Exhibitions in the Altgeld Galleries
(Since 2004 Renovation)

For more photos see our Flickr page.

March 28 - May 20, 2017

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

Exploring the nuanced ways artists respond to their social and political landscapes using visual language and hyperbole to critique, valorize and satirize the events and subjects of their times—often making us grimace and laugh in the process.

Frightful Spectacle

“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.

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.

April 6 - May 20, 2017
A Tale of Donkeys and Elephants; Satire with the Wink of a Fox
olitical 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


A series of exhibitions and programs organzed by the NIU Art Museum, Pick Museum of Anthropology, and the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies that explore teh history and identity of Maya people in Guatemala.

Visiones E Historias: Maya Paintings from Guatemala installation

VISIONES E HISTORIAS: Maya Paintings from Guatemala 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.

REGINA JOSÉ GALINDO: Bearing Witness is 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.

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



August 23 through November 18, 2016 

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

Kaleidoscope Installation

Journey Through Burmese Art is 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 is 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.

Donors and Collectors: A Legacy is 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

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.

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.


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.


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?”

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.



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.


January 6, 2015 – February 21, 2015

Traditions Transfigured: The Noh Masks of Bidou Yamaguchi

Traditions Transfigured

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 exhibtion 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 Acitivites at CSULB.


January 6, 2015 – February 21, 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. 


January 6, 2015 – 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.


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.


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 other perceive us and how we see ourselves while expressing sexuality and gender continuum in the arts.


March 25, 2014 - May 23, 2014

Hoarding, Amassing and Excess 

hoarding installation shot

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


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.


August 27th - October 19th, 2013

On Watching and Being Seen


This exhibition explored the roles of the voyeur and the exhibitionist, especially throught 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.


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


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 aestheics of ancient and modern maps, included a focus on contemporary artistic interpretations.


March 19, 2013 - May 24, 2013

Hallcase Display

cartography lab hallcases

Selections from NIU's Geography department regarding contemporary mapping techniques


January 8, 2013 - February 23, 2013

Vice + Virtue

vice and 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.


Southeast Asian Exhibition Suite: August 28, 2012 - November 17, 2012

Current Views and Actions: Photography and Performance Documentation from Phnom Penh

current views and actions

Featuring work from young cambodian artists Khvay Samnang and Lim Sokchanlina, two of the founding members of the artist collective, Stiev Selapak (Art Rebels) in Phnom Penh.


Karen: A People on the Border

karen show

Documentary photography of the Karen people on the Thai-Burma border. Photos by Robert Gerhardt.


Transnational Identity: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia

transnational identites

Performing art forms typical of Burmese, Cambodian, Indonesian, Laotian, and Thai cultures.


Music for the Divine

music for the divine

Musical instruments and traditions of Burma (Myanmar), from the court to expressiona of ethnic and cultural identites.


March 20, 2012 - May 25, 2012 

The Golden Age of Wordless Novels and Arist Illustrated Books: 1971-1951 (April 5, 2012 - May 25, 2012)

golden age of wordless novels and illustrated books

This exhibition was coordinated by the museum studies 656 class, and explored the revival of relief printing in books during the early part of the 20th century.

Graphic Novel Realism: Back Stage at The Comics

graphic novel realism installation view

Featured the original works from contemporary graphic novels, including private reference materials and process work.

Francisco Goya: Satirical Caprices 

satirical caprices

Selections from Francisco Goya's Los Caprichos, originally published as a bound folio in 1799.

January 10, 2012 - February 25, 2012

New To The Collection

new to the collection installation view

This exhibition highlighted selections of recent aquisitions by the NIU Art Museum.

November 29, 2011 - February 25, 2012

NIU School of Art Faculty Exhibition 

installation view, faculty biennial 2011

Work by NIU School of Art Faculty from all areas of Studio & Design as well as documentation of scholarship from the divisions of art Education and Art History.

The New Art Examiner, "Chicago's Independent Voice of the Visual Arts," 1973-2002

New Art Examiner exhibition photo

Didactic exhibition exploring the history and significance of The New art Examiner.  Curated by Art Historian Barbara Jaffee.

 A Private Haiku: Ceramic Work of Helen Merritt.

 Helen Merritt Ceramics

August 23 - October 29, 2011

In the House: Sculpture for the Home

In the House photo

Group exhibition of contemporary tabletop and wall sculpture in various media and techniques explore a variety of concerns, issues, processes and techniques. Artists: Jerry Bleem, Juan Angel Chavez, Michael Ferris, Michael Gross, John Himmelfarb, Gary Justis, Michael Ransdell and Margaret Wharton.  Guest curated by sculptor/educator/collector Michael Bennett.

In the Studio and In the Garden: John Balsley Sculpture and Collage


Figurative metal sculpture and extreme collage.

On the Body and In the Hand 

On the body in the hand photo

Small scale contemporary metalwork and jewelry. Invitational group show organized by guest curator Jamie Obermeier, Associate Professor, Metals Coordinator, and Board of Directors, SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths).

Summer Hall Case Exhibition continued visual art and sound

Dirt and Glitter, The Graphic Design of Vaughan Oliver and v23

dirt and glitter photo

Curated by Assistant Director Peter B. Olson

Late spring exhibitions explore surprising interrelationships between visual art and sound.

March 29 - May 14 - 2011

Wassily Kandinsky: Klänge


Early abstraction pioneer and theorist, Wassily Kandinsky, a "synesthetete", explored sounds (Klänge) through both the word in poetry and the image in woodcut to create an intimate tome of the same name here presented with both sides of the pages individually framed allowing the viewer/listener/reader to experience the visual and auditory word together. 


A display of contemporary, international, non-traditional music scores inspired by John Cage's Notations (1968).  Curated by New York composer Theresa Sauer, author of an anthology of 165 composers' visual music scores.  Concert featuring works employing non traditional music notation with visiting artist/scholar Theresa Sauer, and friends, in collaboration with NIU Music faculty.

Sheet Music and Record Albums - Graphics of Their Time

album spines

The styles, concerns and issues of each era are explored through the combination of popular song and period graphics.

April 8 - May 14, 2011
Music to my Eyes: Musical Instruments as Visual Art

photo from exhibition

Explores musical instrument ornamentation and interprets its relation to the instrument's primary audotory function. Selected audio recordings of exhibited instruments will augment the exhibition's visual impact. Organized with students enrolled in "Exhibition Interpretation," a graduate-level Museum Studies course.

Early Spring 2011

Early Spring exhibitions explore the visible and invisible in landscape and portraiture.

January 25 - March 11, 2011

Best Face Forward: The Presented View


Studio portrait photography, both historic and contemporary, of the famous, the unknown and the infamous. An exploration of the in/visible curcular relationship between photographer, subject and audience. Group show featuring work by Dawoud Bey, Nora Herting, Andy Warhol, and anonymous/unknown work from the 19th and early 20th century.


visitors with rizzo

Contemporary artists explore the nature of place as both a physical presence and an evocative mood. Change, constant and inexorable, is the essential fact that so un-nerves us all; what is here now, was once elsewhere, and is on its way to yet another context. Artists include Margot Balboni, Amy Caterina, Ethan Jackson, Nina Rizzo, Hazel Walker, and Michelle Wasson. Curated by Karen Brown, Professor of Drawing, NIU School of Art

Transcendental Objects: The in/Visible Museum Staff Invitational:

Museum staff interpret the ArtLab theme of Visible/Invisible by curating the Hall Case Gallery. Cases by John Benson, Bradley Cahill, Erin Coleman-Cruz, Heather Hines Green, Brandon Kirkman, Tom Robertson & Siew Lian Lim

Fall 2010 Exhibitions

Late fall exhibitions look at metaphors related to garments and ritual in fashion and death.

October 21 – December 4, 2010

Check our our Fashion Faux Pas blog

South Galleries: INside Out

photo from exhibition

Contemporary conceptual group show metaphorically looking at fashion with all its implications: glamour, charm, distraction, absence, longing, memory, play, gender/class authority, technology/labor issues. Artists hail from Chicago, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, New York and Berlin, work in sculpture, photography, video and installation and include: Jane Brucker, Diane Simpson, Jean Marie Casberian, Pate Conaway, Mike Rea, & Manual Pardo. Guest-curated by Karen Brown, Director of Bad Dog Gallery, DeKalb.

North Galleries: Patty Carroll: Anonymous Women


If a woman is “defined by her wardrobe,” Chicago photographer Patty Carroll pushes the limits in her scathing series of draped figures depicted in Anonymous Women. Feminist wit and humor bites hard.

Hall Case Galleries: Day of the Dead Artist Invitational:

Alum and student artists invitational Artists included Chicago fiber artist Michelle Rameriz, DeKalb sculptor Juan Ortiz, DeKalb printmaker/performance artist Ramon Santo.

Early Fall 2010 Exhibitions

Rotunda Gallery: Autumn Leaves: A Century of Fall Fashion

Autumn Leaves

The 20th century examined through its aesthetic, historical, and socio-cultural impact on daily fashion. Autumn Leaves celebrates the particularly rich and sumptuous fabrics and ornamentation of ladies’ fall fashion displayed decade by decade side by side with historic events of the autumn season. Curated by Barbara Cole Peters from her own extensive collection. Barbara Cole Peters will present Curator’s talks on September 9, at 5:15 and 6:00 in the gallery.

August 24 – October 2, 2010, North Gallery: Legacy in Lacquer: A Living Art from Burma


Selections from the NIU Burma Art Collection explored the technique, manufacture and processing, style and design of a medium and art form that has evolved in Burma for over a millennium. Curated by Catherine Raymond, Director, NIU Center for Burma Studies.

August 24 – October 2, 2010, South Galleries: StAGES of Transition


Group show examining the stages of life. Featuring work by Boston-based photographer Nicholas Nixon, DeKalb artists Jeffrey Adams, Karen Brown, Deb Grall, and New York sculptor Christina Bothwell among others . Curated by NIU Art Museum Director Jo Burke.

August 24 – October 2, 2010, Hall Case Galleries: Judith Brotman: Natural Selections


Chicago artist Judith Brotman’s Natural Selections glorifies nature through the leaves she has embellished and marvels at humanity for its endeavors to reach beyond the given.

Late spring 2010 exhibitions explored the impact of the artwork and arts projects of the new Deal Era


April 8 – May 28, 2010

This Great Nation Will Endure
Compelling and memorable images of the Great Depression from the Farm Security Administration (FSA) documentary photography project coordinated by Roy Stryker. Traveling exhibition organized by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum includes photographs and films.


 Coming of Age: The WPA/FAP Graphic Section and the American Print
New Deal prints and graphics spread the word for American unity and survival and put artists to work through the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Co-organized with students enrolled in “Exhibition Interpretation,” a graduate-level Museum Studies course taught by WPA scholar and printmaker Peter Van Ael.

Glass Banner

New Deal Era Images and Objects
Changing exhibits related to the New Deal period including novels on loan from rare Books and Special collections of the University Libraries and glass and ceramic ware of the depression era on loan from local collectors.

January 19 - March 5, 2010 - Pop Culture Exhibition Suite


Midwestern BLAB! 2 
Exhibition focused on the work of midwestern artists Don Colley, Tom Huck, Teresa James, C.J. Pyle and Fred Stonehouse, featured in the acclaimed pages of BLAB! an anthology of sequential and comic art, illustration, painting, and printmaking. Curated by Monte Beauchamp.

Cannonball Press: Root HOG or Die

Mike Houston and Martin Mazorra run the explosive Cannonball Press in Brooklyn, New York and presented their take on the current economic situation.

Video of Cannonball Press at NIU Art Museum

Heroes, Villains and the American Zeitgeist


 Comic books from the Rare Book and Special Collections of the University Libraries. From Captain America to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen these comics demonstrate the telling of morality tales of their time. Curated by Lynne Thomas.

October 27 – December 5, 2009, All Galleries: NIU School of Art Faculty Exhibition

Gallery spaces were filled with recent work by NIU School of Art Faculty including Art History, Art Education and Design displays in the Hall Case Gallery, a video/performance space in the North Gallery; and installations in the turrets off of the South Galleries. This exhibition will highlight the work of over fifty practicing Illinois artists who also share their love of art by teaching at the university.

August 25 – October 10, 2009, Technology and Art Suite:

Rotunda Gallery: Jessica Gondek, Recent Paintings and Prints: Imperfect Models

imperfect models

Solo show of abstract work by Montgomery artist Gondek who begins with compositions created via 3-D modeling programs that are then collaged and overprinted to reinterpret and humanize the computer-generated forms. The intermingling of hand and mechanical approaches in the work prompts a collision between intuition and computation.

Dimensional Figures and Environments: Artists Engaging Technology

engaging technology

Group exhibition of new media including digital printmaking and photography, rapid prototyping, and computer animation used by artists to examine three-dimensional form and space in ways that are at once familiar and strange, real and imaginary, combining fact with fiction. Includes digital photographs by Gloria DeFilipps Brush of Duluth, Minnesota; sculpture, video animations and digital prints by Gerald Guthrie of Champaign, Illinois; and sculpture and computer animations by Elona Van Gent of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Curated by Jessica Gondek, Loyola University, Chicago.

Karen Hanmer: Retro Tech

Chicago artist Karen Hanmer looks back at early forms of technology to see their impact on us. Her History and Technology series of artist books link the creative process of the artist with that of the inventor, explorer or scientist through first person accounts and archival photographs and artifacts. Her installation, Beaut(e) Code, documents interviews with software engineers regarding what they find beautiful or compelling about well-written software and the act of programming.

Summer 2009, Community Windows III
Posters Created for local Cultural Institutions and Museums with support from The DeKalb County Community Foundation.

Participants include:

Ellwood House Museum

Joiner History Room

Just Make It Happen

Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Kishwaukee Valley Art League

Nehring Center Gallery

NIU Anthropology Museum

Stage Coach Players

Shabbona-Lee-Rollo Historical Museum

Sycamore Historical Society & Museum

Late Spring Printmaking Suite - March 24 - May 9, 2009

Jay Ryan: Flock


 Colorful silkscreen posters produced in "The Bird Machine", Ryan's shop where he creates colorful, limited edition silkscreen posters. Driven less by technological fads than by old-fashioned visual inventiveness and hard work, Ryan's designs have become highly sought after worldwide.

images of life and death

Käthe Kollwitz, Images of Death and Life

 A survey of prints by renowned German artist famous for her unmistakable graphic style, empathic humanity and mordant social commentary. Eva Marie Worthington, Director of the Worthington Gallery, Chicago will present a lecture on Saturday April 18 at 2:30 in Altgeld Hall, room 315.

The Mayor of Palookaville


 Hand-printed, hand-bound books by David Johnson, a mid-career artist from Indiana. Johnson's tools are deceptively simple: relif printing, etching and letterpress. His observations are shrewd, compassionate and introspective views of the people around him and the places they inhabit.

Moonlight Cocktails are the Thing

moonlight cocktails

This exhibition summarizes a lifetime of remarkable achievements by printmaker David Driesbach, who weaves rich narratives into complex, colorful and whimsical prints. Co-organized with students enrolled in "Exhibition Interpretation" a graduate level Museum Studies course.

Crossing Thread, Crossing Boundaries:

crossing thread
January 20 - March 6, 2009

Contemporary fiber materials, concepts and process. Curated by Ellen Roth Deutsch and featuring work by: Renie Breskin Adams, Mary Bero, Ilse Bolle, Judith Brotman, Sun Choi, Cat Chow, Susan Etcoff Fraerman, Christine LoFaso, Danny Mansmith, Darrel Morris, Lindsay Obermeyer, Yvette Kaiser Smith, Sharon Wright and Betsy Youngquist.

Push, Pull, Scrub, Drip...Drip...

blue bunny

Exploring "surface" as a particularly unique characteristic of the painting process. Curated by NIU Painting Professor Frank Trankina and featuring Dan Devening, Jim Lutes, Dorothee Joachim, Tracy Miller, and Tim Doud.

School of Polish Posters Continued.

polish posters

Facilitated by NIU Associate Professor of Design, Aleksandra Giza and featuring contemporary Polish Poster design.

Common Ground:

common ground
October 21 - December 6, 2008

A Selection of Contemporary Illinois Ceramics featuring work by: Dan Anderson, Chris Berti, Charity Davis-Woodard, Paul Dresang, Erin Furimsky, Shane Harris, Steven Hill, Doug Jeppesen, Jim Kearns, Ron Kovatch, Yih Wen Kuo, Tyler Lotz, Ron Mazanowski, Kurt Webb and Matt Wilt.

Belief Made Tanible

Through December 6, South Gallery

Aspects of Burmese Buddhism featuring sculptures, textiles, tattoos, and household objects. Curated by Catherine Raymond, Director of the NIU Center for Burma Studies.

Maley/Hand: Journey Toward Healing:

October 21 - December 6, 2008

Poignant collaboration between collage artist Janette Maley and her husband documentary photographer Art Hand that chronicles their experience with Janette's breast cancer.

Global Matrix II

global matrix

A Contemporary Review of Fine Printmaking developed by the Purdue University Galleries. Global Matrix II features artists from 22 countries. North and Rotunda Gallery

Community Windows

 community windows

June through August 2008
A series of posters celebrating local cultural institutions

Participating institutions include: Art Attack, Joseph F. Glidden Homestead & History Center, The Blackwell History of Education Museum and Milan Township One-Room School, DeKalb Area Women’s Center, Gurler Heritage Association, Regional History Center, Sandwich Opera House, Waterman Area Heritage Society and Museum



(NIU Art museum Summer Collection Art Rental program - formerly Art to Lend)

Annual Art to Lend exhibition of artwork from the permanent collection that is available to hang in secure campus offices.

Gabriel Bizen Akagawa: CrateSpace

crate space

March 25 - May 10, 2008,

Rotunda Gallery

NIU students and community members will participate, via a series of workshops with artist Gabriel Bizen Akagawa, to create an installation designed to explore humanity's relationship to the natural world in the 21st century. Art-shipping crates will be reused and recycled with the aim of creating work that reverberates on both personal and social levels.

A wikisite for the show is here.

Peggy Macnamara: Nature Paintings


March 25 - May 10, 2008

North Gallery

Large-scale watercolor paintings of indigenous flora and fauna as depicted by the Field Museum of Natural History's Artist-in-Residence, Peggy Macnamara.

Specimens and Studies

specimens and studies

March 25 - May 10, 2008
Hall Case Galleries

Scientific specimens and taxidermied studies coincide with our spring nature-themed exhibitions.

Examining Audubon


April 8 - May 10, 2008

South Galleries

Co-organized with Museum Studies students enrolled in Art 556, “Exhibition Interpretation,” this exhibition will focus on issues of connoisseurship, museum presentation and preservation as demonstrated through the many editions of John James Audubon prints made over the years.

"Adventures with John James Audubon" program with storyteller Brian "Fox" Ellis: 5pm on April 8 in Altgeld 315.

Ayomi Yoshida: Yedoensis


January 15 - March 7, 2008

Rotunda Gallery

Contemporary Japanese artist Ayomi Yoshida, fourth generation in the Yoshida printmaking dynasty, will be in residency for approximately one month installing a work that will both contrast and augment the Ukiyo-e and Sôsaku Hanga displays in the other galleries. Her large-scale site-specific installations explore the physical aspects of the woodblock printmaking process. "Prunus x yedoensis" is the scientific name for a cultivated yoshino cherry tree. According to the artist, "Cherry trees seem to burst into blossom allat once, and after a day or two, drop thier petals just as quickly. In Japan they have long been emblematic of life's evanescence."

This exhibition, along with the accompanying exhibits of prints and objects from the Richard F. Grott Family, is part of the project "National/International Conciousness in Japan: Self, Place and Society During the Ninteenth, Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries."

A publication, supported in part by the Japan Foundation, is forthcoming.

The Gallery Notes for this exhibition are available in PDF form.
Page 1Page 2

Ayomi has created a blogsite for this exhibition.

Revisiting Modern Japanese Prints:


Selected Works from the Richard F. Grott Family Collection
January 15 - March 7, 2008
South Galleries

Mid-twentieth century Sôsaku Hanga (creative print movement) prints from the Museum's Richard F. Grott Family Collection will be examined thematically to explore Japanese concepts of nationalism and internationalism in the modern era.

This exhibition, along with the accompanying exhibits of pottery and ukiyo-e prints, is part of the project "National/International Conciousness in Japan: Self, Place and Society During the Ninteenth, Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries" and honors the generous donation of artwork from the Richard F. Grott Family to the NIU Art Museum.

The exhibitions were co-curated by NIU Assistant Professor of Art History Helen Nagata and NIU Professor Emerita Helen Merrritt with the assistance of NIU graduate and undergraduate students participating in Art History and Museum Studies courses.

The Gallery Notes for this exhibition are available in PDF form.
Page 1Page 2

exhibition catalogue

Sponsored in part by a Venture Grant from the NIU Foundation, the James and Helen Merritt Foundation of the NIU School of Art, the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, Friends of the NIU Art Museum and the ArtsFund 21.

Ukiyo-e Prints from the Richard F. Grott Family Collection


January 15 - March 7, 2008

North Gallery

Highlighting a recent gift of Japanese prints to the NIU Art Museum, 19th century Ukiyo-e prints from the Richard F. Grott Family will be examined thematically. Co-curated by Helen Nagata and Helen Merritt.

The Gallery Notes for this exhibition are available in PDF form.
Page 1Page 2

A separate Gallery Note sheds light on the Ukiyo-e printmaking process.
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Japanese Pottery and Other Objects from the Richard F. Grott Family Collection

hall cases

January 15 - March 7, 2008

Hallcase Gallery

Objects such as Bizen and Oribe ceramics, iron teapots and a wooden carving augment the exhibitions in the North and South Galleries. The Gallery Notes for this exhibition are available in PDF form.
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2007 Exhibitions

photo from exhibition NIU School of Art Faculty Biennial
October 30 - December 8, 2007
All Altgeld Galleries

All four gallery spaces will be filled with recent work by NIU School of Art faculty in a variety of studio media including painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, fiber, jewelry, metalsmithing, and design, as well as research and publications in art education, art history, foundations and design.
A related series of lectures is now listed on our events page

Visit the School of Art's website.

photo from exhibition Body Politic
Contemporary artists explore the social
and political ramifications of identity
August 28 - October 13, 2007
South Galleries

What we think about when we contemplate our corporeal selves, and what others assume about our identity based on their observations, make for unpredictable and fertile territory, out of which can spring myriad allusions and interpretations, including this exhibition.

Artists include Molly CarterMary DritschelAnni Holm,Coke Wisdom O'NealKaren Savage and Jennifer Yorke.

brochure is available.
photo from exhibition
photo from exhibition

photo from exhibition Dafatir:
Contemporary Iraqi Book Art
August 28 - October 13, 2007
Hall Case and North Galleries 

A national traveling exhibition of handmade artist's books that celebrate the persistence of the artistic impulse in a nation troubled by tyranny and war. Curated by Nada Shabout at the University of North Texas, the exhibition presents work by seventeen artists spanning three generations.

More photos and information are here.
photo from exhibition

photo from exhibition Some Enchanted Evening
100 Years of Evening Gowns
(1900 - 1999)
August 28 - October 13, 2007
Rotunda Gallery

An aesthetic, historical and socio-cultural look at exquisite designer gowns from the extraordinary collection of Barbara Cole Peters. Curated by Peters with extensive written commentary which will examine cultural developments of the twentieth century decade by decade.

brochure is available.
photo from exhibition

photo from exhibition Community Windows
a series of posters celebrating local cultural institutions
May 14 - August 11, 2007
Hall Case Gallery

Participants included: DeKalb Municipal BandEgyptian TheatreKiswaukee Valley Heritage Society, Malta Historical Society, Marie Louise Olmstead Memorial MuseumMidwest Museum of Natural HistoryNIU Community School for the Arts, and the Sandwich Historical Society.

We would like to thank the DeKalb County Community Foundation for support of this project.

photo from exhibition High & Low: Chicago Hand Bookbinders
March 20 - April 21, 2007
Hall Case Galleries

Touring exhibition of the Chicago Hand Bookbinders 2007 annual thematic group show.
This was the 2nd exhibition in our series exploring artist-made books
(the first being 2006's Ars Libris). 

photo from exhibition The Uncertainty Principle:
Drawing in the Golden Age of Worry
March 20 - May 12, 2007
South Galleries

The intimacy and immediacy of drawing makes it an ideal medium for quick response to the groundlessness and uncertainty that we find ourselves surrounded by in this “Golden Age of Worry”. 
Artists included: Charles La Belle, Shona MacDonald, Judith Burns Mc Crae, Audrey Niffenegger, Geoffrey Todd Smith, Harrison Storms, Deb Sokolow, Stas Orlovski and Chris Uphues.
Curated by Karen Brown.
Poster available.
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photo from exhibition Mark Arctander: Surveillence
February 8 - March 24, 2007
Rotunda Gallery

10-year retrospective of Chicago artist Mark Arctander’s work with found objects.  
Arctander humorously manipulates ordinary objects through contextual change to deliver an out-of-the-ordinary visual experience and new insight.

Brochure available.
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photo from exhibition The Heart of Africa
January 16 - March 9, 2007
Hall Case Galleries and North Gallery

Provides a glimpse of the Congo through palm fiber (raffia) presentation mats and clothing, ceremonial knives and carved wooden boxes, cups, and ancestral figures. Presented in collaboration with the NIU Antropology Museum.

photo from exhibition Beggars and Choosers: Motherhood is Not a Class Privilege in America 
January 16 - February 17, 2007
South Gallery

Sixty images by 47 of the leading documentary photographers in the United States. 
Beggars and Choosers offers a strong, positive image of mothers that society may not deem quite “proper” - women considered by some to be too young, too poor, too gay, too disabled, too non-white or too foreign.

Curated by Rickie Solinger and traveled by Wake Up Arts, this exhibition aims to stimulate new thinking and conversation about motherhood, public policy, media, and politics as well as to present an outstanding set of photographs.
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photo from exhibition From Heaven to Earth: A Ritual to the 37 Nats
September 21 - December 16, 2006
North Gallery

The first American exhibition devoted to the popular Burmese Buddhist ceremony, the “Ritual to the Thirty Seven Nats” will explore the history and practice of this intriguing cultural phenomenon through a display of seventeen Protector Spirit statues on loan from the Burma Art Collection at NIU. 
Programming in conjunction with the Center for Burma Studies

photo from exhibition Blue Sky, Black Earth: 
Meditations on the Meeting of Sky and Land
Oct. 26 - Dec. 16, 2006
Rotunda and Hallway Case Galleries

Group exhibition of abstract and representational Illinois landscapes which focus formally and metaphysically on the interplay of big sky and flat land. 

Artists include: Anya Antonovych, Jay Paul Bell, James D. Butler, Michael Dubina, Ulrich Eigner, Harold Gregor, Michael Johnson, Andrew John Liccardo, Jeffery A. Little, Charlotte Rollman, Alice Vrazo-Delzer and James Winn.
Artists’ journals & sketches, working drawings and photos, and plein air studies were also on display.
Co-curated with Douglas Johnson, Executive Director of the McLean County Art Center in Bloomington, IL, where the exhibit traveled in early 2007.
Brochure available.
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photo from exhibition Location Uncertain
August 29 - November 18, 2006
South Galleries

9 Contemporary Berlin and Chicago artists follow up on an initial international collaborative exchange called “Location Matters” exhibited at Mbassy Gallery in Berlin in January, 2006. 
In this second exhibition venue, the artists are temporarily (and temporally) brought together again to share their ongoing dialogue, collaborative strategies, and imposed limits and directives for creating new work “together” across cultural and geographical spaces. 
Artists include Berliners Jan Bauer, Werner GasserHelga Natz, Karina Nimmerfall and Daniela von Nayhauss, and Chicagoans Karen Lebergott, Tom Denlinger, Michael Piazza, and Mary Patten. 
Catalogue available.

There was a parallel exhibition at Lake Forest College from Aug. 31 - October 8, 2006;
and another at Beacon Street Gallery in Chicago during the month of September.
photo from exhibition
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photo from exhibition Sordid and Sacred: Beggars in Rembrandt’s Etchings from the John Villarino Collection
August 29 - October 14, 2006
Rotunda Gallery

Rarely-seen series of etchings by the seventeenth-century Dutch master unrivaled in his keen
and sensitive observations of humanity.
Organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.
Catalogue available.   
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photo from exhibition Regional Illinois Potters I: Northwest
August 28 - September 30, 2006
Hall Case Galleries

First exhibition in an annual series highlighting contemporary ceramics from various regions in Illinois. 
Artists included Ken Bichell and Stephanie O’Shaughnessy of the Menominee Wood Kiln, Charles Fach, Kent Henderson, Bill Farrell and Delores Fortuna of Galena, and Paul Eshelman and Adrienne Seagraves of Elizabeth, Illinois. 

photo from exhibition Contents of the DeKalb Centennial Time Capsule
May 24 - through August 11, 2006 
Hall Case Galleries

Buried during DeKalb's Centennial in 1956 and recently exhumed for the Sesquicentennial, the time capsule is a treasure trove of photographs and artifacts of life in the mid-twentieth century.
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photo from exhibition POP!
Contemporary Textiles influenced by Popular Culture
March 28 - May 13, 2006
South Galleries
Group exhibition featuring humorous, poignant and critical works by Susie Brandt, Judith Brotman, Amanda Browder, Bonnie Ward Klehr, Jeff Hand, Christine LoFaso, Ai Kijima, Mark Newport, and Karen Reimer.

Curated by Christine LoFaso, Associate Professor, Fine Arts Studio, Fiber, NIU.

Catalogue essay by Shannon Stratton.
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photo from exhibition Shot in the Arm
March 21 - May 13, 2006
North Gallery
Exciting new additions to the NIU Art Museum collection of original prints include works by Endi Poskovic, Bill Fick, Michael Ferris, Tom Huck and Karla Hackenmiller, all artists who have participated in recent years as Visiting Artists at the NIU School of Art Printmaking Department.    
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photo from exhibition Ars Libris
March 21 - May 13, 2006
Hallway Gallery

Artist's books from 
the collection of 
Adrian R. Tio

photo from exhibition roll-run-hit-run-roll-tick-tick-
January 17 - May 13, 2006
Rotunda Gallery
The sculpture/sound exhibition by Korean-born Chicago artist Jin Soo Kim will return to Illinois after having traveled the country for three years. Fittingly, the work deals with travel and displacement. The installation, consisting of eight steel tunnels and an audio element featuring layered sounds of ticking clocks, breaking light bulbs and clanging plates from railroad tracks, emphasizes the physical and psychological nature of travel, experience and memory.

Brochure is available with an essay by Dominic Molon.

The DeKalb venue changed monthly with the additional
installation of workshop creations exploring similar themes.
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photo from exhibition February 2006 Workshop participants:

Stephanie Bruton
Jen Evans
Yen-Hua Lee
T.J. Lemansky
April Macatangay
Dan Mattingly
Sherry Patterson
Daniel Prow
Michelle Ramirez
John F. Regan
Mike Taylor
photo from exhibition
March 2006 workshop participants:

Christine Aguirre
Timothy Dwyer
Kristin Kleckler
Mike Knierim
Neen Koebbe
Yen-Hua Lee
April Macatangay
Marcie Oakes
Gwen Rodig-Brown
Jess Witte
photo from exhibition
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April 2006 workshop paricipants:

Melissa Bruck
Kristine Chisamore
Mike Knierim
Yen-Hua Lee
April Macatangay
Bianca McGraw
Rosie Presti
Scott Stier
Kimberly Strom
photo from exhibition
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photo from exhibition
Joan Truckenbrod: Estuarine Spaces
South Galleries
January 17 - March 11, 2006
A solo show of video and multimedia installations by noted Illinois artist and leading pioneer of digital art, Joan Truckenbrod.
Her work probes the threshold between the physical world and the virtual world in an immersive undulating manner that speaks of ritual and transformation.
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photo from exhibition
necessary angel
North Gallery
January 17 - March 11, 2006
A selection of hand-printed broadsides from the Chicago Poetry Center featuring original visual art and previously unpublished poems.

photo from exhibition Bob Emser:
Shadow Drawing
Rotunda and North Galleries
August 22 - December 10, 2005
Exhibition of recent work by internationally known Illinois sculptor Bob Emser. Creating both small scale and large outdoor sculpture, Emser deals with each piece's internal structure and how that structure is supported or becomes visible on the exterior.
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photo from exhibition Confessions of a Dadaist:
The Era of Existence, 1979-2005, Part II:
The Imagery of Helene Smith-Romer
South Galleries
August 22 - December 10, 2005:
This mid-career retrospective of Chicago artist Helene Smith-Romer expands and investigates the Dadaist approach to life from a contemporary feminist perspective.  In her collages, artist's books, writings, and as curator of the 'I Due Art 4 You Museum', she humorously explores and evolves the traditional Dadaist ideology and employment of technology. Smith-Romer challenges both the visual surface and the viewer as she simultaneously orchestrates and balances elements of incongruity from the unconscious versus conscious, chaos versus order, the copy versus the original, found objects versus mass produced items, fabrication versus truth, and chance compared to randomness.  
Catalogue with essays by Janina Ciezadlo and James Hugunin.
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photo from exhibition
(Super Spatial): 
An installation by Thomas Skomski
Rotunda Gallery
March 31 - May 14, 2005
Skomski's artistic involvement with water began as an undergraduate student when he placed sculptural forms into the lagoon at Northern Illinois University. Since then he has expanded his investigations to include the unique properties of water such as light refraction and fluid dynamics. His current work examines the presence of wave action in all phenomena.
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photo from exhibition
Unseen/Unnoticed/Unspoken: Duplicity of Word and Image
North Gallery
March 31 - May 14, 2005
Recently back from a Fulbright Scholarship in Estonia, Illinois artist and NIU alum Rebecca Keller exhibited both the assemblages she created there and new work inspired by her trip.

photo from exhibition
The World of
Burmese Buddhism
South Galleries
October 23, 2004 - May 14, 2005
Curated by Catherine Raymond, Director of the Center for Burma Studies at NIU, this exhibition of Buddhist artifacts dating from the eleventh through twentieth centuries will explore facets of Burmese Buddhist Art and religious practice.
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photo from exhibition
Misleading Trails
Rotunda and North Galleries
January 18 - March 13, 2005
Artists Enrique Chagoya, Xiaoze Xie, Hai Bo, Dan Mills, Hong Hao, Ai Weiwei and Vernon Fisher create provocative art filled with layered images and information, leading the viewer away from their initial response, and down numerous trails full of unexpected meanings.
This exhibition was organized by the artists, China Art Archives and Warehouse, Bejing, and the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University.
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Highlights from the Permanent Collection
Rotunda and North Galleries
Oct 18 - Dec 12, 2004
This exhibition showcased some of the finest pieces in the NIU Art Museum collection including prints by "old masters" such as Durer, Rembrandt, Hogarth, Daumier and Vuillard, tentieth century artists like Josef Albers, Karel Appel, Hans Bellmer, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, Fernand Leger, Joan Miro, Henry Moore and Man Ray; Chicago favorites like Ed Paschke, Robert Lostutter, Phyllis Bramson and Ivan Albright, and contempoary figures such as Ida Applebroog, Robert Arneson, James Rosenquist, David Salle and Donald Sultan.
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Altgeld Hall was closed for major renovations between 1998 and 2004.

View exhibits in the former Altgeld space, originally an auditorium on the second floor.