Couple’s love and love of art on display at American University Museum

Works of art on display.

Works of art on display.

WASHINGTON–An overly-confident, extroverted poet and a timid, war-torn artist found a similar passion for mystical literature that flourished into one artistic relationship. Ten years after the death of 80-year-old Jess Collins, an artist, an art exhibit opens that gives a closer and detailed look into their relationship in the early 1950s called “An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, & Their Circle.” This exhibit was open to all at the American University Museum at Katzen Arts Center on Wednesday. “We predominantly focus on international, political-oriented and local art,” said Lucy Crowley, a senior administrative and marketing assistant at the museum. This exhibit has made its way through the nation and made possible by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. Collins and Robert Duncan, a poet, collaborated to make art based on postmodernism, a late-20th-century style in the arts representing the departure from modernism. Duncan commonly used high-colored crayons and Collins made collages and called them “pastes-ups.” The main themes of Collins’ artwork were chemistry, alchemy, the occult, and male beauty. However, their library had works of Greek myths, Victorian fairy tales and the tarot and Paracelsus, according to the New York Times. Their love for literature translated into their works, despite some different themes. Their artistic style may have been different, but they often showcased their relationship through their artwork. After meeting, they lived together in a house in San Francisco. This can be seen in Jess’ “The Enamord Mage, Translation #6” that’s based off of Duncan’s The Ballad of the Enamord Magea love poem about Collins. Their collaborative art changed the creative vision of the upcoming generation of writers and artists. “I had never seen so many materials used,” Genevieve Stegner-Freitag, 20-year-old art major, said about the artwork. To find out more about the Katzen Arts Center, call (202)-885-1300.