Past Exhibitions


Altgeld Hall Gallery

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | Archived Exhibitions on Flickr

2018 Exhibitions

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2017 Exhibitions

November 16 - December 15 (Closed Thanksgiving weekend, November 22-26)
Show continues January 16 - February 23, 2018

NIU School of Art and Design Faculty Exhibition

An exhibition of recent artwork and scholarship by faculty and teaching staff from all divisions of the NIU School of Art and Design.


NIU Art Museum School of Art and Design Faculty Exhibition
November 16 - December 15 (Closed Thanksgiving weekend, November 22-26)
Show continues January 16 - February 23, 2018

New to the Collection: Recent Acquisitions

A selection of recent works gifted to the NIU Art Museum's collection from generous donors. Artists include: Paul Cézanne, Sue Coe, David Driesbach, John Fraser, John Himmelfarb, Howard Hodgkin, Mauricio Lasansky, and Andy Warhol.


New to the Collection: Recent Aquisitions
August 29 - October 20, 2017

Objectifying the Photograph

A group exhibition of contemporary artists broadening our definition of photography with artists: Pamela Bannos, Alex Chitty, Joshua Citarella, Jeanne Dunning, Min Kim Park, Letha Wilson and Hyounsang Yoo. Their work addresses the materiality, substance and objecthood of photography—drawing attention to the production and alteration of images in our post-modern, digital age. This exhibition is co-curated by NIU School of Art and Design Assistant Professors Jessica Labatte, Photography and Mike Rea, Sculpture. Catalog with essay, "Objects of Vision," by Gan Uyeda.

Objectifying The Photograph
August 29 - October 20, 2017 

Reflections: Intimate Portraits of Iconic African Americans by Terrence A. Reese

Reflections is a “documentary-style” series of black and white photographs which captures leading African American educators, business persons, politicians, religious leaders, writers, artists and musicians whose lives and careers have addressed the fundamental political, economic, and social realities of the 20th century.

Reflections by Terrence A. Reese
August 29 - November 12, 2017 

Vintage Cameras: A Snapshot of Photographic Technology

Explore a brief view into the history of photography through these vintage cameras on loan from avid collectors and photographers that showcase a variety of camera styles, formats, developments, and technological innovations.

Coming soon!
March 28 - May 20, 2017

Hand in Hand: The Visual Arts as a Means of Social and Political Propaganda, Protest and Commentary

“What a Frightful Spectacle!”: Lithographs of Honoré Daumier
This exhibition surveys Daumier’s satirical observations of aristocrats, politicians and the ‘average Joe’ caught up in the tumultuous civic transformations of 19th century Paris.

"What a Frightful Spectacle!": Lithographs of Honoré Daumier

Theoretical Mockery: Satirical Prints by Sidney Chafetz
Sidney Chafetz’s prints often incorporated puns, jokes, and humor to satirize subjects from current political events and his life on a Midwestern college campus. Chafetz was a well-known artist leading the printmaking program at Ohio State University.

Theoretical Mockery: Satirical Prints by Sidney Chafetz

A Tale of Donkeys and Elephants; Satire with the Wink of a Fox
Political cartoons are part and parcel of the American experience that have been used since colonial times to succinctly express in visual form, differing points of view on complex socio-political concerns.

Over the Top to Victory!
Exploring government-sponsored posters issued during the First World War, this exhibition contrasts the social satire seen in the concurrent exhibitions with propaganda images from the early 20th century. 

January 17 – February 27, 2017


VISIONES E HISTORIAS: Maya Paintings from Guatemala
The exhibition features colorful painting full of narrative detail. Maya painters Paula Nicho Cúmez and Pedro Rafaél González Chavajay complement one another, her work exploring the internal spiritual world and his work exploring the external Maya experience.


Visiones E Historias: Maya Paintings from Guatemala

A mid-career retrospective documenting performance works by an internationally-known Guatemalan artist and poet. At times presenting unsettling topics, Galindo’s work challenges viewers to address issues of social justice, gender, race, politics and identity. The exhibition is curated by Lia Newman, Director/Curator at the Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina

This exhibition contains graphic images not appropriate for children or sensitive viewers.

Regina Jose Galindo: Bearing Witness

HUIPILES: Maya Identity and Identifier
Explores the rich and unique weaving and embroidery practices of the Guatemalan Maya through traditional women’s blouses. 

HUIPILES: Maya Identity and Identifier

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2016 Exhibitions

August 23 through November 18, 2016 

Kaleidoscope of Burmese Art: 
Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Center for Burma Studies

Journey Through Burmese Art
Conceived as a tour through the Burma Art Collection, where visitors discover a long, fascinating, and varied textile tradition from some of the multiple ethnic groups that coexist in the Burmese territory. 

Masterpieces from the Burma Art Collection at NIU
A selection of the most iconic artifacts at the heart and core of the Burma Art Collection including some of the founding pieces which were gifts from Konrad and Sarah Bekker.

Kaleidoscope of Burmese Art Aug 23 - Nov 18, 2016

From Tradition to Modernity: Art from Myanmar as Viewed by Contemporary Burmese Artists
Presents recent paintings by Burmese artists on loan from the Thukhuma Collection in Hong Kong that reflect tradition as well as change—embracing a move toward modernity in the forms and influences of new media while continuing to reference traditional Burmese subjects.

Donors and Collectors: A Legacy
A selection of objects from the Burma Art Collection celebrating a long history of donations by American citizens who have lived in Burma/Myanmar.

April 7 - May 20, 2016

Art Deco Exhibition Suite

Between the Wars: Contrasts, Parallels, Shifts and Patterns
An exploration of the stylistic motivations, technical innovations, and social transitions during the period, 1920 to early 1940s, as expressed through advertising posters, illustrations, and women’s fashion. Featuring vintage selections from The Chicago Center for The Print, the Koehnline Museum of Art and The Barbara Cole Peters Fashion Collection.

Between the Wars: Contrasts, Paralles, Shifts, and Patterns

Beyond Gatsby: Common Luxury in American Art Deco
Jazz, flappers, The Great Gatsby - many people equate Art Deco with the glamour and glitz of the Roaring 20s. Objects from the period between WWI and WWII demonstrate how Art Deco styling permeated every aspect of life, from household objects to magazine ads, from furniture and jewelry to Chicago's 1933 World Fair. Curated by graduate students in the NIU Certificate in Museum Studies.

Beyond Gatsby: Common Luxury in American Art Deco

The Chicagoan: A Publication of the Era
Commentary on samplings from an urbane lifestyle magazine that proclaimed - and reinforced - Chicago’s cultural import, 1926-1935.

The Chicagoan installation

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2015 Exhibitions

November 17, 2015 - February 20, 2016

NIU School of Art and Design Faculty Biennial
An exhibition of recent artwork and scholarship by faculty and teaching staff from all divisions of the NIU School of Art and Design.

NIU School of Art and Design Faculty Exhibition
August 25 - October 24, 2015

Contemporary Artists Exploring Relevant Social Issues

Embarrassment of Riches
The work on display represents the various artists' perspectives on sustainability and humanity's complicated relationship with the earth and environment. Curator Peter Olson comments, "Many artists view the situation through a lens of creativity, playfulness, wit and irony. In the 21st century, we find ourselves amidst the fallout of our own past—policies and practices that have left us with a high standard of living, but also a planet ravaged with pollution and tons upon tons of garbage, an "embarrassment of riches" so to speak. Can we modify our forward progress to include practices that are more sustainable?"

Embarrassment of Riches

A nationally-traveling multi-media group exhibition examining the historical and social issues surrounding the availability, use and impact of guns in our lives from a number of perspectives, though none endorse them as a means to an end. Curated by Susanne Slavick, Andrew W. Mellon professor of art, Carnegie Mellon University.



Sustainability Practices and Research
Panels highlighting the environmentally sustainable practices and research currently being conducted by NIU campus departments associated with the Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy (ESE) and by DeKalb area community organizations and local companies. Organized by Melissa Burlingame, Outreach and Communications Coordinator at ESE, Peter Olson, NIU Art Museum, and Sophia Varcados, Creative Services: Graphics with support from Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois and Waste Management.


March 24 - May 22, 2015

Traditions Transfigured: The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi
Inspired by Japan's expressive Noh theater, the contemporary masks in this exhibition apply the forms, techniques and mysterious elegance of Noh masks to iconic female portraits from the European art historical cannon, and to Kabuki actor prints by Sharaku, Japan's enigmatic 18th century portrait master. This national traveling exhibition was organized by the University Art Museum at California State University Long Beach in conjunction with Dr. Kendall H. Brown. Major support has been provided by the McLeod Family Foundation and a grant from Instructional Related Activities at CSULB.


Traditions Transfigured: The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi
March 24 - May 22, 2015

Amerimanga! Convention and Expression
The exhibition highlights American comics that have been aesthetically influenced by Japanese manga. Featuring the work of Jen Brazas, Svetlana Chmakova, Josh Elder, Erich Owen, Brion Foulke, Ron Kaulfersch, Mike Schwark, M. Alice LeGrow, Jill Thompson, Martheus Wade, Janet Stone Wade, and Adam Warren. Co-curated by Kerry Freedman, Professor of Art + Design Education at NIU and author Josh Elder, President and Founder, Reading with Pictures.


Amerimanga! Convention and Expression
January 6 – February 21, 2015

Local Visions: Selections From Area Collections
This exhibition presented the diverse collections of sixteen area collectors including art from the 18th through the 21st centuries, Indonesian textiles, circus posters, antiques, Roseville pottery, record sleeves, vintage toys, folk art. Featured collectors included Mary-Glynn and John H. Boies, Rodney Borstad, Gerald and Cheryl Brauer, Richard M. Cooler, Robert and Christa Even, Sven Oskar Hansen, the Tom Hulseberg collection loaned by Barbara Hulseberg and John Hulseberg, Ronald G. Klein, David McMahon, Molly Carter and David Menard, Jerry D. and Miriam Meyer, Charlie and Dedrie Rudolph, Dan and Virginia Seymour and Jerry and Ging Smith.

Local Visions: Selections from Area Collections

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2014 Exhibitions

August 26, 2014 – November 15, 2014

Dressing Difference: Exploring Ethnicities in Modern Burma
This exhibition, co-curated by Sherry Harlacher, Director, Denison Museum, and Catherine Raymond, Curator, Burma collection at NIU and Director, Center for Burma Studies, questioned concepts of ethnicity and gender through costume and body adornment with items from the Burma Art collections at Denison University and Northern Illinois University.

Dressing Difference: Exploring Ethnicities in Modern Burma
August 26, 2014 – November 15, 2014

Manly Men, Girly Girls and Everybody in Between
The exhibition featured work from visiting artists Bren Ahearn, Mariette Pathy Allen, Kelli Connell, Paul D’Amato, Sean Fader, Jennifer Greenburg, Bill Harrison, Hana Pesut, Libby Rowe and Michelle Sank and posed questions about how others perceive us and how we see ourselves while expressing sexuality and gender continuum in the arts.

Manly Men, Girly Girls, and Everybody in Between (Aug 26 - Nov 15, 2014)
March 25, 2014 - May 23, 2014

Hoarding, Amassing and Excess
This contemporary exhibition explored the psychological, sociological and artistic impulses for accumulation, horror vacui, berserk collecting and obsessive mark making.

Hoarding, Amassing and Excess 3/25-5/23/2014
April 3, 2014 - May 23, 2014

Looting, Hoarding, Collecting
From the spoils of war to issues of contemporary repatriation, this didactic exhibition explores case studies throughout the history of cultural property conflicts and the roles played in them by museums. Curated by the ART 656 Museum Exhibitions and Interpretation graduate students enrolled in the NIU Certificate for Museum Studies. 

Looting, Hoarding, Collecting... 4/3-5/23/2014

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2013 Exhibitions

November 9, 2013 - February 15, 2014

NIU School of Art Faculty Exhibition
Work by NIU School of Art Faculty from all areas of Studio, Design and Art Education as well as documentation of scholarship from the division of Art History.

2013-14 Faculty Biennial Exhibition, November 19, 2013 - February 15, 2014
August 27th - October 19th, 2013

On Watching and Being Seen
This exhibition explored the roles of the voyeur and the exhibitionist, especially through the impact of social media and surveillance technology. How we define what is private and what is public (or what we think should be) has ramifications in our feeling engaged, threatened or ambivalent.

On Watching and Being Seen (Aug 27 - Oct 19, 2013)
March 19, 2013 - May 24, 2013

OBJECTIVE/SUBJECTIVE: Mapping as Visual Language
Contemporary artists utilizing the conceptual and visual language of maps to respond to both real and imagined spaces

OBJECTIVE/SUBJECTIVE: Mapping as Visual Language (March 19, 2013 - May 24, 2013)
March 19, 2013 - May 24, 2013

Mapping: Measuring Across Place and Period; Information, Navigation, and Geography
NIU Museum Studies 656 class exhibition, focusing on the aesthetics of ancient and modern maps, included a focus on contemporary artistic interpretations.


MAPPING: Measuring Across Place and Period; Information, Navigation, and Geography (April 4 - May 24, 2013)
March 19, 2013 - May 24, 2013

Selections from NIU's Geography department regarding contemporary mapping techniques

Mapping Exhibition Suite: Hall Cases (April 4 - May 24, 2013)
January 8, 2013 - February 23, 2013

Vice + Virtue
Vice; immorality and wickedness, and virtue; moral goodness and righteousness, are often considered mutually exclusive. This exhibition explored the dynamics of innocence and sin while allowing for areas of overlap or intersection.

Vice + Virtue (01/08-02/28/2013)

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Archived Exhibitions on Flickr

Gallery Hours

Free and open to the public
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thursday: Noon-7 p.m.
Sunday Noon-4 p.m.
By appointment for group tours.

Closed during the summer, between exhibitions and during university holidays.


The NIU Art Museum is located on the first floor, west end of Altgeld Hall, on the corner of College Avenue and Castle Drive on the main campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL.

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