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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, 11-4PM. Closed Monday. Admission is free.

Special Events

February 16 & 17
Docent-Led Tours
February 21
Free Parking: Michael B. Platt + Carol A. Beane
March 2
Nancy at Ninety Gallery Talk
March 7
March 3, 9, & 16
Docent-Led Tours
March 10
JRA Distinguished Artist Lecture
March 17
Michael Platt Memorial

Winter Exhibitions On view through March 17

A spooky looking nightime scene.

The Gifts of Tony Podesta

This first major exhibition drawn from our Corcoran Legacy Collection features strong and provocative photography and sculpture donated by Tony Podesta over the past decade to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, now part of the American University Museum’s holdings. Podesta has earned the reputation of being a fearless supporter of challenging contemporary art by women. He is an important patron of the arts nationally and internationally, with an outsized impact all across the Washington art world. 

See more about The Gifts of Tony Podesta.

A man printed on a piece of fabric. The fabric is crumpled.

Jiří Kolář (1914–2002): Forms of Visual Poetry

This exhibition is dedicated to one of the most remarkable Czech poets and visual artists associated with Modernism, Jiří Kolář (1914-2002). During the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, Kolář encountered considerable challenges, including a prison sentence for the critical stance towards the system expressed in his poetry. Whether because “images” were less easily censurable than “words” or for other, personal reasons, from about 1959, he focused exclusively on visual arts - especially various experimental forms of collage. Yet most of his mixed-media works remained profoundly concerned with the word/image relationship, and can best be described as “visual” poetry. The selection is representative of the main aspects of his oeuvre as it evolved over several decades.

See more about Jiří Kolář (1914–2002): Forms of Visual Poetry.

A collage. Shadows of a child and an animal look at eachother.

Michael B. Platt + Carol A. Beane: Influences and Connections

Standing at the foot of Australia’s sacred sandstone monolith known as Uluru, Michael B. Platt and Carol A. Beane envisioned a world invisible to many others. The world is at once primordial and imminent, spiritual and mortal. This exhibition is a collaborative offering from one of Washington’s most prolific pairs; an offering of visibility from one world into another. Inspired by the ancestral stories told by the indigenous keepers of Australia’s most sacred grounds, Platt and Beane fuse poetic image with word.

See more about Michael B. Platt + Carol A. Beane: Influences and Connections.

Nancy Frankel, Directions, 2009. Private Collection.

Nancy at Ninety: A Retrospective of Form and Color

This retrospective of seven decades of the work of Washington, DC sculptor Nancy Frankel will celebrate her ninetieth birthday in 2019. Working in various media since the 1950s—including wood, Plexiglas, Hydrocal, design cast, and steel—Frankel has explored a fundamentally geometric vocabulary, with moments of whimsy, the title of one of the works in this show. In addition to her freestanding works in three dimensions, a few of her many graphite drawings and tempera paintings will be represented, as well as a large wall relief. 

See more about Nancy at Ninety: A Retrospective of Form and Color.