American University Museum
The American University Museum is located in the Katzen Arts Center at the American University in Washington, DC. It is a three-story, 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m 2) museum and sculpture garden located within the university’s Katzen Arts Center. The region’s largest university facility for exhibiting art, the museum’s permanent collection highlights the holdings of the Katzen and Watkins collection. Rotating exhibitions emphasize regional, national, and international contemporary art. The Katzen Arts Center, named for Washington area benefactors Dr. and Mrs. Cyrus Katzen, brings visual and performing arts programs at AU into one space. Designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in the arts, the Katzen includes the museum, the Abramson Family Recital Hall, the Studio Theatre, a dance studio, an electronics studio, rehearsal space, and classrooms.

The 130,000-square-foot (12,000 m 2) Katzen complex was designed by Einhorn, Yaffee and Prescott Architecture and Engineering. Constructed of French limestone and precast concrete, the Katzen offers such distinctive features as a sky-lit rotunda that is 90 feet (27 m) in diameter, ramps to connect classrooms with exhibition areas, and window-walls framing several landscape views. The lead architect/designer was Jamshid Sepehri; Principal in Charge was Steven Kleinrock.

AU Museum's Permanent Collections
The Katzen Collection is a private collection from Dr. Cyrus and Myrtle Katzen. It was donated to the university in 2005. The collection comprises more than 300 artworks, including paintings, prints, drawings, and sculpture. The Katzen Collection has a several focuses: Pop Art, Washington art, and glass sculpture. Larry Rivers, Red Grooms, and Roy Lichtenstein are prominent in the collection, as well as Washington artists Gene Davis, Sam Gilliam, and Bill Willis. The Katzen Collection also contains three large bronze sculptures by Nancy Graves, one of which is a working clock. This extraordinary gift was inspired by Myrtle Katzen's love of the art department which she discovered through taking classes at the university. She found great support in painting with a group of alumni artists in the AU studios. Cyrus Katzen, who graduated from Georgetown University's School of Dentistry in 1941, became a supporter of the university through his close friendship with President Benjamin Ladner and Vice President Don Myers. "The art in our collection makes you smile and laugh," Cy Katzen says. The Watkins Collection which contains more than 4400 works of art, including paintings, prints, drawings, and sculpture focuses on twentieth century art, with a special emphasis on Washington area art produced since the 1940s. The Watkins Collection was created in 1945 as a memorial to C. Law Watkins, the former chair of the Department of Art at American University.The collection has grown through generous donations from collectors and judicious management by the studio art faculty. William Calfee, Ben Summerford, Luciano Penay, and Ron Haynie, all former members of the painting faculty, provided direction and care for a collection that has grown from 25 original donations to over 4,500 artworks today.

Significant exhibitions
  • November 6 - December 30, 2007 - Abu Ghraib . The painter Fernando Botero created a series featuring uncompromising, graphic images that expressed his outrage at the United States-led abuse and torture of Iraqi insurgent prisoners. The Paris-based Botero, known for his exaggeratedly rotund figures in benign social satires, unveiled these controversial works in Europe in 2005. The American University Museum was the first museum venue in the United States of the Abu Ghraib series. While a departure from Botero's usual subjects, the series related to work he did that portrayed violence by the drug cartel in his native Colombia. After reading official reports about Abu Ghraib, he concentrated in his works on the suffering and dignity of the victims.
  • 2008 - Noche Crist: A Romanian Revelation. Noche Crist was Washington art’s unofficial doyenne of decadence for almost 60 years. Born in Romania in 1909, Noche moved to Washington, D.C., in 1947 after World War II. She lived and worked there until her death in 2004. A re-creation of her boudoir was one of the installations featured in the 2008 posthumous retrospective.

General information
Museum Hours Open Tuesday - Sunday 11-4pm The museum is also open one hour prior to performing arts events in the Katzen. Museum admission is free. Director and Curator Jack Rasmussen, PhD Curator's Blog Metro The nearest Metrorail stop is the Tenleytown-AU station (Red Line). Walk west on Nebraska Avenue (about 20 minutes) to the campus, or take the M4 or N2 Metrobus to Ward Circle.