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New Exhibitions at AU Museum Open Feb. 7

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Billy Pappas, Marilyn Monroe, 2003. Graphite on paper; 25 x 28 inches. Courtesy of William A. Christens-Barry, Chief Scientist, Equipoise Imaging, LLC.

American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center presents seven new exhibitions opening Feb. 7. The spring lineup features paintings and works on paper by the late Brian Kavanagh; a photographic history of the New Thing Art and Architecture Center, revolutionary community space of 1960s Washington; a kaleidoscopic vision of small-town America and the developing West; mixed-media art by second-generation Jewish Holocaust survivors; and a painstakingly created single drawing of screen legend Marilyn Monroe. Two additional exhibits open April 6: CBS journalist Bob Schieffer’s observations about the COVID-19 pandemic and societal divisions, and thesis artwork from students in AU’s Master of Fine Arts program. Opening reception: 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10.

Through March 17:

The Very Idea! Art of Brian Kavanagh

Nearly 50 paintings and works on paper on display by Brian Kavanagh (1947-2020) revolve around geometric abstraction, the sensuality of color field painting, and the mindset of conceptual art. Kavanagh was primarily a painter (with many forays into printmaking and drawing) at a time when the Washington Color School was the predominant art movement in D.C. Kavanagh had little in common with the school’s strict formalism and purely optical painting, focusing his own art on the thought process itself which he understood as the most defining trait of humankind. The exhibition presents a significant body of little-known work that evinces the complexities and contradictions at work in the international art world during the late 1960s and ‘70s. Curated by Howard N. Fox and Rosemary DeRosa.

New Perspective on The New Thing: A Photography Exhibition Documenting D.C.’s Revolutionary Community Arts Center, 1966-1972
This photographic history depicts how community was built in segregated 1960s Washington, D.C. Topper Carew’s iconic New Thing Art and Architecture Center in Adams Morgan was originally founded to cultivate opportunities for Black architects. Carew’s vision evolved into a multi-disciplinary organization that hosted concerts, workshops and free classes for area youth. The exhibit includes photos by Joel Jacobson and Tom Zetterstrom, many of which have not been seen for over 50 years. Photos by Jacobson have never been exhibited before and include those of artists at The New Thing, including Stevie Wonder, The Soul Searchers and Mance Lipscomb. Organized by Jackson-Reed High School’s Digital Media Academy in conjunction with their student organization The Community Coalition for Change. Gallery Talk: Carew, Zetterstrom, Jacobsen and Anacostia Community Museum Curator Samir Meghelli, 2 to 3 p.m. on Feb. 10.