Past Exhibitions


The Exquisite Landscape

Craig LandscapeApr 20 2021 to Sep 18 2021

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 been exhibited across the southeastern United States, and she has been featured in print and digital publications including Burnaway, Oxford American, and Whitehot Magazine. 

Image: William Craig, View on the Germantown Pike Overlooking Lawrence Creek near Maysville, Ky., Evening, 1865, oil on canvas. Collection of the UK Art Museum, gift in memory of William Earle Stilwell III. 
Treasures from the Ancient Middle East

Iranian painted bowlApr 20 2021 to Sep 18 2021

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, Nishapur, Footed Bowl, 10-11th century, earthenware, polychrome painted under transparent glaze. Collection of the UK Art Museum, gift of Mrs. Alice Heeramaneck.

Brutus Killed Caesar ImageApr 6 2021 to Sep 18 2021

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. 
Intersections: Gifts from Henry V. Heuser, Jr.

Monochrome photograph of rolling hillsApr 6 2021 to Sep 18 2021

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. 
Hermann Kätelhön: Das Werk Arbeit

Etching of coal miners working underground.Apr 6 2021 to Sep 18 2021

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 World War II. 

Image: Hermann Kätelhön, Am Gesenk (At the Blind Shaft), undated, etching on paper. Collection of the UK Art Museum, gift of Robert R. Estill. 
Sew What: Jessie Dunahoo, Elana Herzog, Ben Venom

Variety of grocery bags stitched togetherMar 16 2021 to Jul 10 2021

This exhibition brings together three distinct artists who share a love of common materials (fabric, clothing, rugs, plastic bags) and an urge to investigate their potential as component parts of larger objects and installations. Their completed works offer meditations on the history of assemblage, especially aspects of recycling, labor, and time.

Jessie Dunahoo was a Lexington artist who was born deaf and additionally lost his vision at a young age. That didn't prevent him from making elaborate art and environments with found materials around his home. As an adult, he worked five days a week at Latitude Artist Community, a local studio facility that provides art and creative outlets for individuals with disabilities. His sewn-together works present shifting areas of color, texture, language, and transparency.

Elana Herzog consistently makes and unmakes objects, ripping and cutting textiles and carpets and situating them in and against specific gallery and museum architecture. For the last two decades, she has reveled in creating immersive situations that obliterate distinctions between old and new, common and precious, in process and completed. She states, "Speed, labor, progress, obsolescence, loss, kitsch, camp, nostalgia, sentimentality, taste…there are too many clichés out there for what I and other women artists do."

Ben Venom combines the processes and aesthetics of quilt making with the robust graphics of heavy metal and punk music, tattoo culture, and heraldry. His large wall hangings utilize fragments of t-shirts from bands like Iron Maiden, AC/DC, and Poison, along with swatches of denim and other fabrics. Together, these form a complicated code switching between gendered traditions and unique sub-cultures.

"Jessie Dunahoo's reality as a deaf and blind man, did not stop him from creating sculptures by touch, sewing together plastic shopping bags, scraps of fabric, and other items that were collected for him. Elana Herzog makes reference to the history of art, industry, and domestic traditions by cutting, stacking, and splicing distinct rugs and carpets from around the world into unique arrangements. Ben Venom has been called a 'punk rock quilter' because of the band-related T-shirts he uses, as well as the rebellious attitude he brings to this traditional sewing activity," UK Art Museum Director Stuart Horodner said. "The exhibition examines the use of recycled and referential materials, and the different ways that artists orient their own physical, emotional and cultural situations."

Image: Jessie Dunahoo, Untitled, circa 2010-15, plastic bags, fabric samples, and thread. Courtesy of the Estate of Jessie Dunahoo and Institute 193.
Come Together: Assemblage and Collage from the Collection

Multimedia collageMar 16 2021 to Jul 10 2021

Organized to provide a deeper context for the "Sew What" exhibition, this installation features examples of drawing, painting and sculpture that are the result of gathering various materials and combining them in distinct ways. 

Collage and assemblage are construction practices that go back hundreds of years but are associated with the 20th-century activities of artists including Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet, Joseph Cornell, Hannah Höch, Louise Nevelson and Robert Rauschenberg, to name a few. 

"Come Together" features work by artists in the UK Art Museum's permanent collection who are part of this tradition, including Raymond Barnhart, William Bayer, Bruce Burris, Christo, Robert Morgan, Robert Motherwell, Judith Page, Antoni Tapies and others. 

Bruce Burris, toxifying appylachia jeezus warshedtheseft 800years ago, 2018, acrylic, pencil, gouache, marker, pen, and collaged elements on paper.


Celebration of Donors: Richard B. Freeman and the Patrons of Graphics

lithograph on paperNov 10, 2020 to Apr 3, 2021

Richard B. Freeman was a passionate educator, art collector, curator, and donor whose generosity resulted in more than 230 gifts of art to the Museum, many in the form of prints and drawings dating from the 1960s and 1970s. This exhibition offers a sampling of the international group of artists whose work was donated by Freeman himself, by friends in his honor, or by the Patrons of Graphics, a collecting group he formed. The Richard B. Freeman Gallery on the second floor of the Museum was named in his honor, and is used as classroom space as well as for examining works on paper.

Educated at Yale and Harvard universities, Freeman worked in a number of prestigious museums including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, the Fogg Museum at Harvard, and the Cincinnati Art Museum in Ohio. He went on to pursue an academic career, coming to UK in 1957 and serving in the art department until 1974. 

Freeman appreciated and donated seventeenth- and nineteenth-century art to the Museum, but he was most excited about the flowering of printmaking and other graphic arts after World War II. In 1958, he began organizing an annual Graphics exhibition featuring contemporary artists who were experimenting with a wide range of techniques and approaches. He traveled across the United States and Europe seeking out new and experimental work and some of the Graphics shows traveled around the country. 

This exhibition features work by American, British, German, Hungarian, and Spanish artists, ranging in style from William Bailey’s exquisite drawing of a young woman; Lester Johnson’s expressionist Three Heads, Frontal; Paul Nash’s modernist landscape of standing stones; and Gabor Peterdi’s composition of vertical rocks, a marvel of sophisticated printing techniques and texture.

Lester Johnson, Three Heads Frontal, 1963, lithograph on paper. Collection of the UK Art Museum, gift of the Patrons of Graphics
Face Off: Patrick Smith with Victor Hammer

self portraits of two artistsNov 10, 2020 to Apr 3, 2021

Patrick Smith is a Lexington-based painter known for his realistic works on paper based on photographs he takes of various friends. These detailed works are informed by the artist's deep interest in the history of representational art, and his process of collaborating with his sitters on their poses, costume, makeup, and lighting. The resulting images are powerfully intimate, as heads and torsos that are often tattooed or pierced embody states of confrontation, vulnerability, and reverie. He has also consistently depicted himself, playing with assumptions about gender and exploring qualities of fragility and theatricality.  

Smith's paintings are presented in combination with several prints by the Austrian artist Victor Hammer (1882 – 1967) who came of age during the Vienna Secession—a period dominated by artists like Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. Hammer's works in different media are part of the UK Art Museum's collection. His mezzotint portraits depict his friends, including affluent individuals and diplomats, who—like the artist himself—were living in the complex and dangerous context of Europe in the 1930s. 

Both artists, while coming from distinct historical periods and points of view, share a painstaking attention to detail and a commitment to labor-intensive processes that give their depictions of unique human beings a profound humanity and intensity.  

In collaboration with the Museum, a solo exhibition of recent works by Patrick Smith will be on view at Institute 193 from November 18, 2020 - January 16, 2021. 

Left: Patrick Smith, Self Portrait in Fur, 2018. Acrylic on paper, gift of Stuart Horodner. Right: Victor Hammer, Portrait of Albrecht Graf Von Bernstorff, 1926. Mezzotint on paper, gift of Mrs. Carolyn Reading Hammer.
Larry Rivers: Boston Massacre

screen print of soldiersNov 10, 2020 to Apr 3, 2021

In 1970—two hundred years after a street fight between Massachusetts colonists and British Redcoats escalated into a riot that left five Americans dead on King Street in Boston—artist Larry Rivers revisited this pivotal event. In his portfolio of thirteen mixed media prints, Rivers drew on historic imagery from Paul Revere’s 1770 engraving The Bloody Massacre to comment on the social, cultural, and political tumult gripping America in 1970. This includes protests over the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the death of African Americans at the hands of those in power. Rivers’ Boston Massacre series is fifty years old but remains strikingly relevant, particularly as it deals with struggles between colonial powers and the people they subjugate, and between the establishment and protestors seeking profound change. Lines of British Redcoats reference Revere’s historic engraving, but the artist substitutes news images of wounded and dead Vietnamese people for American casualties. He uses newspaper photographs of the civil rights leader James Meredith writhing in pain on the ground after being repeatedly shot while leading a peaceful walk in support of voting rights in 1966. He directly links this to an imagined portrait of Crispus Attucks, a young dockworker believed to be of African and Native American ancestry, who was the first person killed in the Boston Massacre. One of the most startling prints, Ready-Aim, features a white man pointing a shotgun directly at us, the viewers. The man seems to be standing guard over a series of European architectural monuments, symbols of the Old World. It calls to mind recent images of protestors and American monuments in Washington D.C., and elsewhere in the country.

Larry Rivers, Red Coats - Mist from the series Boston Massacre, 1970, screen print on paper. Collection of the UK Art Museum, gift of Gerson Lazar.
Paul Sawyier: Kentucky Watercolors

watercolor landscapeOct 27, 2020 to Mar 20, 2021

Paul Sawyier’s deep roots in Kentucky have made him one of the state’s favorite artists. This exhibition features the atmospheric watercolors he made in and around his Frankfort home, as well as at other well-known locales in the region. Many will be familiar to viewers today.

Sawyier often revisited his favorite Frankfort subjects: the dappled shade of Louisville Hill in summer; the “singing bridge,” steeples of the county and federal courthouses, and Good Shepherd Church, viewed from the vantage point of the Frankfort City Cemetery; and the graceful architecture of the Old Capitol building. 

He often lived and worked on a houseboat on the Kentucky River between 1908 and 1913, frequently mooring at Shakertown or Camp Nelson, although he navigated the river to many sites. Sawyier and his love Mayme Bull often went canoeing on the river or the Elkhorn Creek east of Frankfort.  

Even after Sawyier moved to Brooklyn in 1913 to try to sell more work, he painted well-loved Kentucky scenes based on sketches he brought with him.

Paul Sawyier, Beyond the Hill (Singing Bridge, Frankfort, Kentucky), undated. Watercolor on paper, collection of the UK Art Museum. Bequest of John William Pruett, Jr.; The John William Pruett, Jr. Collection.
How 'Bout Them Cats

lion watercolorOct 27, 2020 to Mar 20, 2021

We have lions, leopards and lap cats, deranged kittens and glowering jungle cats. They are portrayed realistically, abstractly, and in stylized form in paintings, sculpture, prints, photography, and textiles. We realize these may not be UK’s favorite Cats, but in challenging times, we offer an alternative lineup with this exhibition of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art from the Museum’s collection. 

Work by three women—all trailblazers—offers a sense of the depth of How ’Bout Them Cats. Rosa Bonheur was a celebrated animalier artist in mid-nineteenth century France, famed for her naturalistic paintings and watercolors. Her subjects ranged from hens and sheep to the pair of lions portrayed in Royalty at Home; the latter were part of her personal menagerie. Wanda Gág was a pioneering illustrator and commercial artist, whose 1928 book Millions of Cats won the prestigious Newberry Medal and is credited with transforming the art of children’s picture books. Her prints, such as the homey Winter Garden, were extremely popular and widely collected. Alice Neel made deeply insightful portraits, often of family, friends, lovers, and artists. Her young granddaughter is pictured in Victoria and the Cat in a loving, but touchingly awkward image. 

Felines also appear in a Panamanian Mola textile; a rainbow striped portrait by Fluxus artist Ay-O; clutched by a runaway teen in a photograph from Bruce Davidson; and in three-dimensional work from Kentucky artists Steve Armstrong and Robert Lockhart. 

Rosa Bonheur, Royalty at Home, 1893, pen, ink, and watercolor on paper. Collection of the UK Art Museum. Gift from the Mr. and Mrs. James Wenneker Collection.
Jeanne Silverthorne: More Flesh and Bone

wood crateOct 6, 2020 to Feb 13, 2021

Jeanne Silverthorne is an acclaimed and influential New York-based artist whose works take their cue from the human body, as well as domestic and industrial items including lighting fixtures and bulbs, junction boxes, and various packing materials. For decades, she has thought of her studio as a generative site where acts of thinking, making, destroying, and accepting take place.  

More Flesh and Bone includes new works made of cast rubber, which gives them a decidedly fleshy feel. Crates of varying sizes (with cartoon-like nails and painted wood grain) serve as pedestals for a spinning globe, a pair of skeletons, burnt-out lightbulbs, and a small self-portrait. The combination of these works offers a meditation on time, human effort, and nagging questions of success and failure.

Jeanne Silverthorne, Crates with Skeletons, 2019, Platinum Silicone Rubber, Wood, and Paint. Courtesy of the artist.
Erika Larsen: Ritual for a Changing Planet

Jan 25, 2020 to Oct 10, 2020

Robert C. May: The Photographer

Jan 25, 2020 to Oct 24, 2020

A Celebration of Donors

Jan 25, 2020 to Oct 24, 2020

Susan King: Redressing the Sixties

Jan 25, 2020 to Sep 12, 2020

Body Language: Hunter Stamps and Mike Goodlett

Jan 25, 2020 to Sep 12, 2020

The Sketch: Willard Leroy Metcalf and Thomas Satterwhite Noble

Jan 25, 2020 to Mar 20, 2021

Cabinet of Wonder - Online

May 15, 2020 to Nov 1, 2020

This is America*

Oct 6, 2020 to Feb 13, 2021


Michael Flomen: Recent Work

Jan 26, 2019 to May 5, 2019

TLC: Conservation and the Collection

Jan 26, 2019 to Aug 4, 2019

CoBrA: Hope After Destruction

Jan 26, 2019 to Jun 30, 2019

Stephanie Syjuco: Recent Work

Jan 26, 2019 to Aug 5, 2019

Pushing the Envelope: Mail Art from the Archives of American Art

Feb 16, 2019 to May 5, 2019

Off the Menu: Looking at Food

Jun 1, 2019 to Aug 11, 2019

Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective

Feb 16, 2019 to May 5, 2019


Jun 1, 2019 to Dec 8, 2019

The Good Earth

Jun 1, 2019 to Feb 9, 2020

Mistaken Identity

Jun 1, 2019 to Dec 8, 2019

TLC, Part II: Conservation and the Collection

Aug 17, 2019 to Feb 17, 2020


Jul 13, 2019 to Dec 8, 2019

Laura Letinsky: Recent Works

Sep 14, 2019 to Dec 8, 2019

Bethany Collins: Benediction

Sep 14, 2019 to Dec 8, 2019

Interwoven: Joan Snyder, Judy Ledgerwood, Crystal Gregory

Sep 14, 2019 to Dec 8, 2019


Water Ways

Jan 13, 2018 to Jul 22, 2018

Looking at Men

Jan 13, 2018 to Apr 8, 2018

Edward Melcarth: Points of View

Jan 13, 2018 to Apr 8, 2018

R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Dan Estabrook

Jan 13, 2018 to Apr 1, 2018

American Impressions

Feb 24, 2018 to Jul 22, 2018

In the Abstract, Part II

Feb 24, 2018 to Jul 22, 2018

On Sitting

May 4, 2018 to Jul 22, 2018

Up in Arms

Apr 13, 2018 to Jul 22, 2018

Reuben Kadish: Witness

May 11, 2018 to Jul 29, 2018


May 11, 2018 to Jul 29, 2018

Alix Pearlstein: Grass

Sep 8, 2018 to Dec 9, 2018

Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Stages for Being

Sep 8, 2018 to Dec 9, 2018

Downstage from Meatyard

Sep 8, 2018 to Dec 9, 2018


The Gaines Challenge Fund

Jan 18, 2017 to May 20, 2017


Jan 18, 2017 to May 20, 2017

Andrea Modica: Best Friends

Jan 18, 2017 to Apr 30, 2017


Jan 18, 2017 to May 20, 2017

Still Lifes

Jan 18, 2017 to May 20, 2017

Mike McKay: Singularities

Jan 18, 2017 to Apr 23, 2017

Face Value: Photographs by Doris Ulmann & Andy Warhol

Jan 28, 2017 to Apr 23, 2017

Frank Doring: I Would Redesign That Udder

May 20, 2017 to Aug 20, 2017

Thomas Nozkowski: Touchstones

May 20, 2017 to Aug 20, 2017

R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Teju Cole

Oct 7, 2017 to Dec 15, 2017

R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Lori Nix

Oct 7, 2017 to Dec 15, 2017

Alison Saar: Breach

Sep 9, 2017 to Dec 3, 2017

Modern Women

Dec 2, 2017 to Apr 8, 2018

Hugh Evans: Recent Gifts

Dec 2, 2017 to Apr 1, 2018


Bill Adams: Blue Madness

Jan 23, 2016 to Apr 3, 2016

Open House: Selections from the Sue and John Wieland Collection

Jan 23, 2016 to Apr 3, 2016

Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm

May 6, 2016 to Jul 31, 2016

Paul Shambroom: Lost

Mar 4, 2016 to May 22, 2016

One + One

Feb 12, 2016 to May 22, 2016

Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Ground

May 6, 2016 to Jul 31, 2016

Ralph Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama

May 6, 2016 to Jul 31, 2016

James Baker Hall: The Poet's Eye

Jul 30, 2016 to Nov 27, 2016


Jul 30, 2016 to Nov 27, 2016

Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself

Aug 27, 2016 to Nov 27, 2016

Donald Lipski: Pieces of String Too Short to Save

Jul 30, 2016 to Nov 27, 2016

Mira Schor: Time & Flesh

Jul 30, 2016 to Nov 27, 2016


Edward Troye: Theme and Variation

Jan 24, 2015 to Apr 12, 2015

Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh, Russell Maltz

Jan 24, 2015 to Apr 12, 2015

Lexington Tattoo Project

Jan 24, 2015 to Apr 12, 2015

Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs

Jan 24, 2015 to Apr 12, 2015

"(In the) Paint" with Craig Drennen

Feb 11, 2015 to Feb 13, 2015

Vivian Maier: On the Street

May 9, 2015 to Jul 26, 2015

Other Streets: Photographs from the Collection

May 9, 2015 to Jul 26, 2015

Chester Cornett: Beyond the Narrow Sky

May 9, 2015 to Jul 26, 2015

Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar, Paintings from 2010-2015

Sep 12, 2015 to Dec 20, 2015

Robert C. May Photography Endowment Lecture Series: Nina Katchadourian

Sep 12, 2015 to Dec 20, 2015

Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey

Sep 12, 2015 to Dec 20, 2015

Sculptors on Paper

Sep 12, 2015 to Dec 20, 2015


Wide Angle: American Photographs

Jan 26, 2014 to Apr 27, 2014

Robert C. May Photography Series: Catherine Opie

Feb 7, 2014 to Mar 9, 2014

Robert C. May Photography Endowment Lecture Series: Eugene Richards

Mar 14, 2014 to May 18, 2014

Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection

May 18, 2014 to Aug 17, 2014

Take My Word For It

Sep 6, 2014 to Dec 23, 2014

Prints for the People: Student Research on the WPA Collection

Mar 23, 2014 to Jul 27, 2014

Laurel Nakadate: Strangers and Relations

Sep 6, 2014 to Dec 23, 2014

Kurt Vonnegut: Madmen and Moonbeams

Sep 6, 2014 to Dec 23, 2014


Innovators and Legends: Generations in Textiles and Fibers

Oct 13, 2013 to Dec 23, 2013

Robert C. May Photography Endowment Lecture Series: Penelope Umbrico

Oct 18, 2013 to Nov 10, 2013

Robert C. May Endowment Photography Series: Carl Corey

Nov 15, 2013 to Feb 2, 2014

What Dreams May Come: Works on Paper from the Permanent Collection

Dec 20, 2013 to Jul 27, 2014


Created 10/11/2021
Last Updated 12/08/2021