January 10 – February 14, 2015
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 10, 7 -9 pm 

Hamiltonian kicks off 2015 with two performance-based art projects that invite community and collaboration into the gallery: Hamiltonian Fellow Naoko Wowsugi and guest performance group Whoop Dee Doo will open a birthday-themed exhibition on January 10, 2015.

Whoop Dee Doo’s birthday-themed Kung Fu performance with Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute and Girlz with Glam will take place at 7:30pm and 8pm. 

From: Naoko Wowsugi

To: Students

Assignment: Happy Birthday

Please celebrate my birthday with a performative/experiential project. I don’t need more material possessions. You don’t need to butter me up. I want experiences as my birthday gifts. They can be happy, strange, surprising, sweet, mysterious, disturbing, or cause mixed feelings. I will be very open-minded and flexible as I receive your gifts.

In 1969, artist Joseph Beuys said, “To be a teacher is the greatest work of art.” In keeping with this sentiment, artist Naoko Wowsugi tasked her Time Based Studio students at American University with a challenge: to celebrate her birthday by gifting her an experience. “Assignment: Happy Birthday” showcases pieces by Wowsugi’s students that challenge traditional hierarchies between teacher/student and the boundaries of the public and the private while poignantly revealing the vulnerability, humor, empathy and playfulness with which Wowsugi teaches with her students.

“Assignment: Happy Birthday” features work by Andrea Gutierrez-Roldan, Tim Hoyt, Randall Lear, Erin Nanney, Tobi Nguyen, David Salgado, Angel Samudre, HwaJin Shin, and Jenny Wu.

Additional contributions created by Sydney Leighton, Madeleine Lowman, Sadie Morrison, Mary Perrin-Key, & Rebekah Pike with students from Time Based Studio Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 at American University; Time Studio Fall 2011 and 2012 at Virginia Commonwealth University; and Digital Photography I Fall 2011 and 2012 at Virginia Commonwealth University.


Whoop Dee Doo will continue the theme of community and collaboration in their birthday-themed installation and performance, working closely with Washington DC-based performance groups to create a unique piece made especially for this exhibition.

Naoko Wowsugi, an artist of Korean-Japanese descent, works with photography, video, and performance as forms of communication. She received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and her BFA from both the Kansas City Art Institute and Osaka University of the Art in Japan. Notable recent exhibitions include “Hands On” at Capital One Art Program in Richmond, VA (2014), and “Make Believe” at The Black Iris Gallery in Richmond, VA (2013). Wowsugi was a Trawick Prize finalist in 2014 and received a Mellon Fund Research Grant through American University. She lives and works in Washington, DC.

Whoop Dee Doo (est. 2006) is a traveling, artist-led project that creates ambitious installations and live performances through universities, festivals, arts organizations, and museums. Led by artists Matthew Roche and Jaimie Warren, Whoop Dee Doo heavily engages the immediate community via partner organizations and often works with underserved youth groups to research, conceive and create their projects. Whoop Dee Doo has created original projects for organizations including the Smart Museum (Chicago), Local Gallery (Sweden), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia, PA), The Contemporary (Baltimore, MD), and others. Whoop Dee Doo is completing a fellowship with Abrons Art Center (New York, NY) in Spring 2015.

Contact Gallery Director Amanda Jirón-Murphy with all press inquiries and image requests: amanda@hamiltoniangallery.com