Welcome to the UK Art Museum

The mission of the UK Art Museum, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,800 objects including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the Art Museum presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from its permanent collection. 

landscape artwork in mine shaft

Hermann Kätelhön: Das Werk Arbeit

For more than two decades—from 1918 to 1940—Herman Kätelhön worked in and around Essen, Germany, making images of coal mining, steel works, and the growing impact of industrialization on the landscape. The striking graphic images—woodcuts, etchings, and lithographs—testify to his virtuosity as a printmaker, as well as his determination to make a portrait of the Ruhr region and the laborers whose skill and toil were essential to the effort. A literal translation of Das Werk Arbeit—Work [about] Work—does not capture the essence of its meaning, which comprises the notion of both industry and labor. There are moving are portraits and claustrophobic scenes of  miners underground as well as accurate depictions of ground level structures in the Ruhr, the center of Germany’s industrial might in both world wars. The portfolio was donated to UK by Robert Estill, who served as chairman of UK/US Coal Control Group, that oversaw coal mining in the Ruhr region after…

black and white landscape

Intersections: Gifts from Henry V. Heuser, Jr.

Intersections gives a very small taste of the wonderful photographs that are part of a recent gift from Henry V. Heuser, Jr. Work by Michael Burns, Keith Carter, Mark Klett, and David Plowden examine nature and the landscape mediated by the impact of human existence. Imagery ranges from the contours of cultivated fields, to the engineering marvels of bridges spanning rivers, children interacting with the natural world, and serene landscapes of the American West, marked by contemporary life. 

Image: Michael Burns, Near Pullman, Washington, 1976, gelatin silver print. Collection of the UK Art Museum, gift of Henry V. Heuser, Jr., Louisville, KY. 
two people looking at each other art


Unlike catalogs or monographs that showcase artworks created in another medium, the term “artists’ books” refers to publications that have been conceived as artworks in their own right. They are often created to share ideas in an accessible form that is inexpensive to produce and easy to distribute. These works often combine image and text, and use shape, color, sequence, and juxtaposition as essential parts of the reading/viewing experience. This exhibition features a range of bookworks from the Museum’s collection, by artists including Clifford Amyx, John Baldessari, Jackie Ferrara, Jenny Holtzer, Alan Kaprow, and Sol LeWitt.

Image: John Baldessari, Brutus Killed Caesar (detail), 1976, black-and-white photo reproduction on paper, spiral bound. Collection of the UK Art Museum, purchase: Art Museum Funds. 
Blue vase

Treasures from the Ancient Middle East

A collection of richly decorated bowls, cups, bottles, and tiles that date back to the sixth or seventh century highlight this exhibition. The work is now described as Iranian, was once labeled Persian, and represents a range of cultures in locales that include present-day Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, and Turkey. Many of the ceramic vessels date from the ninth- to thirteenth-century, a period often described as a golden age in the region, which saw a flowering of literature, poetry, music, and the arts. They were a gift by Alice Heeramaneck following the death of her husband, Nisli Heeramaneck, a prominent collector of Asian art. 

Image: Iranian, Lotus Bottle, 12-13th century, glazed and molded fritware. Collection of the UK Art Museum, gift of Mrs. Alice Heeramaneck.
landscape portrait

The Exquisite Landscape

Curated by Lina Tharsing

For centuries, artists have sought to capture the wonder of nature, making variously realistic depictions or choosing to abstract and stylize the elements for their specific goals.   

This exhibition includes a selection of paintings, drawings, and prints from the Museum’s collection, that posit the landscape as a site of inspiration and awe. Dating from the 1780s to 1986, they feature dramatic lighting, resplendent trees and fields, and qualities of harmony and sublimity. 

Lina Tharsing is a Lexington-based artist whose landscape and still life paintings are often infused with a quality of transcendent light. Her works have…

two people black and white photograph

Near and Far: Recent Gifts of Photography

Near and Far celebrates the wonder and scope of recent donations of photography to the Museum, some bringing us in contact with a wider world, some with connections close to home, many offering joy. Work ranges from a portrait of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela on his first day of freedom after twenty-seven years in jail, to lovers in Paris, to demonstrators at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in January 2017. Photographs by Kristin Capp, Larry Fink, Cal Kowal, and Peter Turnley are featured. 

Image: Peter Turnley, A soul music dance club, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA, 1973, archival pigment print. Collection of the UK Art Museum, gift of Ramesh G. and Jayshree A. Patel. 
orange clouds painting


Josef Albers, Jake Berthot, Norman Bluhm, Kiah Celeste, Ed Clark, Jeff Conefry, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, David Diao, Adrienne Dixon, Friedel Dzubas, Remo Michael Farruggio, Tony Feher, Keltie Ferris, Sam Francis, Sam Gilliam, Joanne Greenbaum, Stephen Greene, Peter Halley, Hans Hofmann, Ralph Humphrey, Scott Ingram, Alfred Jensen, David Kaiser, Sol Lewitt, Chris Martin, Fritz Ruoff, Judy Rushin-Knopf, Jackie Saccoccio, Judith Scott, Alan Uglow, Wendy White, Jack Whitten

From our own skin tones to the clothes we wear, the sky outside and the food we eat, traffic signals and currency, pride flags and the screen savers on our devices—color is everywhere and is always affecting us. As a subject of study and a factor in creativity, color has engaged scientists, philosophers, writers, designers, and—of course, artists—for centuries.

Coloring is an exhibition that features primarily abstract works of painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture, whose dominant condition is…

graphic art

Template Days: Avantika Bawa & May Tveit

This exhibition brings together two mid-career artists who both utilize and improvise with readymade industrial shapes and materials. They work serially, each using templates to develop bodies of sculpture and printmaking that combine a rigorous investigation of form and process. While each artist has used riotous color in previous productions, the works on view here are decidedly monochromatic.

Following her site-specific installation, A Pink Scaffold in the Rann (2019-20), which located a large construction of surprisingly painted metal scaffolding in the vast salt desert near an international border in India, Avantika Bawa turned to a much smaller scale and new technologies. Using 3D printers, she has fabricated maquette-sized stackable scaffolds in bronze steel and produced subtle embossings on paper, which use vertical and horizontal bars in distinct formations that shift between presence and absence.

For several years, May Tveit has created complex…

Created 08/13/2021
Last Updated 08/19/2021