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AU Museum Summer Shows Open June 15

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baseball players
Scotland Eagles baseball team, 1954. Courtesy of Deborah Young.

Summer shows at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center will open June 15 and close Aug. 11. Summer Opening Reception: June 15, from 6 to 9 p.m. Free and open to all.

Plans to Prosper You: Reflections of Black Resistance and Resilience in Montgomery County’s Potomac River Valley is a collaboration between American University graduate students and members of several historic black communities in Northwest Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland. Each of the communities was founded by formerly enslaved individuals, and most current community members trace their ancestry to those Reconstruction-era founders.

This unique multimedia exhibit examines the role of the black church in social change. It aims to shine a light on the little-known histories of the communities and to spur dialogue around the various forms of structural racism and the proud resistance that have shaped and characterized these communities over the past century and a half. It presents a range of artifacts key to the communities’ histories, including hymnals, maps, photographs, as well as recorded oral histories.

Students from AU’s graduate programs in anthropology, arts management, art history, and studio art participated in developing the exhibition. It is informed by first-year anthropology graduate students’ collaborative scholarship with the communities (supervised by Adrienne Pine, associate professor of anthropology) as part of the “Craft of Anthropology” course. Students have conducted participant-observation fieldwork and recorded oral histories with community members, and have collected archival donations from community members and local churches and cataloged the items for the Historic African River Road Connections collection housed in AU’s library. Gallery Talk: July 20, 3-4:30 p.m. Please RSVP at: tinyurl.com/aumuseumkatzen.

Being Here as ME- New Media Art Exhibition of Women Artists from Taiwan features new media art, with augmented reality, animation, and digital images. The emerging popularity of new media technology provides these artists new tools of creation and new topics of concern. The exhibit explores how Taiwanese women artists surpass discussions of gender equality and express broader concerns, creating art that reveals their anxieties and opinions about the ecology of society, science, technology and the environment. Artists featured are Pey-Chwen Lin, Tzu-Ning Wu, Yung-Chieh Wu, I-Chun Chen, Pei-Shih Tu, and Hui-Chan Kuo. Curated by Yu-Chuan Tseng. Gallery Talk: June 17, 12-2PM. Please RSVP by emailing museum@american.edu   

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 honest perspective of the Filipino diasporic psyche from both a personal and political angle. Curated by Isabel Manalo. Gallery Talk: June 15, 5-6 p.m. Please RSVP at: tinyurl.com/aumuseumkatzen.

The Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region is full of boundaries and borders, both physical -- state lines, county lines, city boundaries, ward boundaries, neighborhood edges, property lines, and not -- political lines, economic divisions, social boundaries, religious constraints. These boundaries delineate spaces, groups, ideas, and more, but they are easily walked over, pushed through, and broken down. Crossing Boundaries and Breaking Borders: DMV Printmaking brings together the work of 19 local artists who question the norm by pushing and breaking down the traditional notions of what printmaking is as a technique, how it can be used, and how printmaking can be defined. The works explore topics of gender, identity, race, ecology, the human condition and more. Curated by Matthew McLaughlin. Free Parking: DMV Printmaking, June 27, 5:30-7 p.m., RSVP at: www.tinyurl.com/AlperTickets  

Passages: Keith Morrison, 1999-2019 features acrylic and oil paintings on canvas, and transparent watercolors on paper by the Jamaican-born Keith Morrison. A magician of color and space and a teller of tales, fanciful and real, Morrison focuses on the tangible and spiritual components of culture. His subjects encompass Afro-Caribbean and Meso-American art and architecture, as well as the somber history of the Middle Passage. By turns mystical, meditative and joyous, Morrison’s work invites our entry into the rich visual world of his making. Curated by Judith Stein. Gallery Talk: July 11, 7-8 p.m. No RSVP required.  
 
SPRING EXHIBITIONS CONTINUING THROUGH AUG. 11

Forward Press: 21st Century Printmaking features 10 innovative print artists from across the United States who employ the finest examples of hand printed and digital techniques. Their works reinterpret centuries-old printmaking techniques in the digital age, exploring themes of culture, identity, religion, environment, memory, and art history. Some work in traditional forms, like lithography, intaglio, relief, and screen printing, while others explore these methods as the basis for large-scale sculpture, collage, and integrating technology into printmaking. Featuring April Flanders, Tom Hück, Carrie Lingscheit, Beauvais Lyons, Dennis McNett, Michael Menchaca, Richard Peterson, Nicole Pietrantoni, Steve Prince, and Sangmi Yoo. Curated by Susan J. Goldman and presented by the Printmaking Legacy Project®.  

Squire Broel’s totemic bronze sculptures create space for reflection and contemplation about what it means to be human, be engaged as an individual within community, and interact intentionally with the natural world. In his series of vertically oriented structures, Broel references tangible and intangible notions that resonate universally: botanical and architectural structures, environmental rhythms, physical and emotional solitude. Intentional abstraction creates a generous context for engaging with the sculptures. Allusions to historical references create a sense of timelessness and familiarity, yet the pieces exist outside the rapidly shifting visual language of stylized contemporary aesthetics. This unique sculptural installation exposes viewers to aspects of the American rural West’s untamed spirit, vast rugged landscapes, and traditions of mysticism. Broel’s intentional decision to live and work in a small agrarian community in the Pacific Northwest provides viewers with a raw vision of inward examinations that relate more to the health of the psyche than to the pop-culture echo chamber.