need to contribute to the conversation and alert people to the issues.’ Like Eliasson, Burko incorporates scientific materials into her work. Her show ‘Seeing Climate Change: 2002-2021’ opens next fall at the American University Museum, where she will incorporate large maps and data into her paintings. Burko said that the power of experiencing art can affect a viewer in the way that scientific information alone cannot. ‘Art can hit people on a different level. If you are walking past these pieces, your brain starts to make connections and find meaning. Eliasson does this masterfully.’"

The renowned artist installed an astronomical device to draw attention to the changing climate at Italy’s Hochjochferner glacier.

The AU Museum would like to thank the three artists featured in our “PARADOX” series this week. During these unprecedent...
11/21/2020

The AU Museum would like to thank the three artists featured in our “PARADOX” series this week. During these unprecedented times, Helen Frederick, Yuriko Yamaguchi, and Michael Pestel continue to provide unique perspectives on philosophical and global topics.
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PARADOX, a forty-eight page artist book, was produced for the exhibition. If you are interested in inquiring about the artist book, please email [email protected].
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Stefan Greene, “PARADOX” photograph.

With appreciation to the participants who answered the “Milestones for Hope” questionnaire:.Helen Frederick’s “Witness W...
11/20/2020

With appreciation to the participants who answered the “Milestones for Hope” questionnaire:
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Helen Frederick’s “Witness Wall” is presented as part of this week’s virtual series “PARADOX.” The wall features a canopy of words and images, over 420 lithographic portraits and scored flax sheets of paper, to represent concerns, fears, anger, and hope in response to the climate crisis of the Anthropocene.
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Each portrait in the grid is resonant of responses to questions answered in Frederick’s “Milestones for Hope” questionnaire, answered by almost 100 individuals. Each portrait was digitally overlaid by flooding water or another distortion to remove a sense of identity, and unite the wall in sovereignty.
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This week, we are featuring “PARADOX,” a virtual series by Helen Frederick, Michael Pestel, and Yuriko Yamaguchi. For more, read an excerpt from the artist book: https://auislandora.wrlc.org/islandora/object/auislandora%3A85567/datastream/PDF/view
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Helen Frederick, "Witness Wall" (details). 4 groups of 9, each sheet 13.5 x 13.5 in. Smart lithography on translucent flax papers.

11/20/2020
BirdScore 2018

We invite you to view Michael Pestel’s performative work “BirdScore,” a captivating, collaborative work between him and Jeroen van Westen. In “BirdScore,” gloves adorned with various drawing materials bring visual expression to the research and sounds of birds while a flute is played to inspire the visual rendition.
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This week, we are featuring “PARADOX,” a virtual series by Helen Frederick, Michael Pestel, and Yuriko Yamaguchi. For more, read an excerpt from the artist book: https://auislandora.wrlc.org/islandora/object/auislandora%3A85567/datastream/PDF/view
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Michael Pestel, “BirdScore”, 2018. Video. Courtesy of the artist.

Performative bird research in Amstelpark Amsterdam by Jeroen van Westen and Michael Pestel for ZOne2Source

Events for your Virtual December ❄
11/19/2020
Events for your Virtual December ❄

Events for your Virtual December ❄

INTERFERENCE new music collective resumes their Music in the Museum series featuring music for ‘cello and computers. The program will be delivered as a livestream from the American University Museum.

Another featured artist in our “PARADOX” series is Michael Pestel. For over twenty years, Pestel has utilized the melodi...
11/19/2020

Another featured artist in our “PARADOX” series is Michael Pestel. For over twenty years, Pestel has utilized the melodious notes of birds in multi-media installations and collaborative works with dancers and musicians.
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His performative works ignite discussions around absence in relation to abundance, the depth of cultural memory, and humanity’s responsibility in protecting the avian species.
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For more, read an excerpt from the artist book: https://auislandora.wrlc.org/islandora/object/auislandora%3A85567/datastream/PDF/view
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“Performances with New Guinea Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo" at Pittsburgh National Aviary, 1993-2002

“To me Paradox is life itself. We are born without being able to choose a gender, family, race, and place.” - Yuriko Yam...
11/17/2020

“To me Paradox is life itself. We are born without being able to choose a gender, family, race, and place.” - Yuriko Yamaguchi
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Another featured artist in our “PARADOX” series, Yuriko Yamaguchi’s experiential works explore the interconnectedness and relationships of humans and nature, looking through the lens of evolution, transformation, and vulnerability. In Japan, the Night Watch Bell is rung 108 times for the elimination of sin. Yamaguchi’s manipulation and mastery of inorganic materials symbolizes humanity’s struggle to achieve balance.
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This week, we are featuring “PARADOX,” a virtual series by Helen Frederick, Michael Pestel, and Yuriko Yamaguchi. For more, read an excerpt from the artist book: https://auislandora.wrlc.org/islandora/object/auislandora%3A85567/datastream/PDF/view
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Yuriko Yamaguchi, “Night Watch Bell”, 2019, 8 x 8 x7 in. Grid wire mesh, stainless steel wire, resin, cheese cloth, kozo paper pulp, vellum paper.

As one of the featured artists in the virtual series “PARADOX,” DC-based Helen Frederick’s “Paradox Milestones” revisits...
11/16/2020

As one of the featured artists in the virtual series “PARADOX,” DC-based Helen Frederick’s “Paradox Milestones” revisits the oval-shaped Runes of Norway, which she explored in an earlier series. Runes are large stones with historical ties to the Norwegian culture.
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Frederick’s new ellipses are hung on backdrops filled with testimonials of both inner conflict and hope, evoking the stone’s history as a sacred object tied to worldwide healing traditions. Her elliptical symbols represent the ever-changing geological shifts of the planet, reminding us of humanity’s responsibility to protect it.
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This week, we are featuring “PARADOX,” a virtual series by Helen Frederick, Michael Pestel, and Yuriko Yamaguchi.
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Helen Frederick, “Paradox Milestone.” Pulp painting constructions with wrapped word ellipses, 48 x 48 x 2 in.

11/15/2020

This week we are pleased to present work from a virtual collaboration: “PARADOX.” These three artists—Helen Frederick, Michael Pestel, and Yuriko Yamaguchi—collaborate to present their “disturbing and perilous modern doubts… (bringing) a canopy of sounds, metaphors and beauty from inner and outer existences, some born of rage, and some of pain, some of ecstasy and others of acceptance.”
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While their exhibition was scheduled at the AU Museum this fall, in a seemingly paradoxical manner, the current pandemic has necessitated a virtual experience for the exhibition, which employs light, sound, and texture. We look forward to sharing these artists’ works with you this week. Read an excerpt from the accompanying artist book, which includes essays by Erin Devine, Buzz Spector, and artist statements:https://auislandora.wrlc.org/islandora/object/auislandora%3A85567/datastream/PDF/view

In “Time and Space II,” Mikray Pida symbolizes the distance and boundaries between different groups of people. Although ...
11/14/2020

In “Time and Space II,” Mikray Pida symbolizes the distance and boundaries between different groups of people. Although the groups share the same land, each has its own sun and distinct space. Through her practice, Pida poses a dialogue about what it means to be a citizen, a refugee, and an immigrant.
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Pida’s work is featured in our virtual fall series "Contested Space." Learn more in our [email protected]: https://www.american.edu/cas/museum/2020/contested-space.cfm
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Mikray Pida. “Time and Space II,” 2018. Mixed media on canvas, 38 x 72 in. Courtesy of the artist.

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” - Angela Davis.This pho...
11/12/2020

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” - Angela Davis
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This photoengraving of the author and scholar Angela Davis, “Angela Davis at 15” claims to be a portrait of Davis in her youth. However, Davis was in her early forties when DC-based artist Michael Platt made the work in 1987. Platt drastically alters an unidentified photograph of Davis to create an evocative image redolent of Davis’ childhood in Birmingham, Alabama under Jim Crow laws.
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Platt’s work is featured in our virtual exhibition “Art and Authenticity in the Age of Fake News,” featured in our virtual fall series “Contested Space.” View the exhibition online: https://www.american.edu/cas/museum/2020/art-and-authenticity-in-the-age-of-fake-news.cfm
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Michael B. Platt. “Angela Davis at 15”, 1987. Photoengraving, image: 23 3/4 × 17 5/8 in. (60.3 × 44.8 cm). Gift of Mary H. D. Swift and Family, 2018.26.18.

Register for our last Queer Threads "Expanded Views" artist talk on November 12 at 6PM with Angela Hennessy. Through wri...
11/10/2020
Queer Threads "Expanded Views" Artist Talk: Angela Hennessy

Register for our last Queer Threads "Expanded Views" artist talk on November 12 at 6PM with Angela Hennessy. Through writing, studio work, and performance, Hennessy's practice examines mythologies of blackness embedded in linguistic metaphors of color and cloth.
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We hope to see you there!
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Registration Link:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/queer-threads-expanded-views-artist-talk-angela-hennessy-tickets-120162379913

Meet fiber artist Angela Hennessy for our last Queer Threads "Expanded Views" Artist Talk.

11/09/2020
Gallery Talk: "Art and Authenticity" - October 26, 2020

American University Art Historian Nika Elder and MA graduates Abigail Swaringam and Michael Quituisaca discuss our virtual collection exhibition "Art and Authenticity in the Age of Fake News."

This exhibition was realized by students in Professor Elder’s Spring 2020 Art History course “American Art and the Illusion of Truth.” "Art and Authenticity" is presented in conjunction with the AU Museum’s virtual series “Contested Space,” which highlights issues surrounding the 2020 presidential election. Learn more about "Art and Authenticity" on our website: https://www.american.edu/cas/museum/2020/art-and-authenticity-in-the-age-of-fake-news.cfm

We join the AU Community in mourning Yaroslav Koporulin, an artist, AU alumnus, and art professor who passed away last m...
11/07/2020

We join the AU Community in mourning Yaroslav Koporulin, an artist, AU alumnus, and art professor who passed away last month.

Koporulin's practice centered around mixed media installations inspired by his own mythologies, but informed by history. In his own words: "I’m interested in places of uncertainty, places in-between cultures, stability and identity."

Learn more about Yaroslav, his husband and four children, and consider donating to support his family: https://www.american.edu/cas/news/au-mourns-yaroslav-koporulin.cfm

Our thoughts are with Yaroslav's husband and two beautiful sets of twins.

Our next student staff selection from the permanent collection comes from Arts Management Fellow Austin F. He writes on ...
11/06/2020

Our next student staff selection from the permanent collection comes from Arts Management Fellow Austin F. He writes on Minnie Klavans’ “Nanjemoy:” “I love strong lines and bold use of colors and Klavans’ mastery of the two creates a warm and majestic image reminiscent of the hills and valleys of the Nanjemoy creek region of Maryland. The curved and angular lines exude both masculine and feminine energies and the symbolic use of color allows for depth and dimension.”

Image: Minnie Klavans, “Nanjemoy,” 1972. Acrylic and ink, canvas size: 100 1/2 × 80 × 1 1/8 in. (255.3 × 203.2 × 2.9 cm). Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Gift of the artist), 2018.15.740.

Take an Art Break.
11/05/2020
Take an Art Break.

Take an Art Break.

Our next featured work comes from Arts Management Fellow Austin F. He writes on Minnie Klavans’ Nanjemoy: “I love strong lines and bold use of colors and Klavans’ mastery of the two creates a warm and majestic image reminiscent of the hills and valleys of the Nanjemoy creek region of Maryland...

No matter where you’re headed today, make sure you’ve hit the polls or mailed your ballot!.Robert Remsen Vickrey, “Signs...
11/03/2020

No matter where you’re headed today, make sure you’ve hit the polls or mailed your ballot!
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Robert Remsen Vickrey, “Signs”, 1961. Egg tempera on gesso panel, framed: 35 1/2 x 49 1/4 x 2 in. Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Gift of Roy C. Markus through The Friends of the Corcoran Gallery of Art).

This shot in Allan Gerson’s “Border Wall” series captures two distinct street art installations. On the left is Santa Mu...
11/01/2020

This shot in Allan Gerson’s “Border Wall” series captures two distinct street art installations. On the left is Santa Muerte, “the lady of death” and on the right is a sleeping boy with text reading “El Sueno,” or “the dream.” These two images present contrasting color schemes and themes. However, the composite image speaks to Mexican culture and the dreams of those who hope for a life beyond the border wall.
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“Border Wall” is featured in our virtual fall series “Contested Space.” Learn more: https://www.american.edu/cas/museum/2020/contested-space.cfm
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Allan Gerson, “Border Wall No. 6,” 2019. Photograph. Courtesy of The Estate of Allan Gerson.

The nuanced implementation of light and dark come together to create this spooky, mysterious oil painting in our permane...
10/31/2020

The nuanced implementation of light and dark come together to create this spooky, mysterious oil painting in our permanent collection. What’s even more mysterious is the painter’s identity; it is attributed to American painter William Merritt Chase (1849-1916).
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We just have one question: Would you wander down this alleyway at night?
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Happy Halloween, everyone!
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Attributed to William Merritt Chase. “Untitled,” n.d. Oil on panel, unframed: 8 1/4 x 5 1/2 in. (20.96 x 13.97 cm) framed: 12 1/4 x 9 3/8 x 1 in. (31.12 x 23.81 x 2.54 cm). Gift from the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Bequest of Barbara Hunt Watters), CGA.DA 1985.11.

Works in Beverly Ryan’s installation “Weaponized Surveillance” should be swarming the AU Museum this fall as part of our...
10/30/2020

Works in Beverly Ryan’s installation “Weaponized Surveillance” should be swarming the AU Museum this fall as part of our “Contested Space” series. Although the museum remains closed, we invite you to view her works online.
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Ryan states: “‘Weaponized Surveillance’ is based on my questions about drone technology and its uses. Drones, used for warfare, for surveillance, for commercial delivery, for political and scientific intelligence gathering, for crime prevention and investigation, are already in place ... Many people in the world live in fear of drone attacks. We, in the US, do not, but it could come to that.”
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Learn more about Ryan’s work: http://www.beverlyryan.com/
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Images: Beverly Ryan, “Weaponized Surveillance” installation, 2016-2020. Mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

10/29/2020
The Long Sixties - October 6, 2020

AU Museum Director and Curator Jack Rasmussen presents on our forthcoming exhibition "The Long Sixties," featuring Washington paintings from our Watkins and Corcoran Legacy Collections. Rasmussen previewed the exhibition in conjunction with American University's Virtual Family Week.

Join our next "Expanded Views" artist talk with Sheila Pepe, Thursday 10/29 at 6PM! Pepe's work involves site-specific i...
10/27/2020
Queer Threads "Expanded Views" Artist Talk: Sheila Pepe

Join our next "Expanded Views" artist talk with Sheila Pepe, Thursday 10/29 at 6PM! Pepe's work involves site-specific installations that address feminist issues.

Queer Threads is an evolving curatorial project organized by John Chaich that spotlights contemporary LGBTQ artists who are remixing fiber and textile traditions.

In conjunction with Queer Threads, Curious Spaces—a multi-venue suite of exhibitions in DC this fall—AU's Fine Art Department and the AU Museum present a series of lectures by past, present, proto, and future Queer Threads artists. A queering of mediums, each of their practices uniquely merges fiber-based crafts with painting, sculpture, and installation. These lectures provide a glimpse into studio practices that defy formal expectations and question the function of identity in the making and circulating of artworks.

Meet fiber artist Sheila Pepe for our next Queer Threads "Expanded Views" Artist Talk.

Address

4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington D.C., DC
20016

Metrorail (Red Line) & AU Shuttle Bus: * From the Tenleytown/AU Metrorail red line east exit (escalator or elevator), simply walk straight ahead 100 feet to the bus stops at the corner of Albemarle and 40th Streets. All shuttle bus routes lead directly to the Katzen, and run every 10–15 minutes. The distance is a mile, about 5 minutes. Buses are clearly marked with AU logos. Metrobus: * N3, N4, N6, N8 pass the Katzen on Massachusetts Ave. * M4 and N2 pass the Katzen on Nebraska Ave. at Ward Circle

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 16:00
Sunday 11:00 - 16:00

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(202) 885-1300

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What's Happening at American University, Katzen Center?
What's happening at American University, Katzen Center
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