Past Exhibitions


2018 Exhibitions

Transparency Exhibition Suite

Transparent Factors in Form and Content
November 15 - February 15, 2019 (closed university holidays)

Transparent Factors presents literal and figurative interpretations and investigations along the spectrum of transparency, translucency and opacity. Artists in the exhibition explore the capacity of “transparent” mediums like air, water, light and glass to clarify and reveal, or to obscure and distort (sometimes simultaneously). Some artists see visual phenomena as metaphors for the openness, disclosure and accessibility (or lack thereof) in practices of wielding authority, making decisions or disseminating information.

Work for Transparent Factors was selected by invitation, national call for entries, and from the NIU Art Museum Collections. Reviewed and initially selected by the NIU Art Museum Exhibition Advisory Committee. Final curation, selection of pieces and installation layout developed by Peter B. Olson, Assistant Director, Curator and Collections Manager, NIU Art Museum.

Transparent Factors in Form and Content
Vanishing Art from Myanmar:
The Buddhist Reverse Glass Painting Tradition
November 15 - February 15, 2019 (closed university holidays)

Explores the complex Buddhist tradition as it is revealed through the work of some artists from the last village in Burma dedicated to the reverse glass painting technique and tradition known since the art form’s introduction to the region in the 18th century.

Curated by Dr. Catherine Raymond, Director, Center for Burma Studies and Professor of Art History and presented in conjunction with the International Symposium "Looking Through The Glass: The Asian Reverse Glass Painting Traditions” on November 16, 2018.

Raymond’s research was funded by a Rakow Grant from the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.

Vanishing Art from Myanmar: The Buddhist Reverse Glass Painting Tradition
Ambrotypes: Photographs on Glass
November 15 - February 15, 2019 (closed university holidays)

Explores the original, unique photographic images produced on glass plates during the 19th century.

The ambrotypes on view here are examples of a short-lived photographic process widely popular by the 1860s, but by the end of the American Civil War they were replaced by the tintype and later paper photographs. Ambrotypes offered a simpler development process using less expensive glass plates that were easier to produce with faster processing times which effectively made studio portraits much more affordable.

Ambrotypes: Photographs on Glass

SWEET, Golden and Delicious…"Faculty-select and Museum-certified" NIU Studio and Design Alumni Artists (August 28 - October 19, 2018)

An invitational exhibition of studio and design alumni artists recommended by current and former faculty, SWEET, Golden and Delicious… presents recent work by six dozen artists from five decades representing eleven areas of visual study. Artists needed to be actively practicing and showing their work. Works on view represent a variety of approaches to photography, sculpture, fiber, jewelry and metalwork, printmaking, illustration, ceramics, painting, drawing, graphic design, and time arts. In addition, there is a sound piece, and video documentation of an artist creating a lithograph, and of a large public art piece being made.

SWEET, Golden and Delicious…"Faculty-select and Museum-certified" NIU Studio and Design Alumni Artists

Imagery and Icons: Former Tenure and Tenure-track Faculty (September 18 - October 19, 2018)

As part of the alumni exhibitions and anniversary celebrations this exhibition showcases work from former faculty in an intimate, salon style exhibition. Participating artists at this time include: Renie Adams, Walter Ball, Jay Paul Bell, Richard Beard, Dorothea Bilder, Robert Bornheutter, David Bower, Karen Brown, David Driesbach, Yale Factor, Larry Gregory, Andrew Liccardo, Ben Mahmoud, Ron Mazanowski, Philip Melnick, Ashley Nason, Mark A. Nelson, Jack Olson, Charlotte Rollman, John Rooney, Lee Sido, Doug Stewart, Ed Syrek, and Bruce White.

Imagery and Icons: Former Tenure and Tenure-track Faculty

South Asian Traditions and New Directions Exhibition Suite

Reclaimed Baggage (March 27 - May 18, 2018)

Migration and globalization play a pivotal role on the formation of identity. Despite overwhelming pressure on women to be the transmitters and upholders of culture, migration is an opportunity for reinventing the self as they navigate their new cultural landscape. Group exhibition of artwork by South Asian American women curated by Nirmal Raja.

Reclaimed Baggage
Shaurya Kumar: All We are Breaking are Stones (April 5 - May 18, 2018)

An exhibition of work by Chicago artist Shaurya Kumar who reflects on loss, destruction, iconoclasm and marginalization. The raw materiality of his installations combined with the representation of architectural forms suggest ruin but are layered with notions of transformation and narrative.

Shaurya Kumar: All We are Breaking are Stones

Across Space and Time: Cultural Perseverance of Indian Heritage (April 5 - May 18, 2018)
Curated by NIU graduate students in the Interdisciplinary Museum Studies Certificate program, the exhibition illustrated facets of art and Indian spiritual life in both India and America. From traditional miniature paintings to modern takes on traditional dress, Across Space and Time follows Indian cultural practices from Rajasthan to Illinois.
Across Space and Time: Cultural Persverance of Indian Heritage

NIU School of Art and Design Faculty Exhibition (November 16 - December 15, 2017 and January 16 - February 23, 2018)

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

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.

Objectifying the Photograph (August 29 - October 20, 2017)

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.

Reflections: Intimate Portraits of Iconic African Americans by Terrence A. Reese (August 29 - October 20, 2017)

Reflectionsis 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.

Vintage Cameras: A Snapshot of Photographic Technology (August 29 - November 12, 2017)

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.

Hand in Hand: The Visual Arts as a Means of Social and Political Propaganda, Protest and Commentary (March 28 - May 20, 2017)

“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.

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

(RE)PRESENTING GUATEMALA (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.

Kaleidoscope of Burmese Art: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Center for Burma Studies (August 23 - November 18, 2016)

  • Journey Through Burmese Art
  • Masterpieces from the Burma Art Collection at NIU
  • From Tradition to Modernity: Art from Myanmar as Viewed by Contemporary Burmese Artists
  • Donors and Collectors: A Legacy

Art Deco Exhibition Suite (April 7 - May 20, 2016)

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