Thursday, June 02, 2011

What's Hot and Kool at the Katzen AU!

Odessa, Untitled. France. 36.28 x 23.62 inches. Courtesy E•CO @ the Katzen. 

Want to travel, but it's too hot? Concerned about global warming and the environment? Check out the oh so cool American University Museum at the Katzen, three floors of state of the art exhibition spaces.  A sneak preview of the upcoming exhibitions reveals galleries filled with art from different countries that deal with the language of art and the environment. You can explore how artists present environmentally focused art in large digital images that create both breathtaking and heartbreaking vistas. The three exhibitions on view include paintings, drawings, video, digital animation and on the 3rd floor, Sam Gilliam's liberated canvases hanging in splendid 3-d abstractions! It's an inspired mix of painting, digital and sculptural installations that deal with a hot topic.

Get ready for the Katzen's summer opening receptions on
June 4, 6:00 – 9:00 PM, All three exhibitions close Sunday, August 14 so make plans to see them!

Public sculpture in the urban outskirts of Monterrey, 2003.
Three channels video. Video Still. Artist´s Collection.
Courtesy Registro 02, Mirar por segunda vez @ the Katzen.

In Registro 02, Mirar por segunda vez, you can see over fifty works by four outstanding young Mexican artists: Adrián Procel, Oswaldo Ruiz, Ramiro Martínez Plasencia, Rubén Gutiérrez—and the collective, Tercerunquinto. Is a work of art defined by the artist’s intent and methods, or do the people viewing it help define the work through their perceptions of it?  Registro 02, Mirar por segunda vez sets out to show that both the artist’s process and the audience’s perception help inform art’s meaning. The exhibition includes paintings, drawings, video, and digital animation.  All of the artists live in or near the Mexican city of Monterrey. Curated by Jorge Contreras, Registro 02, Mirar por segunda vez, was originally assembled by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey (MARCO), one of the leading cultural institutions in Latin America devoted to promoting international contemporary art. The exhibition’s showing at the American University Museum is cohosted by the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C.

Second Floor Exhibition
Nòmada, Untitled. Costa Rica. 35.43 x 23.62 inches. Courtesy E•CO @ the Katzen.

River degradation. Torrential rains in Brazil. The consequences of nuclear power in Eastern Europe. All environmental issues captured through the lenses of Ibero American and European professional photographers in the exhibition photographic projects E • CO at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center beginning Saturday, June 4.
The exhibition is the culmination of the works of 20 photo collectives (groups of photographers who showcase their work together) from across Latin America and Europe.  It was first shown in Madrid, Spain, in conjunction with E • CO 2010, a meeting organized by the Ministry of Culture of Spain to highlight professional photographers’ challenges and needs in the rapidly evolving digital media landscape.  

Each collective has a different take on what “environment” means and how to present it. A Mexican collective focuses on a “rainmaker” (a man in Mexico who survived a lighting strike as a child and believes according to pre-Hispanic tradition that he has the ability to talk to nature and ask that water sprinkle his crops).  A Portuguese collective uses images of mounted and stuffed animals (taxidermy) to focus on the loss of biodiversity in Portugal.  A Spanish collective’s work shows how the cost of responsibly disposing of electronic waste has led to uncontrolled contamination of third-world nations. E CO presents photographic projects by twenty Latin American and European photographic collectives, each tasked with crafting a visual essay about one of the most important topics of our day: the environment. Free of curatorial influence, the collectives define "environment" for themselves and maintain their own production and editing processes. The resulting essays reflect the interests and concerns of each group and nation, as well as the working organization of each collective.

“It is not just the case that more artists are turning their attention to the environmental challenges we are facing today,” said Jack Rasmussen, director and curator of the American University Museum. “Everyone is more focused on climate change and the sustainability of our food, water, air and energy. Our survival depends our ability to focus.”

E • CO is presented by the Ministry of Culture of Spain, the Embassy of Spain, and the Spain-USA Foundation in collaboration with the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center and FotoDC as part of Spain Arts & Culture 2011 Program

A panel discussion by photographers Latã Cannabrava (Brazil) and Sergi Camara (Spain) begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 4th and will be followed by the public opening of the exhibit at 6 p.m.
Free admission. RSVP required for the panel:

Sam Gilliam: Close to Trees remains open on the museum’s third floor through August 14.    
April 2 to August 14, 2011

Sam Gilliam first took his paintings off their stretchers in 1965, using the liberated canvases to transform gallery walls into three-dimensional abstractions. He has continued to experiment with the practice of painting and the line between painting and sculpture. For this exhibition, Gilliam will transform the 8,000 square foot space of the third floor of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center into an exciting and colorful work of art.
The American University Museum at the Katzen building itself is worth a look and the comfort zone is just right for these hot days. It  features art that explores social, cultural, and political issues—both domestic and abroad. There is parking underneath the building. PARK inside the Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. Metered: 8:00–5:00 weekdays Free: weekends/holidays & weekdays after 5:00 pm.

Katzen Arts Center,
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016.


  1. Great installations that require a second and third look. I'll be back!