Upcoming Events


We anticipate presenting virtual pre-recorded and live digital experiences. Please regularly check back for new content and instructions on how to join in and watch from home!

Virtual Events

I Yell Because I Care, He Needs Me on instruments real, and imagined Mike Rea and Friends Perform

One of the most talked about pieces in the NIU Art Museum’s NIU School of Art and Design Faculty Continuum is a sculpture of a piano, “Tight Notes and Black Holes, CTINH (Conceptualize there is no Heaven” created by Mike Rea, associate professor of sculpture. While it’s not a fully functioning piano, it didn't stop Rea and a couple dozen of his friends from forming a “band” and performing Harry Nilsson’s “He Needs Me.”

I Yell Because I Care, He Needs Me, is a site-specific performative installation, which combines our desire to see Rea’s sculptural works engaged in the gallery while straddling the virtual environment of digital interactions we are currently immersed in. Performing 1970s singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson’s “He Needs Me” from the soundtrack of Popeye (1980) directed by Robert Altman, Rea combines alternative performances with actual musicians, recorded remotely in the homes and spaces of the various participants. The “band” members are NIU alumni, current students, artists and musicians Rea has cultivated since his own time at NIU as a student in the late 90s.

Mike Rea has conflated the notions of working hard and playing hard for over two decades with his bombastic wooden sculptures. Whether as conventional sculptures standing alone, or as props in interactive installations and performances, these often-massive objects reflect a culture of humor, violence, vulgarity, and sensitivity.

This program is sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council Agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Northern Illinois University Arts and Culture Fee with additional support from the Division of Information Technology and University Marketing and Institutional Communications.

Art from Home: A Personal Collection

Peter Olson, Assistant Director and Curator of the Art Museum takes you on a journey of his own collection from home in these short video tours. View them on the College of Visual and Performing Arts' Arts Blog.

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NIU Art Museum
Altgeld Hall 116

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Gallery Hours

Galleries reopen Tuesday, January 12 with limited hours and masked, distanced, timed entries.

Open to the public:
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Tuesday
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Wednesday 
Noon - 6 p.m. Friday
Noon - 3 p.m. Saturday; and by limited appointment.
Closed university holidays and between exhibitions.