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Early Spring Exhibits: Collage, International Art, Installations and More

By Rebecca Basu

Jean Conner Collage

Jean Conner, Nixon, 1959. Paper collage, 7.75 c 9.75 in.

Spring exhibits at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center offer visitors an eclectic mix, from surrealist collage to drawings that depict sound.

Exhibits from April 4 through May 24

Collage comes to AU Museum with YES! Glue: A Half-Century of Collage by Bruce and Jean Conner.The Conners sustained separate but related explorations within the tradition of surrealist collage. Jean began to create her wry combinations of images from popular magazines in the mid-1950s. Bruce embraced and then abandoned complex expressionist assemblages in the early 1960s in favor of witty, often grotesque, and sometimes spiritual compositions built from 19th-century engravings. Collage found fertile ground in the San Francisco Beat scene of the late 1950s. It was into this milieu that Bruce and Jean Conner moved from Lincoln, Nebraska, after their marriage in 1957, and it is here their art flourished.

AU Museum Curator and Director Jack Rasmussen said: "Bruce Conner is one of the most important artists of the 20th century. We are so fortunate to have this show at American University Museum before his retrospective next year at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the New York Museum of Modern Art. Our title 'YES! Glue: A Half-Century of Collage by Bruce and Jean Conner' refers to the brand of glue favored by the Conners for their collages. Obsessive about every detail of his art, Bruce Conner advanced the medium of collage, long favored by the Avant-Garde from Synthetic Cubism, Dadaism, and Surrealism right up through the San Francisco Beat Generation to today. The mostly unknown collage work by Jean Conner appears in this exhibition as a revelation."

Transcription of Blue: Guy Goldstein is a mixed-media exhibit in which Goldstein, both a visual artist and musician, investigated "colors of noise" by converting graphite drawings into sounds and then converting them back into printed images using a mid-century Russian ANS synthesizer. To convert from drawing to sound and vice versa, Goldstein utilizes software based on an old cumbersome machine from 1940s Russia, which made it possible to obtain a visible image of a sound wave, and the reverse (the sound of a visual image). The exhibition is sponsored by the Outset Contemporary Art Fund and the Embassy of Israel.

Remembrances of Voices Past features paintings by Indian artist V. Ramesh, for whom an act of devotion, or Bhakti, seems not only an apt social response to existential tragedies, but also a quest for freedom. Painting primarily with oils on large-scale canvas, his oeuvre reveals a preoccupation with meditative terrain, incorporating voices from medieval poetry and images culled from mythology to explore the relationship between states of transcendence and the realities of culture and personal experience. The exhibition is sponsored by the Institute by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Threshold Gallery. 

Drawings: Walter Kravitz features a large installation and smaller works by Chicago-bred artist Walter Kravitz. His work has evolved into an exploration of the way events happen in the natural world. His lines become edges, continuously organizing and shaping the air into solids, then dissolving them again into unpredictability.  

Exhibits from April 25 through May 25

Lost and Found: Young Art from Lithuania is the product of an educational and artistic exchange between American University and the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Curatorial practice students from both universities are developing their skills in the management of art as well as promotion of the artistic ambitions of their fellow students through this international exchange of exhibitions. Young Lithuanian artists exhibiting are working in a wide range of media varying from traditional craftsmanship to unique technological solutions, and demonstrate the varied influence of the Vilnius Academy of Arts on the creativity of its students. In return, AU Museum Director Jack Rasmussen's curatorial practice students will curate a show of AU students and recent alumni at the Vilnius Academy of Arts in October 2015.

Exhibit from April 4 through April 19

AU's Department of Art presents the work of current Master's of Fine Arts candidates from their first year in the Studio Arts program in an exhibition titled [Insert non-pretentious title here]. Collectively the group represents research, experimentation, and reflection, while simultaneously offering a window into each artist's individual practice. Artists are: Sara Caporaletti, Sarah Dale, Carey Francis, Jihee Kang, Jean Kim, Zack McGhin, Calli Moore, Joumana Mourkarim, Samantha Sethi, Katelyn Wood.