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American University Museum at the Katzen

Free and open to the public, the AU Museum hosts rotating exhibitions of contemporary art from around the globe and the Alper Initiative, a dedicated research and display space for the art history of Washington, DC.

AU Museum

Located on American University’s main campus at the Katzen Arts Center.
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11:00AM-4:00PM. Closed Monday. Admission is free.

Yoga in the Galleries held Wednesdays, 10AM. Resumes September 4.
Docent-led tours will resume in September.

Special Events

September 3
Early Fall Exhibitions Open
September 6
Members' Preview: Hartigan & Herzbrun
September 7
Gallery Talk: Topographies
September 7
Early Fall Opening Reception
September 14
Art All Night at the AU Museum
September 21
Museum Day
September 26
Free Parking: WD Printmaking
September 28
Gallery Talk: Moves Like Walter
October 3
INTERFERENCE Concert
October 19
Family Day at the AU Museum

Fall Exhibitions On view September 3

Helene Herzbrun, Aeroplat, 1970.

Grace Hartigan and Helene Herzbrun: Reframing Abstract Expressionism

Grace Hartigan (1922-2008) and Helene Herzbrun (1922-1984) were both remarkable painters of the second Abstract-Expressionist generation who lived and worked as influential artists and teachers in the Baltimore/Washington region for many decades. Although they began their careers as gestural abstractionists in the mold of Pollock and de Kooning, both went on to reinvent and revitalize the signature styles of the Ab-Ex movement in powerful and personal ways. They were enabled to do so in large part by their self-selected, “outside-of-New York” locale, which permitted each of these very different artists to develop her own dialogue with painting, away from the shifting fashions and pressures of the commercial mainstream.

Learn more about: Grace Hartigan and Helene Herzbrun: Reframing Abstract Expressionism

Mel Watkin, Cross-Section: Hophornbeam, 2019.

Topographies of Life: Pam Rogers, Lynn Sures, Mel Watkin
Presented by the AU Museum Project Space

Using the medium of drawing to varied and distinctive effect, Rogers, Sures, and Watkin trace human connections to the natural world—across time and varied landscapes. The three artists work from both a consciousness of drawing’s ties to illustration and evidence; and, the medium’s unique ability to transmit the artist’s “hand” and personal response to their subject. From the deserts of Kenya, forests of the Midwest, to the Potomac watershed, these artists are deeply attuned to the mutually affecting relationship between the anthropological and natural worlds.

Learn more about: Topographies of Life: Pam Rogers, Lynn Sures, Mel Watkin

Bernis Von Zur Muehlen, Teri, 1982.

Moves Like Walter: New Curators Open the Corcoran Legacy Collection

Moves like Walter: New Curators Open the Corcoran Legacy Collection is a product of Director and Curator Jack Rasmussen’s spring course on curatorial practice. Upon receipt of the Corcoran Collection, graduate students in art history, arts management, and studio art have curated a playful and provocative interpretation of the 9,000-piece gift. The exhibition is inspired by Walter Hopps, briefly the Director of the Corcoran and an erratic but seminal American curator of contemporary art. The curators have divided their responses into five sub-groups, Boundless: Existing Within Ambiguous SpaceThe Road HomeThe Selfless Spirit: Nature vs. Nurture and the Effects of Motherhood in the Corcoran CollectionAmerican Legacy: Reconsidering Non-Western Subjects in the Corcoran Collection, and Redefining the Gaze: Shifting the Power.

Learn more about: Moves Like Walter: New Curators Open the Corcoran Legacy Collection

George H. Smith-Shomari, Silver Bass Players, 2002.

Prints & Artists: WD Printmaking Workshop 1970-Present
Presented by the Alper Initiative for Washington Art

This exhibition traces the evolution of the DC-based WD Printmaking workshop, which began with Percy and Alice Martin’s opening their Adams Morgan home as a collaborative artists’ studio fifty years ago. The aim was to create a place where all artists (not necessarily trained in printmaking) could come together to explore the printmaking craft and create original prints. Emphasis was placed on experimentation and innovation. The studio was open to the artists twenty-four hours a day.

Learn more about: Prints & Artists: WD Printmaking Workshop 1970-Present

Annette Lerner, Sunset, 2019

Our World Above: Monoprints and Glass by Annette Lerner

This exhibition was inspired by images taken through the Hubble Telescope. Their indescribable beauty astounded Lerner and drove her to try to capture space in the monoprint medium. She was also inspired by the desert sky in Southern California, and she has dedicated herself to capturing the clouds, the moon, and the sunsets. Pure, and beyond the touch of man, Lerner believes outer space is a gift to our world. This will be Lerner’s first exhibition in Washington, DC.

Learn more about: Our World Above: Monoprints and Glass by Annette Lerner

Maia Cruz Palileo, The Visitors

Maia Cruz Palileo

There is a mystery in the act of burying and even more so in uncovering. Maia Cruz Palileo’s paintings and drawings are the metaphorical teeth in this body of work spanning from 2013 to 2019. These works, including a small painting titled Burying Teeth, depict historical narratives from the colonial past of the Philippines, Maia’s country of origin, as well as stories and moments about her own life as a Filipina American growing up in the United States. Her paintings and drawings replicate figures from old family photographs, as well as photos from the American government’s archives depicting anthropological documentation of Filipinos during the American colonization. While her work evokes nostalgia and romanticism, it is imbued with a critical undertone of America’s colonization of the Philippines. Maia’s work is an examination of the Filipino diasporic psyche through a personal and political lens.

Learn more about: Maia Cruz Palileo