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  • jack rasmussen 3:33 pm on November 10, 2015 Permalink  

    Late Fall Exhibits Are Open 

    Our late fall exhibits are officially open! Stop by and check them out – they will be on view until December 13th. And in the meantime, take a look at some photos from the opening event below. Photos by Lexie Tyson.


    JackDirector Jack Rasmussen addresses attendees


    Guests of the artists’ reception look closely at a painting by Micheline Klagsbrun

    Graham and Pekala

    Michael Graham and Marc Pekala answer questions from viewers

    Harmony Hammond

    Harmony Hammond speaks, surrounded by the work of Francis Cape (on her right)

    Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 1.02.30 PM

    Guests move through Micheline Klagsbrun’s exhibit, Free Fall Flow

    Vesper Project

    A close up of Titus Kaphar’s The Vesper Project

    Joseph White

    Joseph White’s Post-It paintings


    Susanne Kessler’s Jerusalem


    Come see the exhibits for yourself! The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-4pm.


    For more information and updates on Museum events, follow us on social media!


    Twitter: @AUMuseum_Katzen

    Instagram: @AUMuseum_Katzen

  • jack rasmussen 12:30 pm on November 4, 2015 Permalink  

    Late Fall Exhibition Preview and Upcoming Events 

    The American University Museum will open a new exhibition on November 7th. Check out a list of the artists who will be featured below, along with some installation shots! For more detailed descriptions of their work, take a look at the Upcoming Exhibitions portion of the AU Museum website.

    Beverly Ress, The World is a Narrow Bridge

    Michael Graham and Marc Pekala, Art and Design: Two Designers and their Art

    Susanne Kessler, Jerusalem

    Titus Kaphar, The Vesper Project

    Micheline Klagsbrun, Free Fall Flow

    Francis Cape & Harmony Hammond, Angle of Repose

    Joseph White, Post-It

    Of7GqUzR_BBHRCk7uXQ5jsiW-zyugKRaPG0NUltUFBE zBz6y4n6PMVfj2VxFI8TdLz5jDaPHqR56MUiYlK0Yn4 Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 12.21.27 PM T7sMS7zCH2yo5QMz9o1dz355LdN6jnvsMYCTYWisDfE WuJt5YvLAUX7PpZQ7L8nV9WrBp0-N6aktSjF_Urxd8w

    After taking a look at the work in the museum, be sure to check out the work in the lobby just outside. In partnership with FotoWeek DC, the AU Museum will present Documenting America: Facing Change and the FSA, a group photography show in the lobby. The exhibit will feature the work of ten photographers, members of the photography collective Facing Change, who find inspiration in the FSA photographers of the 1930s and ‘40s.

    Corresponding with the late fall exhibitions, the Museum will host a number of events in the upcoming weeks:

    November 6: Kinetic: Conversations in Contemporary Art ft. Titus Kaphar (6pm – 8:30pm)

    November 7: Late Fall exhibits open to public

    Gallery Talk with Suzanne Kessler (5pm – 6pm)

    Late Fall Artists Reception (6pm – 9pm)

    November 8: Gallery Talk with Facing Change at Busboys and Poets (7pm – 8pm)

    November 10: Gallery Talk with Joseph White (5:30pm – 6:30pm)

    November 19: Gallery Talk with Micheline Klagsbrun (5:30pm – 6:30pm)

    December 3: Music in the Museum: Interference French American Collaboration (7:30pm – 9pm)


    The late fall exhibitions at the AU Museum will open on November 7th and will be on view until December 13th.


    For more information and updates on Museum events, follow us on social media!


    Twitter: @AUMuseum_Katzen

    Instagram: @AUMuseum_Katzen

  • jack rasmussen 3:53 pm on October 16, 2015 Permalink  

    Blood Illuminated 

    Blood Illuminated event

    On October 6th, the American University Museum hosted Blood Illuminated, a public program in conjunction with Blood Mirror, an installation by mixed-media artist Jordan Eagles.

    With Blood Mirror, a seven-foot tall Plexiglas column encasing the blood of nine men, Eagles seeks to create an open dialogue and effect change around the US Food & Drug Administration’s current discriminatory policy on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.


    The program facilitated this dialogue, inviting 6 panelists to speak with each other the public about the FDA’s discriminatory blood donation policy. The panel included Mark Joseph Stern, a writer for Slate who has been covering the issue since 2013; I. Glenn Cohen, one of the leading experts on the intersection of bioethics and law, and the Faculty Director at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology & Bioethics at Harvard Law School; Scott Schoettes, the HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal; and Kelsey Louie, the CEO at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, who was also a blood donor for Blood Mirror. Two additional Blood Mirror donors were in attendance as well, answering questions: Oliver Anene, an LGBT activist and recipient of political asylum in the US; and Howard Grossman, M.D., Internist at AlphaBetterCare and former Director of the American Academy of HIV Medicine, who was also the Medical Supervisor for Blood Mirror.

    Blood Illuminated panel

    While the audience seats were filled, one chair was empty next to the panelists labeled for the US FDA. Unfortunately, declined to participate. Key topics discussed included ideal blood policy, bioethics and what it means for the blood ban, and blood donation education in the gay community.

    Following the discussion, the Rock Creek Singers of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. held a special performance on the stairwell of the galleries.

    Jordan Eagles also presented a special, luminous one-night-only installation to accompany his Blood Mirror exhibition. The piece, installed in what will soon be the Alper Initiative gallery, projected blood and light onto all surfaces of the gallery, inviting viewers to enter the space and become immersed in the light of gay blood.

    eagles light installation

    Overall the event, along with Eagles’ exhibition, provided an important platform for discussion of this serious issue. We hope that those who attended were able to learn from and engage with the experts on the panel as well as with each other. We thank Mark Joseph Stern, the panel leaders, the Gay Men’s Chorus, Jordan Eagles, and the nine men who donated their blood to the project for working together in various ways to make the event a success.

    For more information and updates on Museum events, follow us on social media!


    Twitter: @AUMuseum_Katzen

    Instagram: @AUMuseum_Katzen

  • jack rasmussen 3:57 pm on September 29, 2015 Permalink  

    American University Museum Celebrates 10 Years! 


    Join the AU Museum in celebrating 10 years of innovative exhibitions, interdisciplinary collaborations, and interactive programming. Since 2005, the museum has aimed to show international, political, and local art, taking an active role in DC’s contemporary art and culture. Hosting 5 seasonal exhibits each year, the museum has held over 200 shows in its 10-year history, featuring the work of 2,311 artists.

    Inaugural exhibit

                                  A shot of the galleries at the inaugural exhibition, July 2005

    The museum grew out of the Watkins Memorial Collection, a contemporary art collection started in 1945 to honor C. Law Watkins, a former chair of American University’s Department of Art. Watkins was responsible for enabling students to earn both a bachelor’s or master’s degree in fine arts at AU, making the school one of the first higher education institutions in the United States to offer both advanced degrees in this field.

    In the early 1950s Duncan Phillips, the DC-based collector and friend of C. Law Watkins, contributed several pieces to the Watkins Memorial Collection, including works by Milton Avery, Eugene Berman, and Arthur Dove. These works became the foundation for a permanent collection that would ultimately find its home at the American University Museum.

                                                      Director Jack Rasmussen speaks to visitors at an exhibit opening, 2014

    The Collection received many other generous gifts throughout the years, and today it includes over 6,000 objects. Due to the generosity of Cyrus and Myrtle Katzen, the Katzen Arts Center, designed by EYP, opened at American University in 2005, and along with it the AU Museum opened its doors. From its founding through today, the museum has remained committed to its mission of presenting international, political, and local art, focusing on the global as well as the local while raising awareness on human rights, social justice, and political engagement.

    Installation shot of Ex It by Yoko Ono, part of the exhibit Close Encounters: Facing the Future, 2008

    The AU Museum recognizes its role in DC’s arts and culture scene, and the role of its visitors in engaging with and providing thought-provoking feedback to its exhibitions.  We would like to thank you for your continued interest and support for the past 10 years, and invite you celebrate with us as we look forward to the next 10!


  • jack rasmussen 11:25 am on July 20, 2015 Permalink  

    Visvaldis Ziediņš: Travels in the Imagination 

    Curated by Eleanor Heartney and Ieva Kalnina

    ON VIEW: June 13-July 26

    Visvaldis Ziediņš, Moon Map, 2000

    Visvaldis Ziediņš, Moon Map, 2000

    Visvaldis Ziediņš: Travels in the Imagination features the work of hitherto unknown Latvian artist Visvaldis Ziediņš (1942-2007).Ziediņš worked primarily during the Soviet occupation of Latvia in the city of Liepāja. Despite Liepāja being a closed city during the occupation, Ziediņš was able to draw on other influential artists such as Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenburg, Anton Tapies and John Cage through Polish and Czechoslovakian art magazines.

    During his lifetime, Ziediņš created over 3,000 works of art including installations, collages, assemblages and sculptures. Despite this impressive collection of works, he chose to never publically display his artwork. A stance he held even after Latvia had declared its independence from the USSR. Instead, his works were kept a private affair among a small group of friends until his sudden death in 2007.

    “what without how—that’s Soviet art; how without what—that’s Western art. My art is what and how at the same time.”

    -Visvaldis Ziediņš

    The recent discovery of Ziediņš’ oeuvre in 2009, has dispelled the commonly held belief that Latvian art adhered strictly to social realism, the style championed and mandated by the Soviet Regime. Unlike the formulaic, depersonalized art of social realism, Ziediņš work is imaginative, personal and playful. Drawing on avant-gardism, his works employ non-objective color, simplification of form and experimental materials. His creative use of found materials to create fundamentally non-conformist art is a testament to Ziediņš perseverance in spite of Soviet political, cultural and artistic hegemony.

    This is the first exhibition of Ziediņš’ work in the United States. It closes July 26th. Don’t miss it!


  • jack rasmussen 2:49 pm on July 2, 2015 Permalink  

    Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition: In Commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the Attacks 

    ON VIEW: June 13-August 16

    Iri and Toshi Maruki, Fire, 1950

    The American University Museum, in coordination with the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, is honored to present the atomic bomb exhibition. This powerful show includes twenty some artifacts collected from the debris of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (including a pocket watch and a toddler’s tricycle) as well as the celebrated Hiroshima panels created collaboratively by husband and wife Iri (1901-1995) and Toshi Maruki (1912-2000).

    Created over a span of thirty-two years from 1950 onwards, the Maruki’s fifteen Japanese style brush paintings, known collectively as the Hiroshima panels, depict the atrocities endured by the victims of the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings that took place in the final year of World War II (1939-45). The two bombings killed an estimated 200,000 people. Nagasaki was the second and remains the last city to suffer an atomic bomb attack. Many of the survivors of both attacks suffer(ed) physically from the numerous negative side effects of radiation exposure including keloid scars, cancer, cataracts and microcephaly.

    While the Marukis’ panels originally began as a form of witness testimony (the couple returned to Hiroshima shortly after the bombing to aid the injured), they evolved overtime into an activist project—drawing attention to the horrors committed and justified during wartime and in particular calling for the abolishment of nuclear weapons.

    The above image is the second panel, created by the couple in 1950. Titled Fire, the painting depicts a mass of tormented bodies (including men, women, and children) engulfed in an inescapable conflagration of red-orange flames.

    Through the Hiroshima-Nagasaki atomic bomb exhibition the museum hopes to deepen the public’s understanding of the damage wrought by nuclear weapons and inspire peace in the 21st century.


    Upcoming events related to the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Exhibit:

    August 5th, 7-8:30 pm: Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombings, this evening will include testimony by a Hibakushi (a survivor of the atomic bombings) and performance by the children of Little Friends of Peace


    For more information on current and upcoming exhibitions join the AU museum mailing list. 

  • jack rasmussen 2:04 pm on June 11, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: abstraction, Alper Initiative, , art, AUmuseum, Betsy Packard, contemporary, John Winslow, Kurt Godwin, Michael Gross, realism, washington, Washington Art   

    Washington-Based Artists: Michael Gross, John Winslow, Kurt Godwin and Betsy Packard 

    The American University Museum will be exhibiting the work of four Washington-based artists this summer Michael Gross, John Winslow, Kurt Godwin and Betsy Packard in addition to the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition and the Visvaldi Ziedins: Travels in the Imagination (posts to follow). Although they represent a small fraction of the numerous artists who live(d) and work(ed) in Washington D.C., these four artists and their works exemplify the wildly diverse and often idiosyncratic  artistic styles that flourish in the region, making this a lively place to be.

    Michael Gross: Abstraction

    ON VIEW: June 13-July 26

    For web 'Colors-2'-(2015)-5'x12'-Acrylic-on-Canvas-Tryptych

    Michael Gross, Colors #2, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 5′ x 12′

    The Michael Gross exhibition, titled Michael Gross: Abstraction, includes both paintings and prints produced by the Washington D.C.-based artist. His works have their roots artists like Jackson Pollock, William De Kooning and Richard Diebenkorn through their intentional interplay of lines, colors and shapes. But Gross’ intent is subtly different from his forbears. He desires that his works will elicit contemplation within the viewer—drawing them in and giving them “a vision of the incredible power, ambiguity, intricacy and beauty of our lives.”

    Realism Transformed: John Winslow’s Wild New World

    ON VIEW: June 13-July 26

    XYZ copy

    John Winslow, XYZ, 2010, oil on canvas, 30″ x 30″

    In the early to mid 1980s, John Winslow, Washington native and realist painter, radically recast his art replacing the precisely defined spaces, right angles and static figures characteristic of Realism with ambiguous compositions, curvilinear lines, and gravity defying figures. The focus of this exhibition, these later works seek not only to merge abstraction with realism but also to make these opposite polarities coexist. In addition, rather than incorporating purely contemporaneous figures, Winslow later works include figures from artistic, literary, political and aeronautical history. In so doing, Winslow’s subject matter and artistic approach intentionally elicit questions about artistic practice and style.

    Outliers: Kurt Godwin and Betsy Packard

    ON VIEW: June 13- July 26


    Betsy Packard, Vessel, 2015, fabric and batting on wire, 7″ x 23″

    Kurt Godwin, Through the Trees, 2014, acrylic, 48" x 42"

    Kurt Godwin, Through the Trees, 2014, acrylic, 48″ x 42″

    Curated by James Mahoney, the exhibition Outliers features the work of Washington-area artists Kurt Godwin and Betsy Packard. Going against conventional contemporary artistic practices, Packard and Godwin created their works through the transformation of ordinary objects, found images and simple matter. Godwin’s works present complex visual narratives influenced by alchemical speculations and the work of his mentor Marcel Duchamp whereas Packard’s works draw on a myriad of sources including the I Ching, astrology and the meanings of colors, letters and numbers to create unexpected symbolic significances.



    I am delighted to announce that upon the closing of these three exhibitions showcasing Washington-based artists, the museum will begin construction for the Alper Initiative for Washington Art. This new space will be dedicated to the display of Washington Art and feature programming that celebrates the vibrant culture of Washington, DC. The Alper Initiative is scheduled to open in January of 2016. For more on the Alper Initiative and project updates click here.


    • Ifiokobong Ibanga 5:57 pm on October 6, 2015 Permalink

      This is fascinating. Kindly inform me about this project in the future. It’s worth following.

    • lili Iravani 2:48 pm on June 12, 2015 Permalink

      please send me information about this project.

      • jack rasmussen 12:32 pm on June 15, 2015 Permalink

        Hi Ms. Iravani,

        We will add your email to our Alper Initiative mailing list.

    • Carol M Dupre 3:54 pm on June 11, 2015 Permalink

      I’m interested in any updates of presentations, talks, panels, and project offerings: also any information about the Alper Initiative.

      • jack rasmussen 12:27 pm on June 15, 2015 Permalink

        Hi Ms. Dupre,

        Thank you for your interest in the AU museum and the Alper Initiative I will add your email to our mailing list.

  • jack rasmussen 11:52 am on May 28, 2015 Permalink  

    Cultural Treasures from Shandong Province: Ancient Chinese Pictorial Stone Rubbings 

    Cultural Treasures from Shandong Province: Ancient Chinese Pictorial Stone Rubbings


    ON VIEW MAY 19 – MAY 31

    乙瑛碑 The Stele of Yi Ying, 永兴元年 (153) 1st year of Yongxing Reign, Eastern Han Dynasty (153AD), 198×92, 山东曲阜 Qufu City, Shandong Province, Courtesy of the Shandong Carved-stone Art Museum

    乙瑛碑 The Stele of Yi Ying, 永兴元年 (153) 1st year of Yongxing Reign, Eastern Han Dynasty (153AD), 198×92, 山东曲阜 Qufu City, Shandong Province, Courtesy of the Shandong Carved-stone Art Museum

    This special addition to our late spring exhibition schedule contains more than 60 stone inscriptions of the Qin and Han Dynasties in the Shandong province of eastern China. During the 7th century, the Chinese began to use a method of stone rubbing with paper and ink in order to make multiple copies of these inscriptions. The rubbings (also known as inked squeezes) preserved the inscriptions better than the stone itself. You may not have the opportunity to see these stone rubbings again unless you travel to China (not a bad idea)!

    No other civilization has relied on the practice of carving inscriptions into stone as a manner of preserving history and culture as much as the Chinese. These stones serve as not only important art historical artifacts but signs of cultural heritage ranging in style and across the Shandong area.

    The Mount Tai Inscriptions and Langya Incriptions, which are still well preserved after natural disasters, are rare treasures. The Wu’s ancestral temple in Jiaxiang and the stone ancestral temple on Xiaotang Mountain in Changqing are already well known both at home and abroad. The tombs found in Beizhai of Yinan and Dongjia Village of Anqiu in 1950s contained stunning imagery on the stones. The cliff inscriptions of sutra of the Northern Dynasties are grand and majestic.

    How were the stone rubbings made specifically? According to the East Asian Library at the University of California, Berkley:

    • Rubbings in effect “print” the inscription, making precise copies that can be carried away and distributed in considerable numbers.
    • It is interesting to think about the dissemination of prints throughout Shandong and China during the 7th century! The mass production of prints later becomes popular again and again as through the work of Albrecht Durer, famous French Revolution images like Honore Daumier’s, and that of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
    • To make a rubbing, a sheet of moistened paper is laid on the inscribed surface and tamped into every depression with a rabbit’s-hair brush. (By another method, the paper is laid on dry, then brushed with a rice or wheat-based paste before being tamped.)
    • When the paper is almost dry, its surface is tapped with an inked pad. The paper is then peeled from the stone. Since the black ink does not touch the parts of the paper that are pressed into the inscription, the process produces white characters on a black background. (If the inscription is cut in relief, rather than intaglio, black and white are reversed.)
    • This technique appeared simultaneously with, if not earlier than, the development of printing in China. Many scholars contend that block printing derived from the technique of making impressions with carved seals: in printing, a mirror image is carved in relief on a wood block; the surface that stands in relief is then inked, and paper pressed onto it—the reverse of the method used for making rubbings.
  • jack rasmussen 12:23 pm on May 5, 2015 Permalink  

    YES! Glue: A Half-Century of Collage by Bruce and Jean Conner 

    Bruce Conner, BOMBHEAD, 1989, Offset lithograph and photocopy collage, 9.75 x 7.688 in., Courtesy of the Conner Family Trust, San Francisco

    Bruce Conner, BOMBHEAD, 1989, Offset lithograph and photocopy collage, 9.75 x 7.688 in., Courtesy of the Conner Family Trust, San Francisco

    Recently, the American University Art Museum has hosted several exhibitions paying homage to the medium of collage in its varying forms mostly from artists who have worked in the 1950’s Bay Area. This spring the museum is hosting an exhibition dedicated to Bruce and Jean Conner titled “YES! Glue: A Half-Century of Collage by Bruce and Jean Conner.” Collage has had a subversive role in the canon of 20th century art, undermining ideas of “high” versus “low” art and the inclusion of mass-media images. Cubist artists like Pablo Picasso utilized collage in pasting and clashing nonsensical and disjointed forms which carried through to the syncopation evident in Dada and Surrealist work like that of Man Ray, Max Weber, and Francis Picabia.

    Bruce and Jean Conner emerged from the San Francisco Beat scene in the late 1950’s. Bruce was already an artistic rebel, known for assemblages and experimental films while Jean had a much more reserved artistic presence. Bruce never used color in his collages, perhaps because he favored the unease evoked from a perfectly believable illusion of an alternate reality. Jean uses mass-produced images of American popular culture and advertising. The images the exhibition showcase a wide range of their combined humor, darkness, varying color palette, illusions, and alternate realities.

    An Opening in the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle centered on another artistic and romantic relationship of the 1950’s San Francisco Bay Area, Jess Collins and the poet Robert Duncan. The drawings and collages of Jess’s were often published to accompany Duncan’s poetry. Together their work focused on an interest in cultural mythologies, transformative narratives, and appropriation of images. These themes call to mind the work of Dean Byington, who currently works in the Bay Area, and exhibited here earlier in 2015. Byington combined surrealist collage techniques and psychedelic aesthetics from the 1960’s and 1970’s, fusing elements of Beatrix Potter with Darwin. Byington works with a complex multi-layered process, which includes drawing, painting, and screen-printing. The overlap of mythology, social history, cultural awareness, and disjointed alternative realities with elements of whimsy and anxiety can be seen through all four artists’ work.


    DEAN BYINGTON, Towers, 2013, Oil on linen, 39 x 52 in., Collection of Dan Chung and Alexandra Alger




  • jack rasmussen 10:51 am on September 6, 2014 Permalink  

    Come Celebrate the 100th Birthday of Marcel Duchamp’s Bottlerack! 

    Tonight, 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Try to guess what is art and what is not. Fun for the whole family!

    readymade@100, American University Museum

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