American University Museum Winter 2016 Exhibitions

By Editorial Team on January 20, 2016

Sat, 30 January 2016 - Sun, 13 March 2016

Roots and Readings, 2013 painting (acrylic paint, latex paint, spray paint)on wood panel 48” x 36”x1 3/4” by Renée Stout. Courtesy of  American University Museum.
Roots and Readings, 2013 painting (acrylic paint, latex paint, spray paint)on wood panel 48” x 36”x1 3/4” by Renée Stout. Courtesy of American University Museum.


Opening: RESCHEDULED to Saturday, January 30


In addition to its winter shows, American University Museum celebrates the grand opening of the Alper Initiative for Washington Art, a new space on the museum’s first floor devoted to the exhibition of work by DC artists. The Alper Initiative for Washington Art has been made possible due to a generous donation from philanthropist, artist and American University alumna Carolyn Alper. The initiative will sponsor lectures, films, and other events, and provide for the creation of a digital archive of Washington art. The winter showing of Circle of Friends is the first exhibition presented by the Alper Initiative for Washington Art.

Renée Stout Tales of the Conjure Woman features recent work by Renée Stout, who is best known for her exploration of vestigial retentions of African cultural traditions as manifested in contemporary America. Stout’s work lets audiences view some of the rich traditions and cultural practices of African America through exploration of an underground system of African-derived folk beliefs as transmitted from slavery to the present. This system, known variously as Hoodoo or conjuring, has its origins in herbal medicine, root work, and a belief in the spiritual attributes of plants and animals. Stout uses the alter ego Fatima Mayfield, a fictitious herbalist/fortuneteller, as a vehicle to role-play and confront issues such as romantic relationships, social ills, or financial woes. Tales of the Conjure Woman offers a peek into a fascinating world ruled by superstition and ancestral wisdom.

In conjunction with Renée Stout Tales of the Conjure Woman, the exhibit Circle of Friends tells a story of female artists supporting one another as they make their way towards artistic maturity and relevance and approaches the history of Washington art from the perspective of these communities of support.

This group exhibition features 16 artists from the Baltimore and DC region who formed the artistic cohort of Renée Stout. Working in mediums ranging from sculpture and installation to printmaking and photography, these artists influenced Stout or were influenced by her from the time she arrived in DC in 1985. Artists include: Lilian T. Burwell, Cheryl Casteen, Linda Day Clark, Cianne Fragione, Susan Goldman, Margo Humphrey, EJ Montgomery, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Jae Ko, Valerie Maynard, Jiha Moon, Jamea Richmond-Edwards, Joyce Scott, Hadieh Shafie, Sylvia Snowden and Joyce Wellman.

Impact! The Legacy of the Women’s Caucus for Art celebrates the impact of the WCA Lifetime Achievement Awards presented annually to artists, art historians, and curators. The awards were first presented at the White House in 1979. The exhibition, curated by awardee and former College Art Association president Leslie King Hammond, will focus on the impact of and connections among the awardees themselves. The WCA awards ceremony will take place during the annual conferences of the CAA.

Maggie Michael A Phrase Hung in Midair as if Frozen is a mid-career retrospective of the D.C. artist and AU alumna, featuring paintings from 2002 through the present. Michael’s work is at once intuitive and conceptual, serving as a platform for exploring physicality, the workings of language, literature, and the vagaries of emotion and information. With much discussion in the art world today about the role painting plays, Michael’s work argues for its continued relevance. A Phrase Hung in Midair as if Frozen is Michael’s first museum exhibition and her first survey exhibition.

Center Hours:

  • Tuesday through Sunday: 11am to 4pm

The Katzen Arts Center located at 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW. For more information, call 202-885-1300.