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Katharina Grosse Opening-37


The Kemper Art Museum welcomes faculty, staff, and students to explore our permanent collection and special exhibitions. The Museum’s collection of more than 8,000 artworks, including paintings, photography, prints, and sculpture, from modern to global contemporary art, offers a range of resources to academic disciplines. 

We invite faculty to use the Museum as a laboratory for creative and critical thinking, as a catalyst for conversation, and as a platform for enriching learning. Our educators carefully select works of art that relate to disciplinary goals and design activities to make connections with ideas discussed in class and students’ lives.  

"Working with the Kemper Art Museum is far and away the highlight of the class. The art and architecture inspire students to think about music in a different way, as one part of an open dialogue with the works around them. The project gives us a chance to take our music as seriously as the incredible art on display, and we learn to balance artistic intentions with the practical considerations of installing a big show."  

– Chris Douthitt, Department of Music, Arts & Sciences 

Each year, thousands of students across Washington University’s campuses visit the Kemper Art Museum from departments across campus, including Architecture, Art History & Archeology, Art, Chinese, Classics, Communication Design, Comparative Literature, Drama, Education, English Literature, Engineering, French, German, Physics, Psychological & Brain Sciences, Sociology, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. 

Class Tours

Educator-led and self-guided tours complement classroom teaching and learning through close looking and interpretive conversations to promote active student engagement with subject-specific and interdisciplinary curricula. Gallery experiences support students’ development of such transferable skills as communication, creative expression, perspective taking, and critical thinking relevant to a variety of disciplines. 

Faculty can request a custom-designed tour or select from one of the offerings below. Tours are led by a Museum educator or are self-guided and are available Wednesday–Monday from 11 am to 5 pm. Limited visits for groups interested in a guided tour outside of normal operating hours are possible based on staff availability. 

To schedule a consultation or class visit, please contact José Garza, museum academic programs coordinator, two weeks before the desired date at or use the tour request form.

Tour Topics
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Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b. 1957), "Illumination," 2019. Lego bricks on baseplates, mounted on 4 aluminum panels, 120 3/4 x 151 1/8". University purchase with funds from the William T. Kemper Foundation, 2022.

Students make meaningful connections to their fields of study by discussing selected artworks with connections to course goals, ideas, and concepts. Faculty can request a consultation with a Museum educator to learn about creating a custom-designed tour. 

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Philip Guston (American, 1913–1980), "The Patient," 1979. Oil on canvas, 48 x 60". Bequest of Musa Guston, 1992.

Students learn the steps of visual analysis by “reading” works of art to build observational skills through close looking, comparing/contrasting, and describing. Following visual analysis, students apply different theoretical lenses in their analysis to prepare for writing research papers. 

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Max Ernst (German, 1891–1976), "L'oeil du silence (The Eye of Silence)", 1943–44. Oil on canvas, 43 1/4 x 56 1/4". University purchase, Kende Sale Fund, 1946.

Students in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction explore how visual artists experiment with language and participate in creative writing activities in response to works of art. 

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Romare Bearden (American, 1911–1988), "Black Venus," 1968. Mixed-media collage, 29 3/4 x 40 3/16". University purchase, Charles H. Yalem Art Fund, 1994.

The Museum invites faculty, staff, and students to use artworks from the collection to serve as a catalyst for conversations on historical and contemporary issues related to bias, identity, economic inequities, environmental justice, migration, and activism. 

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Sharon Lockhart (American, b. 1964), "Stephen Bade, Electrician," 2008. Chromogenic print, 25 1/16 x 31 1/8 x 2". Gift of Sharon Lockhart, 2022.

Collaborations between medical schools and art museums have proved successful in increasing students’ ability to look deeper, develop descriptive skills, and cultivate empathy through experiences with art. This tour reinforces the importance of the art of close looking within the practice of medicine, technical writing, and other fields that require keen observation. 

The Teaching Gallery is an exhibition space in the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum dedicated to presenting works from the Museum’s collection with direct connections to Washington University courses. Teaching Gallery installations are intended to serve as parallel classrooms and can be used to supplement courses through object-based inquiry, research, and learning. Calls for proposals are typically sent out a year in advance (see timeline below), but instructors are encouraged to contact the Museum to discuss proposal ideas. 


Instructors are invited to attend an annual Lunch & Learn in February to learn more about the program and to view the gallery space. 

For questions or to submit a proposal, please contact Dana Ostrander, assistant curator, at 314.935.5663 or 

Study Room

The Museum’s Study Room is a dedicated space to support the teaching of academic courses as well as scholarly research on the collection. Learn more here. 

University eNews

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