Welcome to the UK Art Museum

The University of Kentucky Art Museum, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, promotes the understanding and appreciation of art from diverse cultures and historical periods, providing meaningful encounters for audiences of all ages. Through our temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and permanent collection of approximately 5000 objects, we are a resource for the campus community and a cultural destination for citizens of the Commonwealth and beyond.  Our Free Admission policy removes any financial obstacle that might stand in the way of opportunities for contemplation and connection.

We are proud to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, meeting standards for excellence and professional practices.

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…

person sitting in green room in front of art

Sally Davies: New Yorkers

Artist Sally Davies is well known for tightly composed and keenly observed images capturing the visual rhythms of Manhattan, but in her recent series, New Yorkers, she ventures behind closed doors to make portraits of long-time city dwellers inside their often tiny and idiosyncratic apartments. Some spaces are spare and elegant; others are jam-packed with curated collections ranging from art and books to refrigerator magnets and Pez dispensers. Dogs and cats abound and claw-foot tubs in the kitchen are not unusual. Her book of the series was released on April 1 and is already in a second printing after attracting international attention and selling out in two days.

Davies’s work has been featured in a variety of publications including the book Masters of Street Photography (2019), the New York Times, the Guardian in Great Britain, and the Huffington Post and Slate online. Her photographs are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of the…

general on horse rainbow artwork


Some printmakers have spent their entire lives creating reproductions of the paintings or sculptures created by others. Many artists have been inspired by famed predecessors whose work influenced their own in a variety of ways. It was once common to commission portraits memorializing loved ones—or famous figures—following their deaths. This three-gallery exhibition drawn from the permanent collection explores these and more meanings of the word “after” in the world of art. 

The exhibition includes etchings, engravings, and lithographs made after the work of such luminaries as Flemish artist Peter Paul Ruben, known for his Baroque exuberance; the American painter Gilbert Stuart, known for multiple portraits of George Washington; or John Constable, the Romantic English landscapist. Prints…

Image of Tom Phillips' illustration entitled, "A Humument"

Bookworks II

This exhibition offers another look at many of the unique “artists’ books” in our permanent collection—publications that have been conceived as artworks in their own right. These books were produced in a range of sizes and shapes, and often combine image and text in lively ways. Their physical aspects are essential to the reading/viewing experience.  

Artists associated with Conceptual Art, Minimalism, and Performance Art traditions often found that bookmaking offered them a way to share ideas in an accessible form that was inexpensive to produce and easy to disseminate. These works typically had their own network of distribution, given or mailed to peers or professionals in the field, or sold at art bookstores. This was understood as a democratic ideal that challenged the elitism of the gallery system; and yet today, they participate in the same art and commerce reality as drawings, photographs, and prints. 

Included are books by Don Celender, Brice…

Detail image of James McGarrell's painting, "Cezanne"

Spaces – Bodies – Objects

This exhibition includes several paintings that locate human or animal figures along with enigmatic objects in varied architectural settings. While the works are representational, they are much more confounding than traditional realism, and the artists utilize both close observation and the “anything is possible” fluidity one associates with dreaming.  

The spaces depicted combine aspects of inside and out, nature glimpsed through open windows and porticos, and interiors of uncertain scale. Still-life elements are referential and suggestive, as in James McGarrell’s quotation of a Cezanne canvas behind a seated female nude, and Sheldon Tapley’s jam-packed studio arrangement of flowers, fruits, tools, and stacked playing cards. In Visitation, Dale Daniel Leys shows a decomposing bird specimen as seen through an aperture in a crumbling wall in a room of fluctuating dimensions. Joseph Vavak’s Department Store presents a cross section of a building with eager…

Image of Todd Hido's photography, from the series Homes at Night

Todd Hido: The Poetry of Darkness

Photographer Todd Hido is best known for the evocative images he captured while driving through neighborhoods at night, photographing homes whose glowing windows suggest untold stories, but reveal little. For more than twenty-five years, he returned literally and metaphorically to memories and experiences of growing up in Kent, Ohio, finding romance in the mundane. More recently, prompted by global climatic change and the darkening political atmosphere, he began examining a world seemingly on the edge of apocalypse, dominated by lowering skies and eerie light. The Poetry of Darkness explores the landscape domestic and foreign, as well as portraiture, to which he has returned repeatedly in his career.   

Hido has designed and produced eight monographs of his work, which has also been featured in publications including Artforum, the New York Times Magazine, Time, Vanity Fair, and Wired. His book House Hunting (2001) was…

Image of Li Hongwei's work,"Allegory of Balance #18."

Brilliant Illusions: Crafted Forms by Li Hongwei

The renowned ceramic traditions of ancient China find fresh and dynamic expression in the hands of contemporary artist Li Hongwei. His sculpture—which takes the form of graceful hanging pieces as well as work on pedestals—combines crystalline glazes on porcelain with polished steel in ways that reanimate the past and evoke a new future for this art form.  

Li explores the “the interfacings between light and form, reflection and reality, tradition and transformation,” says guest curator Dr. Andrew Maske, associate professor of Asian art history at UK and a specialist in the history of ceramics. “He manipulates iconic ceramic modes from China’s ancient past to create sculpture that expresses the concept of balance, flow, and beauty.” 

Born in Tangshan, China, in 1980, the artist now divides his time between Beijing and New York. Li holds a bachelor’s degree in sculpture from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and a master’s in ceramic art from the…

Created 08/13/2021
Last Updated 10/15/2021