Past First Thursday Events

During these special hours, the museum galleries will remain open until 7:30pm, and as always, will be free and open to the public.

The weeks are busy with school and work, and the weekends fill up fast with extracurricular activities - that's why the AMAM started a new public program for the fall semester 2011- First Thursdays! During these special evening hours, the museum galleries will be open for you to revisit old favorites, explore the new installations, discover new works, listen to our audio tours, or browse through our collection catalog. AMAM staff and student docents will be on hand to answer questions and chat with you about the museum's holdings.


Spring 2018

Feb. 8, 5:30 pm (please note that this is not the first Thursday of the month, but rather of the academic semester)
Julie Nelson Davis, professor of history of art at the University of Pennsylvania and former assistant professor of art and East Asian studies at Oberlin College (1999–2002), presents a lecture based on her forthcoming book, Ukiyo-e in Context. The Japanese prints called ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world,” are widely appreciated for their depictions of the diversions of contemporary life. Davis puts these works into a larger context, showing how they were made in tandem with popular entertainments, appreciated by for their technical and creative artistry, and collected and recorded in period documents. Cosponsored with the Department of Art and the East Asian Studies Program.

March 1, 5:30 pm
Kirsten Pai Buick, professor of art history at the University of New Mexico, gives a lecture on the final years of Edmonia Lewis (1844–1907), a sculptor who attended Oberlin College from 1859 to 1863. Titled “CODA: Mary Edmonia Lewis, Catholicism, and the Quest for Freedom,” this talk tells how Lewis, a devout Catholic who moved to Rome in 1865, garnered a church patronage that far outlasted her support from abolitionists in America. Cosponsored with the Department of Africana Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies Program.

April 5, 5:30 pm

“Rembrandt: The Last Renaissance Artist” is the title of a guest lecture by Catherine Scallen, Andrew W. Mellon Associate Professor in the Humanities and Associate Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University. Rembrandt was a printmaker and painter of the 17th century, but his choice of subjects and thematic presentation allied him more with earlier Renaissance art. Scallen examines this retrospective side of Rembrandt’s art and offers possible motivations—centering on his personal ambition as an artist.

May 3, 2018, 5pm

The community was invited to join the Allen Memorial Art Msuem in closing out its centennial year with a purchase party event from 5 to 8p.m. on Thursday, May 3. The Allen's first purchase parties were held in the 1920's, when it was amoung the first American museums to ask the public to vote on works of art for acquisition. May wonderful works of art have been added to the Allen's collection by popular vote.


Fall 2017

September 7, 5:30pm
Oberlin Shansi and the museum presented an evening of Chinese classical music to mark the opening of fall exhibitions. Weichih Rosa Lee performed selections from the Chinese classical repertoire on the guzheng, a stringed instrument similar to the zither. 


In lieu of our regular First Thursday this month, the AMAM and the Department of Art present a Centennial Symposium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 7.

November 2, 5:30pm
Edith W. Clowes, Brown-Forman Chair in the Humanities and professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Virginia, discussed the religious and mystical (as well as revolutionary) explorations of Russian and Russian-emigre artists, including Goncharova, Chagall, and Roerich, who have works in the museum collection.

December 7th, 5:30pm
An informal discussion on the Allen’s most important acquisition of Chinese paintings, which came to the museum from George J. Schlenker in 1997. Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art Kevin Greenwood hosted guests Charles Mason and Arnold Chang, both of whom were involved in the acquisition.

Spring 2017

February 2, 5:30pm
Opening reception for new exhibitions, including a welcome program for the objects in a new installation of African art. The welcome was led by Adenike Sharpley, OC artist in residence, and Matthew Rarey, assistant professor of the arts of Africa and the Black Atlantic.

March 2, 5:30pm
A panel discussion, “Animals in the Western and Non-Western Imaginations,” will be led by Chie Sakakibara, assistant professor of environmental studies.

April 6, 5:30pm
A conversation with Mary Miss, whose untitled 1975 work is installed on the museum grounds. This American artist has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design, and installation art.

May 4, 5:30pm
Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., curator of northern Baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art, gave a lecture titled “Oberlin and the Introduction of Dutch Caravaggism to America.”

Fall 2016

Septermber 8, 5:30pm

Opening reception for fall exhibitions focusing on the concept of time. Artist Fred Wilson will be on hand for informal discussion about about his AMAM installation Wildfire Test Pit, as well as his works in the Ellen Johnson Gallery exhibition Black to the Powers of Ten. His acclaimed museum “interventions” often expose biases embedded within the history of art and material culture.

October 6, 5:30pm

An evening of food and fun in collaboration with the Oberlin College Student Program Board. All are welcome, especially current students.

November 3, 5:30pm

Artist Fred Wilson will give a presentation about his recent works and influences, as well as installations he has created in other museums and cultural institutions. Wilson is a 1999 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.

December 1, 5:30pm

Join us for a screening of Eva Hesse, a 2016 documentary about this pioneering artist. Director Marcie Begleiter spent 10 days at the AMAM viewing materials from the museum’s Eva Hesse Archives, an experience that ultimately led her to make the film. Run time is 108 minutes.

Spring 2016:

February 4, 5:30 p.m.
Live classical music related to works in the Judit Reigl exhibition will be performed in the museum’s King Sculpture Court. Faculty and students of Oberlin’s Conservatory of Music, along with special guest Benjamin Perl of the Open University of Israel, will give piano and vocal performances of works by Pierre Bernard, J. S. Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and György Kurtág. A reception will follow with refreshments in the East Gallery.

March 3, 5:30 p.m.
Join the AMAM for a conversation between New York-based painter Pat Steir and Ellen Johnson ’33 Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Denise Birkhofer. Steir is well known for her dripped, splashed, and poured “waterfall” paintings. The museum’s West Ambulatory features her painting Tall Waterfall.

April 7, 5:30 p.m.
“Metaphorical Body: China’s Action Art in the mid-1980s” is the subject of a talk by Zhou Yan, visual resources curator in art history at Kenyon College. Chinese action artists of the mid-80s often wrapped their bodies, creating metaphors of cultural crises, enlightenment, individualism, or even utopian ideals. They staged powerful rebellions against mainstream art and challenged the rationalist painting in vogue at the time.

May 5, 5:30 p.m.
Christina Neilson, assistant professor of Renaissance and Baroque art history at Oberlin College, and Frances Gage, associate professor of art history at SUNY Buffalo State, give a lecture titled “The Patient Artist: Illness, Healing, and the Act of Creation in Early Modern Europe,” in conjunction with the Ripin Gallery exhibition they co-curated, A Picture of Health: Art and the Mechanisms of Healing.

Fall 2015:

September 3, 5:30 p.m.
Artist Jim Dine continues his long association with the AMAM in a conversation with John G.W. Cowles Director Andria Derstine that coincides with the exhibition Body Proxy. Dine’s first solo exhibition was held at the Allen in 1965, during a residency at the invitation of Ellen Johnson. In 2005, the retrospective Jim Dine, Some Drawings originated at the AMAM.

Jim Dine studied at the University of Cincinnati and the Boston Museum School, and received his B.F.A. from Ohio University, Athens, where he was also enrolled in the graduate program. He moved to New York City in 1958, where he had his first group (1959) and solo (1960) exhibitions. Dine instantly became an active figure in the New York art world, creating and staging many of the first "Happenings" along with artists Claes Oldenburg and Robert Whitman. Since his first solo exhibition in 1960, Dine’s paintings, sculptures, photography, and prints have been the subject of nearly 300 solo exhibitions worldwide.

In addition to his public talk, Dine will assist with the installation of his large assemblage, Five Chicken Wire Hearts (for James Peto), in the Ellen Johnson Gallery.

Co-sponsored by the Oberlin Business Partnership.

October 1, 5:30 p.m.
In a talk titled “How a No. 2 Pencil Designed my Life,” designer D'Wayne Edwards will share his journey: how he was introduced to a simple instrument that allowed him to escape a dangerous neighborhood southeast of Los Angeles to design shoes for such athletes as Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter. Edwards is the former Footwear Design Director of Jordan Brand and also worked with Nike and Skechers. He is the founder of PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy—a program created to give talented designers, regardless of socioeconomic background, an opportunity to learn from the industry’s best.

November 5, 5:30 p.m.
Photographer and guest curator Laura Larson ’88 speaks about Hidden Mother, the exhibition of 19th-century child portraits in which mothers were concealed while holding their offspring still during long exposure times. Larson is an associate professor of photography and integrated media at Ohio University.

December 3, 5:00 p.m.
Join us for classical guitar music performed by students from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Guitarists will play music relevant to the theme or time period of the works on view in several galleries. The program is presented in collaboration with Stephen Aron, classical guitar instructor at Oberlin. Come and immerse your senses!

Co-sponsored by the Oberlin College Administrative & Professional Staff Council.

First Thursday Events, Spring 2015:

February 5, 5:30 p.m.
Art Building, Classroom 1

A talk titled “Bringing Home the Five-Legged Cow: Sherman E. Lee’s Collecting of Chinese Painting,” by Noelle Giuffrida, assistant professor of East Asian art at Case Western Reserve University, focuses on the former Cleveland Museum of Art director and his relationships with German expatriate collector-dealer Walter Hochstadter, Cleveland collector Helen Wade Greene Perry, and Japanese dealer Setsu Inosuke. Each played a key role in facilitating Lee’s acquisition of important Chinese paintings for Cleveland during the 1950s and 60s.

Oberlin College Science Center, 119 Woodland Street
Dye Lecture Hall, A162

 Artist and activist Alfredo Jaar, who left his native Chile in 1981 at the height of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, gives a lecture titled “It Is Difficult.” Jaar is known internationally for politically charged works that often call attention to genocide, military violence, and the imbalance of power between industrial and developing nations. Join us for a reception in the AMAM’s East Gallery following the talk.

Jaar's talk is funded, in part, through the Ellen H. Johnson Endowed Fund for Contemporary Art, and is co-sponsored by Latin American Studies.

April 2, 5:30 p.m.
First Church of Oberlin,
106 North Main St.

Haitian artist Edouard Duval-Carrié gives a lecture titled "Comments on the North Caribbean Visual Landscape" in conjunction with Latin American and Latino Art at the Allen. The exhibition features his 1998 painting Justicia, which refers to the Haitian Revolution of 1791 to 1803.

Duval-Carrié's talk is funded, in part, through the Ellen H. Johnson Endowed Fund for Contemporary Art, and is co-sponsored by Latin American Studies and Africana Studies.

May 7, 5:30 p.m.
Art Building, Classroom 1

Join us for “A Muse in the Museum,” a community poetry reading that will feature works written in response to, or inspired by, works of art now on display at the museum. Poems will be selected from a call for entries that will be announced in March. Writers of all ages are invited to enter. The event is co-sponsored with the Oberlin College Creative Writing Program.

For more information, and to review the submissions guidelines, please click here.

First Thursday Events, Fall 2014:

September 4, 5–8 p.m.
Join us for an evening with Latin American food, wine, and music in celebration of the opening of the AMAM's fall exhibitions. Co-Sponsored with the Oberlin Business Partnership. Director's introduction begins at 5:30pm, with curator's tours at 5:30pm, 6:30pm, and 7:30pm.

Music performed by Oberlin Conservatory of Music students Zach Resnick, Dan Papalardo, Chase Kuesel, Jack Laskey, and Ben Rempel, with vocalist Regina Larre Campuzano.

October 3 (Please note: This is a Friday), 5:30 p.m.
Please follow this link for information on our Latin American Symposium

November 6, 5-8pm
Allen Art Building, Classroom 1
David G. Berger and Holly Maxson will give a lecture titled "The Hinton Photo Collection: 'Nothing beats a Trial but a Failure' " on their work with Milt Hinton and the photographs from the jazz bassist's estate currently on view at the museum. Following the talk a reception in the East Gallery will feature a performance by Peter Dominguez, professor of jazz studies and double bass in Oberlin's Conservatory of Music. Dominguez will play a bass that had belonged to Hinton.

December 4, 5:30 p.m.
Peter Dominguez, bassist, and Bobby Ferrazza, a professor of jazz guitar at Oberlin, will perform in conjunction with the Ripin Gallery exhibition An Insider's Lens: The Jazz Photography of Milt Hinton.

First Thursday Events, Spring 2014:

February 6.
Come celebrate the opening of three new exhibitions! Gallery tours will begin at 6 p.m., led by Andaleeb Banta, curator of European and American art; Liliana Milkova, curator of academic programs; and Curatorial Assistant Sarah McLusky. In addition, AMAM docents will lead art activities for all ages exploring the theme of printmaking and its techniques.

March 6
Philip Yenawine is co-founder of the non-profit organization Visual Understanding in Education (VUE). His presentation will range from philosophical (what is art for?) to theoretical (what does research into aesthetic thought tell us about viewing art?) and practical (how do we empower viewers?). Yenawine will lead a discussion using the vue curriculum, known as Visual Thinking Strategies, to illuminate these topics and offer visitors a chance to exercise their brains. This interactive curriculum is widely used in schools, as well as by the AMAM.

April 3
Fred (OC 1974) and Laura Ruth Bidwell will discuss their joint passion for collecting art and their creation of the Transformer Station, a platform for emerging and mid-career artists located in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. The venue hosts contemporary art exhibitions, events, and music. Mr. Bidwell is interim director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Mrs. Bidwell was the founding curator of Akron’s Summit ArtSpace Gallery and is an established mixed-media artist, photographer, and videographer.

May 1
At the Weltzheimer-Johnson House
Pradnya Martz will give a talk titled “Growing with the Times,” discussing the largely unrealized landscape plan that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for Oberlin’s Usonian house. Martz has served as consulting curator for the house since 1998 and is an architect/project manager at Oberlin College. At the conclusion of her talk, Martz will lead a tour of the surrounding landscape and grounds.

First Thursday Events, Fall 2013:

September 5  -
Opening Reception of Fall Exhibitions. Tours will be offered by AMAM Director Andria Derstine,  Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Denise Birkhofer, and Curator of Academic Programs Liliana Milkova. Light refreshments will also be served.

October 3 –
“Proper Women, Necessary Women” - Libby Murphy, Associate Professor of French, and Greggor Mattson, Assistant Professor of Sociology, will discuss the gender and sexuality roles eveident in the prints in the exhibition “The Human Comedy.” Female dandies, laundresses, housewives and courtesans populated the 19th century imagination, animating realist portrayals in art, literature, journalism and social science.

November 7 -  
“The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” Robert M. Edsel, author of The Monuments Men:  Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, will present this year's Harold Jantz Memorial Lecture at the AMAM.  The Jantz Lectureship rotates among the AMAM, the OC Library, and the German department, honoring distinguished graduate and literary scholar Harold Jantz (OC 1929). Edsel's talk, about the looting of art by the Nazis and its restitution at the end of the Second World War, touches on the three themes of the Lectureship -- art, literature, and German history. The Monuments Men, a group of American and British scholars and army officers -- including Charles Parkhurst, who became the AMAM's director from 1949-62 -- located and helped restitute many of Europe's art treasures following Nazi theft. Edsel's book has been made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray, and will open in February 2014. Edsel's Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art received the 2007 National Humanities Medal, the highest US honor for excellence in the humanities field. A book-signing will follow.

December 5
**PLEASE NOTE: The lecture by Linda Nochlin has been moved to Friday, December 13, beginning at 5:30pm.
For the December First Thursday, the AMAM galleries will remain open until 7pm, as part of the downtown Oberlin Art Walk.This event highlights the many artists and art spaces in Oberlin through a collaborative downtown event. All sites are easily navigable on foot and are within close proximity to each other in the heart of Oberlin. For more information, visit their Facebook page by clicking here.

Special Event: Friday, December 13 at 5:30pm -
Linda Nochlin, distinguished scholar and Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts, will speak on the subject of Realism in art.  Nochlin's scholarship in the field of 19th-century art is vast, and her book Realism (1971) remains the standard source for the art movement of that name.  Her seminal essay "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?", published the same year, is a classic.  Among her many other publications are Women, Art and Power (1988), The Politics of Vision:  essays on nineteenth-century art and society (1989), and Representing Women (1999).  She has received honors and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, among many other organizations.

First Thursday Events, Spring 2013:

February 7 -
Tours will be led by Denise Birkhofer, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Liliana Milkova, Curator of Academic Programs, Erik Inglis, Professor of Medieval Art History, Sara Green, Curatorial Assistant, and Ian MacMillan, Visiting Professor in Ethnomusicology. Tours will begin at 5:45pm. 

March 7 -
5:30 pm— Electroacoustic Music inspired by works in the AMAM collection. Performed by TIMARA students enrolled in classes taught by Peter Swendsen, Assistant Professor of Computer Music and Digital Arts. This event is co-sponsored by the Oberlin College Administrative and Professional Staff (A&PS) Social Committee.

April 4 -
"The Muse in the Museum" - Poetry Contest - click here!

Come celebrate National Poetry Month with a special evening of readings at the AMAM! Organized by Lynn Powell, Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, this event will feature many local authors and students reading Ekphrastic poems, or dramatic
descriptions of works of art.

May 2 -
5:30 pm— Audrey Flack, a pioneer of Photorealism and a nationally recognized painter and sculptor will give a lecture titled: 

the Passion and the Sorrow 

in conjunction with the exhibition, "Religion, Ritual and Performance in Modern and Contemporary Art."  This talk is sponsored by the AMAM and the Art Department Ellen Johnson Fund. 

First Thursday Events, Fall 2012:

September 6 -
Fall Exhibitions Opening Reception with curators’ tours by AMAM Director Andria Derstine, Assistant Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art Denise Birkhofer, curatorial assistant Sara Green, and Professor Esra Akin-Kivanc.

October 4 -
5:30 pm—Dr. Laurence Kanter (OC ’76), Chief Curator and Curator of Renaissance Art, Yale University Art Gallery, will present a lecture entitled “Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, and the ‘Birth’ of the Renaissance.” This talk is free and open to the public. Funds towards this program were generously provided by the Oberlin College Art Department's Clarence Ward Fund, and the Oberlin College Alumni Association.

November 1 -
5:30 pm— Nov. 1, 5:30 pm— POSTPONED: Audrey Flack, a pioneer of Photorealism and a nationally recognized painter and sculptor. AMAM Curatorial Staff discussed the many ways the collection is used on campus and in the community.

December 6 -
5:30 pm—Oberlin College’s Renaissance Recorder Ensemble will perform period music related to the ongoing “Religion, Ritual and Performance in the Renaissance” exhibition, with a talk to follow. Kathryn Montoya, director and recorders, guest performer Michael Leopold, lute.