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  • American University Museum
    Fax: 202-885-1140

    4400 Massachusetts Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20016

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Winter 2015 Exhibitions

January 24 through March 15, 2015.

Photoworks: Presence of Place 

Forty years ago, in a derelict building hidden among the abandoned amusement park rides of Glen Echo Park, four young photographers founded Photoworks with little more than a shared passion for the daily work of seeing, shooting, and printing images of lasting beauty and artistic integrity. Photoworks: Presence of Place will feature works by past and present members of the Photoworks community, faculty and students who have distinguished themselves by the quality and integrity of their work. This exhibition is in memory of Elsie Hull Sprague, an artist with a MA in Film from the School of Communication, American University. 


Identidad by Silvia Levenson 

In her exhibition Identidad, Silvia Levenson channels her identity as a survivor of the Argentinian Dirty War and her emotional connection to the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in order to push the bounds of her skills as a glassmaker and produce refined glass work. "I feel that glass is the ideal medium for conveying this mixed feeling of beauty, fragility and tension that represents our human condition." Identidad will pay homage to the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo is a human rights organization founded in 1977 with the mission of locating children kidnapped during the repression. Silvia will create 111 glass pieces of baby clothing to represent the number of cases solved by the Grandmothers. 

Identidad will educate the public on the solemn history of the Argentinian Dirty War as well as the significant impact of the Grandmothers campaign. Moreover, the exhibition will expose viewers to the skillful work of this profound international glassmaker. In 1976, Silvia was 19 years old and pregnant with her daughter Natalia. March 24, 1976, the date of Natalia's birth, is a well-remembered date in Argentinian history as it marked the beginning of the 7-year dictatorship. Between 1976 and 1983, the military dictatorship kidnapped, tortured, and killed about 30,000 people known as "los desaparecidos" or "the disappeared." Thirty percent of those kidnapped were young women, many with children by their side or in their womb. These children were later stripped of their identity and given up for adoption. The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo work to find the abducted children and return them to their natural family. Levenson and her daughter Natalia were not kidnapped and therefore, she feels like a survivor. Levenson channels her identity as a survivor and her emotional connection to the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in order to push the bounds of her skills as a glassmaker and produce the refined glass works in Identidad. "I feel that glass is the ideal medium for conveying this mixed feeling of beauty, fragility and tensions that represent our human condition." 


Phyllis Plattner: Gods of War! 

Some wage war in the name of God. All fight with the belief that God is on their side. Phyllis Plattner's art is a painted meditation, appropriating images of war and religion from art history and photojournalism to contrast the opposing drives of violence and peace. This solo-exhibition features monumental, highly narrative altarpieces from Plattner's Legends and Chronicles of War series.


Locally Sourced

Curated by Victoria Reis, Transformer
The first in the Do You Know Where Your Art Comes From? four-part exhibition series curated by Victoria Reis, Executive & Artistic Director of Transformer, and presented at American University's Katzen Art Center in collaboration with AU's Studio Arts Program Visiting Artists Program, Locally Sourced provides an in-depth look at the extensive collections of six regionally focused CSA (Community Supported Art) and Flat File programs that seek to grow recognition and support for artists in their communities. Featuring more than 300 small works and multiples in a variety of mediums, including drawing, painting, hand silk-screens, digital prints, photography, collage, sculpture, and more, this comprehensive exhibition will span the entire 2nd floor of the Katzen Art Museum. See more at http://www.transformerdc.org.


Dean Byington: Buildings Without Shadows 

Composed of a dense profusion of original and appropriated images, Dean Byington's paintings recall surrealist collage and the assemblage and psychedelic aesthetic that began in the late 1950s and early 1960s in the San Francisco Bay area where he has lived and worked since the mid-1980s. They envelope the viewer in an enigmatic narrative that hovers between history, mythology, sociopolitical observations, and autobiography.

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