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Art and Cross-Cultural Thinking

By Charles Spencer

Part of Glass House, work by Alex Da Corte.

Detail from Glass House, by Alex Da Corte. (Photo courtesy of Nudashank Gallery)

AU’s Art Colloquia for Critical Inquiry Outside In, which began with “The Fellows Converge: The Obstructions,” an exhibition of current Hamiltonian Artists (D.C.) curated by AU Studio Art professor Tim Doud, continues March 28 with a lecture by Goya curator Amy Raehse.

The colloquia bring together artists, art historians, curators, designers, writers, and other art lovers to experience an exercise in cross-cultural thinking.

Raehse, executive director and curator at Goya Contemporary, in Baltimore, will speak from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday in Katzen Room 246. As with the rest of the series, she will focus on how art programming at AU relates to art in the greater Washington, D.C., region. That discussion will include everything from the role of area institutions, galleries, and other art groups in academia to their place in the community.

Goya Contemporary, considered one of the mid-Atlantic region’s most prestigious galleries, aims to support mid-career artists, according to the gallery. And the gallery’s Goya-Girl Press has worked on hundreds of projects since its establishment in 1996.

“Ms. Raehse’s participation in this semester’s colloquium is significant,” says Zoe Charlton, a professor in AU’s Department of Art. “She has a particular interest in educating emerging artists about professional practices. It’s important for students to be introduced to the business side of art. As part of the first-year MFA curriculum, students visit her gallery and she discusses her role as a gallerist and the relationships she builds with artists.”

The third part of the series, the Nudashank gallery talk, is Saturday, April 13, in the AU Museum. The gallery talk will be in conjunction with the exhibition “Saturation Point: Nudashank Presents Jordan Bernier, David Armacost, Jamie Felton, and Alex Da Corte.”

The exhibition will be at the Katzen through May 26.

Nudashank, a commercial gallery in Baltimore, features artists from Charm City as well as other locales, according to the colloquia organizers. The Katzen exhibition will spotlight four artists exploring the idea of saturation.

“Nudashank has quickly defined itself as a cutting-edge artist-run space,” says Charlton. “Codirectors Alex Ebstein and Seth Adelberger have created an ambitious exhibition program that supports emerging artists. We’re excited that some of our alums have been included in their past exhibitions—it acknowledges the strong artists and work that are coming out of our program.”

The Art Department plans to address the colloquia themes throughout the 2013–2014 academic year.

The colloquia are sponsored by the Studio Art program, but organizers see the program as philosophically supporting the Visiting Artists Series, which brings two visiting artists in residence to AU each semester in an attempt to offer students a wide range of critical perspectives. The colloquia also greatly benefit from the participation of both the Art History and Graphic Design departments, as well as the AU Museum.

The Art Department has two main goals for the colloquia: to stimulate discussion of art at AU and to connect with the D.C.-area arts community. In connection with those goals, the Studio Art program, in partnership with the American University Museum, will present a series of exhibitions during the next year and a half. For more information, visit the Art Colloquia for Critical Inquiry website.