Exhibition - On Watching and Being Seen

The Northern Illinois University Art Museum is excited to present our fall season opener entitled On Watching and Being Seen, an exhibition featuring twenty-eight artists from the Chicago area to around the globe. This show will be held in all four galleries of the NIU Art Museum from August 27th – October 19th, 2013, with a public reception on September 12th, 2013 from 4:30pm – 6:00pm. We will also be offering a special Sunday viewing of the galleries on September 15th from 12:00 – 4:00pm. 


This show explores the roles of voyeur and exhibitionist, especially through the impact of social media and surveillance technology. How we define what is private and what is public (or what we think should be) has ramifications in our feeling engaged, threatened, or ambivalent.


For example, Houston-based artist William Betts produces mechanized dot paintings of public surveillance camera footage. Betts elevates these mundane images to “fine art” by transforming the still video frames into paintings. Consequently, by tapping into the art historical significance of the medium, he is able to facilitate conversation about images that may otherwise go unnoticed. The resulting paintings are as unsettling as they are beautiful; they serve as a disturbing reminder that we are all subjects of surveillance.


In terms of addressing social media, Chicago artist Kathy Halper embroiders line drawings of actual Facebook posts to shed light on the new and strange cultural phenomenon among young adults of posting intimate (and unflattering) pictures of themselves for the world to see and scrutinize. Her image entitled Spring Break, depicts a young man snuggling up to a couple of romantic conquests, and includes a caption beneath the picture reading: “I can only imagine the horrible things my future wife is doing on spring break right now.”


A complete list of exhibiting artists includes: Martin Backes, William Betts, James Bridle, Mark Daybell, Digital Dan the Drawing Man, Jessica Dimmock, Walker Evans, Brad Farwell, Ron Galella, Scott Groeniger, Kathy Halper, Larson Harley, Adam Harvey, Mark Hogancamp, Ed Kashi, Jay King, Joachim Ladefoged, Ben Lowy, Noelle Mason, Kate McQuillen, Susan Meiselas, Jim Newberry, Helmut Newton, William Noland, Marc PoKempner, Henry Simon, Art Shay, and Kohei Yoshiyuki.


The NIU Art Museum is located on the first floor, west end of Altgeld Hall, on the campus of Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, 60115.  Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Group tours may be arranged by appointment. This exhibition contains adult content. More information about our exhibitions may be found on our website: www.niu.edu/artmuseum.


Funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Friends of the NIU Art Museum; and the Dean’s Circle of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at NIU.


Friday, October 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Altgeld Hall, 116
595 College Ave, DeKalb, IL 60115




free and open to the public

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