Winter exhibitions at American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center will open Feb. 4, 2023. Exhibits include Madayin, the first major exhibition of Aboriginal Australian bark painting to tour the U.S., photojournalism from World War II, and The Trawick Prize for Contemporary Art.
The opening reception, free and open to all, takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Feb. 4. Please refer to the museum’s website for the most up-to-date information on museum events and visiting the museum. Press visits are available upon request.
Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala is the first major exhibition of Aboriginal Australian bark paintings to tour the United States. Curated by Indigenous people and presented from their perspective, the exhibition offers a unique glimpse into a rarely seen but globally significant art movement.
Hailed as one of 90 exhibitions to see this season by The New York Times, Madayin was organized by the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia in partnership with the Indigenous-owned Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre in Australia. American University Museum will be the second venue to host this touring exhibition after its recent premier at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth.
“Madayin represents one of the most extraordinary art movements of our time,” said Jack Rasmussen, AU Museum’s director and curator. “Sharing these compelling works from Yirrkala with our visitors is another way American University Museum is fulfilling its commitment to focus on presenting international contemporary art in all its amazing diversity.”
The largest and most important exhibition of Aboriginal Australian art mounted in the western hemisphere in more than 30 years, Madayin reinforces the leading role of Indigenous artists in shaping global contemporary art. On view through May 14.
Eastern Front – Western Front: World War II Photojournalism by Georgi Zelma and Constance Stuart Larrabee combines photojournalism by Georgi Zelma and Constance Stuart Larrabee, juxtaposing the perspectives of a Russian man and a British woman, both war correspondents covering different battle fronts during World War II. Georgi Zelma (1906–1984) was a Russian Jewish photographer who grew up in Moscow. Constance Stuart Larrabee (1914–2000) was born in England, grew up in South Africa, and moved to Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1953.
Zelma’s coverage of the infamously catastrophic Battle of Stalingrad (1942-43) for the Moscow newspaper Izvestia provides rare Soviet insight into this crucial turning point in the war. Larrabee’s photography for Libertas, South Africa’s “Life” magazine, celebrates the war efforts of Allied troops and the liberations of North Africa, France, and Italy from 1944-45. As one of very few female war correspondents, Larrabee’s photos are exceptional for their focus on the experience of the civilian population and portraits of Allied troops.
Both bodies of work provide little known views into the battles and aftermath of the European theater of war, contributing to the history of combat photography and photojournalism during World War II. All of the photographs are from AU’s Corcoran Legacy Collection. Larrabee’s archival objects are from the Constance Stuart Larrabee collection, Special Collections Research Center and George Washington University Libraries. Curated by Laura Roulet. On view through March 19.
The Trawick Prize: 20th Anniversary Emerald Award celebrates the impact of The Trawick Prize for Contemporary Arts, a visual arts prize that honors artists from Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia in an annual juried competition. Now in its 20th year, the prize was established by Bethesda, Md.-based community activist and philanthropist Carol Trawick in 2002. To date, The Trawick Prize has awarded over $300,00 to local contemporary artists and has exhibited the work of more than 200 artists who reached the level of finalists in each year’s competition. This exhibition presents the work of artists who were awarded the “Best in Show” in the competition over the last 20 years, and features contemporary paintings, sculptures, film, mixed media, and many others. This year, the juried competition will result in selecting “the best of the best” over the past 20 years, awarding the artist with The Trawick Prize Emerald Award. On view through March 19.
About Time is a retrospective of four decades of photographic work by D.C. artist Gail Rebhan. The exhibit explores the many ways Rebhan can reconfigure the time-slicing medium of photography. Rebhan works with and against the norms of photography to confront cycles of change and repetition as primary vectors in life. Curated by Sally Stein. On view through May 21.
The Barlow Gilotty Collection offers a look at the collectors, their process, and the superb contemporary art collection that Philip Barlow and Lisa Gilotty, both government employees, managed to assemble. The collection features work from more than 70 artists and includes photography, sculptures, paintings, video, prints, and a sound piece. It is the culmination of over 30 years of art collecting by the couple and offers the viewer insights on how the process of collecting art connected Barlow and Gilotty to their community. On view through May 21.