2017 - 2018
ANNUAL REPORT 2
THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART
Visitor to the exhibition “Looking Life Right Straight in the Face”: The Art of Purvis Young
CONTENTS MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR 6 STAFF 8 BOARD OF ADVISORS 10 NEW FACES 12 MISSION & VISION 14 CAMPUS PARTNERS 16 CULTURAL PARTNERS 18 EXHIBITIONS 20 PROGRAMS 42 CASE STUDY: EXHIBITION PARTNERSHIPS 56 ARTIST RESIDENCIES 58 HOW TO THINK LIKE AN ARTIST 62 CINEMA 64 BLOG POSTS 86 ACQUISITIONS 90 4
LOANS 98 DEPARTMENT LETTERS 100 FINANCIALS 106 GIFTS & GRANTS 108 MAJOR GIFTS 110 STRATEGIC PLAN 112 BLOCK BY THE NUMBERS 114 DOCENTS 116 PRESS 118 PRESS RELEASES 133
Visitor to I Think Weâ€™re Alone Now: MFA Thesis Exhibition THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART
MESSAGE FROM THE
One of the most important roles of an academic art museum at a research university is the nourishing of original scholarship that is field changing. At The Block this takes the form of exhibitions, publications, and opportunities for students and faculty alike to be immersed in the research process and to share that research with a broad public. A hallmark of The Block’s commitment to research is bringing together faculty and students from many fields to combine expertise from multiple points of view. The 2017–2018 year afforded many opportunities to showcase this interdisciplinary leadership. RESEARCH AND RECOGNITION • Our original exhibition William Blake and the Age of Aquarius, drew over 28,000 guests to the museum during its six-month run. This exhibition played to the Block’s strengths, placing art in a broad historic and cultural context by exhibiting together art, archives, popular, and material culture. This innovative scholarship did not go unnoticed, as the exhibition was highlighted in Artforum, and the publication named by art-critic Holland Cotter as one of The New York Times top Art Books of 2017. [Pg. 24] • In Winter 2018, The Block fostered an extraordinary partnership resulting in the exhibition Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt, which included original scientific research and combined scholarship among The McCormick School of Engineering, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Feinberg School of Medicine. The result of original student research and groundbreaking science, the exhibition’s findings made the front page of The Chicago Tribune and the Discovery Channel, amongst dozens of other international outlets. [Pg. 30] • In Summer 2018, The Block Museum received news that the museum was the recipient of a major exhibition implementation grant of $350,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant supports the exhibition Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa opening at The Block Museum in January 2019. An important testament to the museum’s innovative research and broad reach, the NEH is one of the highest platforms for the advancement of groundbreaking scholarship and cultural work. STUDENT LEADERSHIP • Students were also front and center in exhibition building. Julia Poppy an undergraduate art history senior curated “Looking Life Right Straight in the Face”: The Art of Purvis Young, celebrating an extraordinary gift of work from the Selig Sacks Family. Students from Classics and Materials Studies joined together to for a class culminating in Paint the Eyes Softer, while Computer Science students created a first-of-its kind augmented reality accompaniment to the exhibition, and students from Sound Design authored an immersive audio experience. Both of these innovative student projects were recognized with 2018 MUSE Awards from the American Alliance of Museums.
• Our team of student docents from across the campus has doubled in size in the last year and expanded its work to lead tours for the public, for visiting school classes, and for a broad variety of community groups visiting the museum daily. [Pg. 117] • In 2017–18 The Block also partnered with The Graduate School to formalize an interdisciplinary fellowship program—the first of its kind in the nation. The fellowship places a graduate from any department across Northwestern to work on exhibitions and publications, and to use The Block as a laboratory for collecting data. Having students actively involved with every area of The Block is the museum’s highest priority, and it’s the heart and soul of its teaching and learning mission. INNOVATIVE ARTIST RESIDENCIES This year The Block manifested one of its longtime commitments to campus-wide arts engagement and to serving as a university connector through work with contemporary artists. Two unique residencies brought nationally-recognized artists into the research university setting—exposing them to ideas and people they might not otherwise encounter, while introducing academics and students to the creative process and artists’ methods of reframing questions. With support of the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, The Block Museum brought Jen Bervin in Winter Quarter 2018 to teach a course, to lead conversations throughout campus, and to develop a project which took the form of an immersive weekend workshop exploring the University Libraries Special Collections. In Spring 2018 we joined with the McCormick School of Engineering to introduce Dario Robleto as an Artist-At-Large. In addition to public lectures and hands-on workshops, Robleto was given a university-wide “hall pass” to engage in dialogue and research with engineers and scientists across campus. [Pg. 58] THE BLOCK AS A FRAME OF MIND In early 2018 we released The Block Museum as a Frame of Mind: Strategic Plan 2018–2022. This new strategic plan sets out goals that will sustain and amplify the museum over the next five years. We are grateful to the University, to our board, and funders who have allowed us to make great inroads in the plan during its first months of execution. As the Museum takes considered action to continue the successes into 2018–2019, The Block frames its future not as a fixed destination but as a constant reframing of ideas, perspectives, and relationships. [Pg. 112] -Lisa Graziose Corrin, Ellen Philips Katz Director
Block Museum Director Lisa Corrin
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Kate Hadley Toftness speaks with visiting artist Rashayla Brown about Hank Willis Thomasâ€™s work
STAFF ELLEN PHILIPS KATZ DIRECTOR LISA GRAZIOSE CORRIN ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF CURATORIAL AFFAIRS KATHLEEN BICKFORD BERZOCK SUSAN AND STEPHEN WILSON ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF ENGAGEMENT/CURATOR OF PUBLIC PRACTICE SUSY BIELAK SENIOR MANAGER OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS LINDSAY BOSCH SENIOR REGISTRAR KRISTINA BOTTOMLEY ASSISTANT MANAGER OF VISITORS SERVICES AARON CHATMAN COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR CAROLINE CLAFLIN STEVEN AND LISA MUNSTER TANANBAUM CURATOR OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART JANET DEES INTERDISIPLINARY GRADUATE FELLOW BETH DERDERIAN ASSISTANT MANAGER OF NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS BRYCEN DOBY MANAGER OF SECURITY SERVICES JAMES D. FOSTER CURATOR OF ACADEMIC PROGRAMS CORINNE GRANOF DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT THERESA COFFEY
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT HELEN HILKEN REGISTRATION ASSISTANT CARL KAUFFMAN CURATORIAL GRADUATE FELLOW TAMAR KHARATISHVILI CURATORIAL RESEARCH ASSISTANT ALEXANDRIA KOTOCH LEAD PREPARATOR MARK LEONHART ASSOCIATE FILM PROGRAMMER JUSTIN LINTELMAN CHIEF PROJECTIONIST REBECCA LYON PICK-LAUDATI CURATOR OF MEDIA ARTS MICHAEL METZGER ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR JENNA ROBERTSON ASSISTANT REGISTRAR VERONICA ROBINSON ASSISTANT CURATOR ESSI RÖNKKÖ BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR RITA SHORTS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF COLLECTIONS AND EXHIBITIONS MANAGEMENT DAN SILVERSTEIN CURATORIAL ASSISTANT, PERMANENT COLLECTION MELANIE GARCIA SYMPSON COLLECTIONS AND EXHIBITIONS COORDINATOR JOE SCOTT SENIOR BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR JEFF SMITH GRANTS MANAGER/SPECIAL PROJECT ASSOCIATE KATE HADLEY TOFTNESS ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR HOLLY WARREN ENGAGEMENT MANAGER LAUREN COCHARD WATKINS
Janet Dees, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, provides insight into an artwork in the exhibition If You Remember, I’ll Remember (2017). THE BLOCK ART 9 Lauren Watkins works with MUSEUM studentOF docents.
BOARD OF ADVISORS Christine O. Robb Winnetka, IL, Appointed 2011, Chair, Board of Advisors, President and CEO, Artists’ Concepts, Inc. (WCAS’66) (SP WCAS’66) Anu Aggarwal Chicago, IL, Appointed 2015, Art Collector (SP KSM’97) Mary Baglivo New York, NY, Appointed 2017, Vice Chancellor, Marketing and Communications, Rutgers University (MDL’81) Maria Bell Los Angeles, CA, Appointed 2015, President/Founder, Vitameatavegamin (WCAS’85) Christine Bernstein Pacific Palisades, CA, Appointed 2016, Artist (Parent ’17) Stuart H. Bohart New York, NY, Appointed 2016, Former Financial Advisor, Fortress Investment Group (WCAS ’89) Priscilla Vail Caldwell Brooklyn, NY, Appointed 2016, Curator and Advisor, PVC Fine Arts, LLC. (WCAS’85) Stacey Cantor Glencoe, IL, Appointed 2014, Former Public Defender; Community Volunteer (WCAS’90) (Parent ‘20) P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale Evanston, IL, ex-officio, Appointed 2018, Vice Provost for Academics; Frances Willard Professor of Human Development and Social Policy; IPR Fellow (cKSM’16) John Corbett Chicago, IL, Appointed 2013, Gallerist, Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery, and professor (Comm PhD ’94) Lisa G. Corrin Evanston, IL, ex-officio, The Ellen Philips Katz Director of the Block Museum Nicole Druckman Evanston, IL, Appointed 2013, Grant Writer (WCAS’92) (SP WCAS’93) Kristin Peterson Edwards Darien, CT, Appointed 2013, Former Art Dealer; Community Volunteer (WCAS’92) Kate Ezra New Haven, CT, Retired, Former Curator, Yale University Art Gallery (TGS PhD ’83) James Geier Chicago, IL, Appointed 2013, Founder/President, 555 International Lynn Hauser Chicago, IL, Appointed 2012, Retired Ophthalmologist (FSM’74 ’76 ’80) (SP FSM’75 ’79 ’80) Steven P. Henry New York, NY, Appointed 2018, Senior Director at Paula Cooper Gallery (WCAS’85) Ellen Philips Katz New York, NY, Appointed 2005, Trustee, Northwestern University (WCAS’70) Zeynep Keyman Zurich and Istanbul, Appointed 2013, Art Collector, (Parent ’07, ’12) James A. Klein Riverwoods, IL, Appointed 2010, President, Acrobat Marketing Company (MDL ’68; ’69) Dianne Loeb Seattle, WA, Appointed 2014, NU Regent; Community Volunteer (KSM’80) (SP KSM’81) Angela Lustig Chicago, IL, Appointed 2014, Artist; Former VP/Group Creative Director, Abelson Taylor (SP MDL’67 ’68) R. Hugh Magill Winnetka, IL, Appointed 2006, Senior Vice President, Northern Trust Company (SP Music ’86) Kim Allen-Niesen Los Angeles, CA, Appointed 2017, Art Collector (Parent ’16, ’19) Irwin Press Chicago, IL, Appointed 2012, Art Collector, Retired Professor, Notre Dame University; and co-founder, Press Ganey Associates (WCAS ’59)
Block Museum Board of Advisors members review a recent gift of art.
Richard M. Rieser, Jr. Northbrook, IL, Appointed 2013, Founder and former CEO, First Oak Brook Bancshares (SP SESP ’70) Sandra L. Riggs Lake Forest, IL, Appointed 2012, Board Member, The Alumnae of Northwestern University (Comm’65) Selig D. Sacks New York, NY, Appointed 2007, Managing Director and General Counsel, Ruton Capital (WCAS’69) (Parent ’17) Jean E. Shedd Evanston, IL, ex-officio, NU Associate Provost for Budget, Facilities, and Analysis (KSM’97) Diane Solomon New York, NY, Appointed 2012, Art Collector (Parent ’10, ’15) Lisa Tananbaum New York, NY, Appointed 2015, Art Collector (WCAS’86) Martha Tedeschi Cambridge, MA, Appointed 2017, Director of the Harvard Art Museums (WCAS PhD’94) Ken Thompson Lincolnshire, IL, Appointed 2015, Managing Director, Level X Consulting (WCAS ’91) Gilbert Unangst Evanston, IL, Appointed 2013, Project Leader, Boston Consulting Group (KSM ’14) (SP KSM ’14) Sue Wilson Evanston, IL/Santa Barbara, CA, Appointed 2015, Community Volunteer (MDL’70) (SP WCAS’70 KSM’74)
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The Block is more than just a museum. It is the connective tissue to so many other communities at Northwestern. It brings entire departments, disciplines, and schools into conversation. In this way, The Block is transformational. - Jonathan Holloway, Provost
Provost Jonathan Holloway and Lisa Corrin
NEW FACES Michael Metzger Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts A curator, writer, and educator, Metzger joined The Block from Stanford University, where he recently completed his Ph.D. study in the Department of Art and Art History. In 2017, Metzger curated Environmental Exposure: Photography and Ecology after 1970, an exhibition of photographs from the collection of the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford. His dissertation Zoom Epistemologies: Technology, Education, and Representation in the 1970s, focuses on the role of the zoom lens in American postwar experimental cinema, documentary and visual culture.
Kate Hadley Toftness Grants Manager/Special Projects Associate Toftness will cultivate the Museum’s growing foundation and funder relationships and oversee projects that extend the impact and reach of The Block Museum’s work. She most recently served as Archival Collections and Public Engagement Manager for Rebuild Foundation, an arts non-profit on the South Side of Chicago led by artist Theaster Gates. In 2015, she orchestrated the installation of Gates’s major collections in their long-term home at the new Stony Island Arts Bank—establishing the Arts Bank’s core programs, including Community Cataloging, Reading the Black Library, and Glass Lantern Slide Night.
Joseph Scott Collections and Exhibitions Coordinator Scott comes to The Block with over fifteen years of exhibition design experience including work with The University of Chicago Libraries and The Art Institute of Chicago. He will be working closely with our Exhibitions department on the creation of Block Museum exhibitions from inception to installation.
This year The Block was honored to welcome Jonathan Holloway who became Provost of Northwestern University on August 1, 2017. As a scholar Holloway specializes on post-emancipation United States history with a focus on social and intellectual history, and is a strong advocate for the interdisciplinary value of museums. Before moving to Northwestern, Holloway was the Dean of Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies at Yale University. The Block also bid a fond farewell to Jean Shedd, after 19 years of service as Associate Provost, and Helen Hilken, Block Museum Director of Development, after 13 years of service. We wish them both the very best in their retirement.
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STATEMENT The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art enriches teaching and learning on the campuses of Northwestern University and in the communities of their surrounding regions by: • Presenting art across time, cultures, and media; • Convening interdisciplinary discussions in which art is a springboard for exploring issues and ideas; • Collecting art that supports the Northwestern University curriculum.
STATEMENT • To be a dynamic, imaginative, and innovative teaching and learning resource at Northwestern University through an artistic program that is a springboard for thought-provoking discussions relevant to the curriculum and to our lives today. • To inspire and develop a new generation of artists, scholars, and arts professionals by providing experiential learning opportunities bridging the classroom and the world beyond the campus. • To serve as a crossroad between campus and community, by creating an environment where all visitors feel welcome to participate.
“The Block is a beacon for kids who are not just interested in art. The art brings groups of people together.” –Ava Szychalski, Northwestern Student
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CAMPUS PARTNERS 2017–2018 NORTHWESTERN AFFILIATES
DEPARTMENTS & ACADEMIC UNITS
Alumni Relations and Development Black Arts Initiative Block Student Advisory Board Block Student Docents Buffett Institute for Global Studies Bursar’s Takeover Anniversary Committee Campus Inclusion and Community Center for Civic Engagement Center for Science in Society Center for Student Involvement Center for Talent Development Change Makers Chaplain’s Office Colloquium on Ethnicity and Diaspora Community and Neighborhood Relations Global Marketing and Communications Human Resources International Office Kaplan Institute for the Humanities Lipstick Theater Martin Luther King Day Committee Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Multicultural Film Collective Multicultural Student Affairs Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance Neighborhood and Community Relations New Student and Family Programs Norris University Center Northwestern Art Review Northwestern Alumni Association Northwestern Image Lab Northwestern New Music Project Northwestern Press Northwestern University Libraries Office of the Provost Office of Change Management One Book One Northwestern Ordinary Media Residential Colleges Academic Initiatives Residential Life Student Enrichment Services Wirtz Center for Performing Arts Women’s Center Women of Color Gathering WNUR
African-American Studies American Studies Anthropology Art History Art Theory and Practice Bienen School of Music Asian Languages and Cultures Center for Creative Writing Center for Native American and Indigenous Research Center for Writing Arts Civil & Environmental Engineering Classics Comparative Literature Dance Earth and Planetary Sciences English Feinberg School of Medicine French and Italian Gender & Sexuality Global Health Studies Graduate School History International Studies Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Kellogg School of Management Learning Sciences Materials Science McCormick School of Engineering Medill School of Journalism Middle East and North African Studies Music Education NU-ACCESS Performance Studies Philosophy Pritzker School of Law Program of African Studies Programs of Poetry and Poetics Psychology Religious Studies Radio, Television, Film School of Communication School of Education and Social Policy Slavic Languages and Literature Sociology Sound Design / Sound Arts and Industries Spanish and Portuguese Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
Student jazz band plays in the museum during “Hearts & Arts,” a Valentine’s Day event hosted by The Block Student Advisory Board,
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Local artist Melissa Blount poses with community members in front of her Black Lives Matter Witness Quilt.
CULTURAL PARTNERS CHICAGO The Art Institute of Chicago The Arts Club of Chicago Chicago Architectural Biennial Chicago Artists Coalition Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs Chicago Humanities Festival Columbia College DePaul University Hyde Park Art Center Iceberg Projects Intuit Art Center INTIME Performance Festival Japanese American Service Committee Museum of Contemporary Art One State Together in the Arts Oriental Institute, University of Chicago Poetry Foundation Terra Foundation for American Art School of the Art Institute of Chicago Smart Museum of Art University of Illinois at Chicago University of Chicago - UChicago Arts
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL Americans for the Arts American Alliance of Museums Association Art Museum Curators Association of Art Museum Directors College Art Association Museum Computer Network National Arts Marketing Project North American Reciprocal Museum Association Open Engagement Princeton University Press Society for Cinema & Media Studies University of Notre Dame Yale University Art Gallery
EVANSTON & REGIONAL
Associated Colleges of the Midwest Art Encounters Beacon Academy City of Evanston City of Evanston Cultural Arts City Ventures Tours Curt’s Cafe Alliance Deerfield Park District District 65 Foundation Downtown Evanston EdUSA Evanston Art Center Evanston Chamber of Commerce Evanston Community Foundation Evanston Literary Festival Evanston Made Evanston Public Library Evanston Public Schools Evanston Township High School Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Hanover Township Senior Center Highland Park High School James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy Maine East High School Mather Senior Living Merion Senior Center Mudlark Arts Camp Network North New Trier High School Nichols Middle School North Shore Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Northshore Country Day School Northwestern Emeritus Organization OLLI Old Orchard Junior High Optima Horizons Wheeling High School Wilmette Park District Women Make Movies Youth Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) YWCA Zeta Tau Alpha
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EXHIBITIONS William Blake and the Age of Aquarius September 23–March 11 Main Gallery In the summer of 1967, more than 100,000 young people streamed into the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco and the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, as well as Greenwich Village in New York and Old Town in Chicago, to celebrate peace, love, and music. Many of the artists, poets and musicians associated with the “Summer of Love” embraced the work of British visionary poet and artist William Blake (1757–1827) and used it as a compass to drive their own political and personal evolutions. In the fall of 2017, The Block presented William Blake and the Age of Aquarius which explored the impact of British visionary poet and artist William Blake on a broad range of American artists in the post-World War II period. This exhibition was the first to consider how Blake’s art and ideas were absorbed and filtered through American visual artists from the end of World War II through the 1960s. In that time, Blake became for many a model of non-conformity and selfexpression, and was seen as an artist who engaged in social and political resistance in his time. William Blake and the Age of Aquarius considered parallels between Blake’s time and mid-twentieth-century America, touching on such issues as political repression, social transformation, and struggles for civil rights. Blake’s protests against the conventions of his day were inspirational for many young Americans disillusioned by perceived cultural tendencies of social uniformity, materialism and consumerism, racial and gender discrimination, and environmental degradation. This generation sought in Blake a model of independence, imagination, and resistance to authority. The exhibition featured American artists for whom Blake was an important inspiration and included more than 130 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, films, and posters, as well as original Blake prints and illuminated books from collections throughout the United States. The exhibition is curated by critic, activist, and Northwestern Professor of Art History Stephen F. Eisenman in consultation with Corinne Granof, curator of academic programs at The Block. The exhibition was supported in part by the Terra Foundation for America Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, Robert Lehman Foundation, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, and The Alumnae of Northwestern University. The related publication was made possible in part by a gift from Elizabeth and Todd Warnock to the Department of Art History at Northwestern University.
Close looking a Blake’s rare prints included in William Blake and the Age of Aquarius.
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Exhibition curator Stephen F. Eisenman leads a tour of William Blake and the Age of Aquarius.
Exhibition media viewing room. THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 21
“This exhibition, the first to explore William Blake’s impact on 20th-century popular culture, is populated by beats, hippies, poets, rockers and artistic voices of the counterculture. Blake’s protests against the conventions and repressions of his own society became a model for many young Americans, particularly those disillusioned by social conformity, consumerism, racial and gender discrimination, environmental degradation and the Vietnam War.” - Northwestern Professor of Art History Stephen F. Eisenman, exhibition curator of William Blake and the Age of Aquarius
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PUBLICATION William Blake and the Age of Aquarius The Block Museum of Art and Princeton University Press Stephen F. Eisenman With contributions by Mark Crosby, Elizabeth Ferrell, Jacob Henry Leveton, W. J. T. Mitchell & John P. Murphy A stunningly illustrated look at how Blake’s radical vision influenced artists of the Beat generation and 1960s counterculture In his own lifetime, William Blake (1757–1827) was a relatively unknown nonconventional artist with a strong political bent. William Blake and the Age of Aquarius is a beautifully illustrated look at how, some two hundred years after his birth, the antiestablishment values embodied in Blake’s art and poetry became a model for artists of the American counterculture. This book provides new insights into the politics and protests of Blake’s own lifetime, and the generation of artists who revived and reimagined his work in the mid-1940s through 1970, or what might be called the “long sixties.” Contributors explore Blake’s outsider status in Georgian England and how his individualistic vision spoke to members of the Beat Generation, hippies, radical poets and writers, and other voices of the counterculture. Among the artists, musicians, and writers who looked to Blake were such diverse figures as Diane Arbus, Jay DeFeo, the Doors, Sam Francis, Allen Ginsberg, Jess, Agnes Martin, Ad Reinhardt, Charles Seliger, Maurice Sendak, Robert Smithson, Clyfford Still, and many others. This book also explores visual cultures around such galvanizing moments of the 1960s as Woodstock and the Summer of Love. William Blake and the Age of Aquarius shows how Blake’s myths, visions, and radicalism found new life among American artists who valued individualism and creativity, explored expanded consciousness, and celebrated youth, peace, and the power of love in a turbulent age.
“Blake (1757-1827) is in the air these days, as he has been in other culturally inflamed times. In 1948, in a Spanish Harlem apartment, the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg had an auditory hallucination of Blake reciting ‘Ah Sun-flower!’ and other mind-altering verses. That vision changed Ginsberg’s life, and Blake became a touchstone figure for many radical American artists of the 1950s and his destroy-all-tyrants radar continued to burn through the 1960s. It would certainly find appropriate targets today, as is confirmed by this excellent book, the catalog for an exhibition at the Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, through March 18.” -HOLLA ND COT TER, THE NEW YO RK T I M ES, TOP A RT B OOK S OF T H E YEA R
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EXHIBITIONS Carrie Mae Weems: Ritual and Revolution September 12–December 10 Alsdorf Gallery A practicing artist since 1978, Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953) often creates works that blur the lines between fiction and documentary to explore universal human experiences through the black subject. Over the years Weems’s photographic practice has expanded to include video, performance, and multi-media installations. Ritual and Revolution (1998) is an immersive, gallery-sized installation that marks one of the artist’s earliest forays into three dimensions. Composed of 18 diaphanous printed cloth banners organized in a semi-architectural formation and a poetic audio track, Ritual and Revolution explores the historic human struggle for equality and justice, including references to the Middle Passage, the French Revolution, World War II, among others. Carrie Mae Weems’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally since the 1980s and was the subject of a traveling mid-career retrospective, Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video, which culminated with a presentation at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in January–May of 2014. She has received numerous awards including a MacArthur Genius Fellowship in 2013. The Block presented this work for the first time since it entered the museum’s collection. An editioned work, Ritual and Revolution is part of the 2016 gift of 68 works of contemporary art to The Block Museum from art collector, philanthropist, and software innovator Peter Norton. The Block gift is one of a series Norton has made to university art museums throughout the country. The gifts were made in recognition and support of those institutions advancing innovative work to integrate art into teaching and learning across disciplines, foster creative museum practices, and engage audiences with diverse forms of contemporary art. Carrie Mae Weems: Ritual and Revolution was curated by Janet Dees, the Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, with research assistance from summer 2017 undergraduate curatorial interns, Isabella Ko and Nicholas Liou. This exhibition was funded through support from the Alsdorf Endowment and the Bernstein Family Contemporary Art Fund.
Installation view of Ritual and Revolution
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Block Museum Director Lisa Corrin talks about the life and art of Purvis Young in “Looking Life Right Straight in the Face”: The Art of Purvis Young.
“Looking Life Right Straight in the Face”: The Art of Purvis Young September 23–December 10 Katz Gallery This exhibition of paintings and drawings by the self-trained artist Purvis Young (1943–2010) featured works that were a recent gift to The Block Museum with key loans that represent the themes which absorbed him throughout his career. For much of his life Young lived and worked in the Overtown section of Miami. His paintings, rendered in ink or paint on found materials ranging from scrap lumber, manila folders, and wallpaper books, center on a small, repeating group of images that included horses, trucks, trains, lines of people, and close-up images of the faces, sometimes behind bars. Rather than portraying a fantastical, isolated world, Young’s work holds a mirror to both the worlds within and far beyond Overtown, and is a testament to his extraordinary capacity for, as he put it, “looking life right straight in its face.” “Looking Life Right Straight in the Face”: The Art of Purvis Young was organized around a recent gift of Young’s work to the Block Museum by Board of Advisors member Selig Sacks and his wife, Angela. The exhibition was curated by Northwestern University art history major Julia Poppy WCAS ’17.
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Visitors examine Blakeâ€™s etchings in William Blake and the Age of Aquarius.
Debra Kerr, Director of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art and Lisa Corrin, Director of The Block Museum lead a tour through Looking Life Right Straight in the Face.
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EXHIBITIONS Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt January 13–April 22 Alsdorf Gallery Paint the Eyes Softer brought to Northwestern a series of mummy portraits produced in Egypt during the Roman period, a complete intact portrait mummy and other archeological finds from the Fayum region. Combining expertise from across the University—including contributions from classics, art history, sound design, materials science, medicine, archeology, art history and molecular biology—this groundbreaking installation explored how interdisciplinary partnerships can deliver new insights into ancient mysteries. Paint the Eyes Softer presented Roman Egyptian mummy portraits and related materials in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, one of the largest collections of such paintings originating from a single site in the world. Painted on wooden panels between the first and third centuries CE in Tebtunis, Egypt, these visages of the dead were originally secured over the face of the deceased within the mummy wrappings. When these works were excavated at the beginning of the 20th century, they transformed the world with their immediacy, thought to reveal naturalistic, individual likenesses of people who lived 2,000 years ago. Some of the earliest portraits in existence, these paintings offer viewers a face-to-face encounter with the past. The words on one sketch board still bear personal instructions to an artist of an earlier millennium: “(paint the) eyes softer,” it indicates in Greek. The Tebtunis materials were complemented by a mummy of a young girl from the collection of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary on the Northwestern University campus. This complete mummy, known as the Hibbard mummy, with a portrait embedded in its wrappings comes from the site of Hawara, is contemporary to the Berkeley objects, and provided valuable context to the exhibition. Paint the Eyes Softer was co-curated by Marc Walton, Research Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern and Senior Scientist of NU-ACCESS; Taco Terpstra, Northwestern Assistant Professor of Classics and History; and Essi Rönkkö, Block Museum Curatorial Associate. Students enrolled in a Fall 2017 advanced undergraduate seminar worked with exhibition curators to contribute to ongoing research on the portraits, combining materials science, archaeology and museum studies. Students conducted hands-on work in a laboratory environment to assess how ancient materials were made, used and buried and what this data means in a wider archaeological context. In August 2017, researchers worked with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to run a CT scan of the Hibbard mummy. The mummy was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago for the scan where scientists were seeking information regarding the cause of death, the diet and the method of mummy wrapping. The CT analysis revealed compelling areas for further inquiry. These findings allowed the joint engineering and biology research team from Northwestern to secure a visit to the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois. The Hibbard mummy became the first mummy to be analyzed using Advanced Photon Source synchrotron radiation. The high-brilliance X-ray beam has revealed more details about the specific non-organic materials located within the mummy wrappings, and these findings became an integral part of The Block Museum exhibition. The exhibition was organized by The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in collaboration with the McCormick School of Engineering, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Feinberg School of Medicine. Exhibition support for “Paint the Eyes Softer” was provided by the Barry and Mary Ann MacLean Fund for Art and Engineering, the Alumnae Continuing Education program funds of The Alumnae of Northwestern University, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. Additional support was provided by The Block Museum Science and Technology Fund, Alsdorf Gallery at the Block Museum Fund and the Mary and Leigh Block Endowment. Exhibition sound design is thanks to Stephan Moore and students in the Sound Cultures seminar, Northwestern’s School of Communication.
The exhibition mummy during scan at the Feinberg School of Medicine.
Egyptian funerary busts on display in the Block Museum Alsdorf Gallery. THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 31
â€œThis unique exhibition is quintessentially Northwestern, arising from the DNA of the institution that values partnership and interdisciplinary inquiry. Our students and faculty are able to come to significant, field-advancing findings by collaborating across multiple fields of expertise. This exhibition not only brings to Northwestern some of the most significant early portraits in existence, but demonstrates the way that art and engineering can come together in extraordinary ways.â€? - Lisa Corrin, the Block Museum Ellen Philips Katz Director on Paint the Eyes Softer THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 33
EXHIBITIONS Experiments in Form: Sam Gilliam, Alan Shields, Frank Stella January 13–June 24 Katz Gallery Experiments in Form used works in The Block Museum of Art’s collection by Sam Gilliam (b. 1933), Alan Shields (1944–2005), and Frank Stella (b. 1936) as starting points to consider how artists of the 1960s and 1970s challenged the conventions of painting and printmaking. Along with others active at this time, these three artists questioned formal standards, asking whether a painting had to be a flat, rectangular object mounted on a stretcher, affixed to a wall, and viewed from one vantage point; whether paper was only a surface to be painted, printed, or drawn on, rather than a medium for creative manipulation in its own right; or whether there was only one way for a work of art to be installed. Gilliam, Shields, and Stella mixed techniques and media and used novel materials to create works that represented both subtle shifts and radical departures from artistic norms, as well as from their own previous explorations. Stella emphasized the “object-ness” of his art by creating shaped paintings and by including slight three-dimensional effects in his prints. Gilliam employed collage—usually associated with works on paper—in innovative painted canvases. Shields drew on techniques and materials, like sewing and beadwork, from the realm of “craft.” Both Gilliam and Shields abandoned the stretcher to create paintings that behaved like textiles. The ten works in this exhibition spanned from 1964 to 1975, with works from The Block’s collection complemented by loans from institutional and private collections. They were installed in such a way as to encourage close looking. The grouping presented suggestive examples drawn from the vast bodies of work produced by Gilliam, Shields, and Stella in the ’60s and ’70s, while also alluding to the wealth of experimentation undertaken by many during this period. Experiments in Form was inspired by the recent gift to The Block of the painting One (1970), by Sam Gilliam. This work was a donation from the Collection of Walter A. Netsch and Dawn Clark Netsch. The exhibition was curated by Janet Dees, Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and funded through support from The Mary and Leigh Block Endowment.
Exhibition curator Janet Dees discusses Gilliam’s work with Naomi Beckwith, Northwestern alumna and curator at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. 34 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
Sam Gilliam, detail from One (1970), Collection of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 35
â€œThe Block knows its work has to have life and legs beyond its area, to be bigger and broader than just an art museum.â€? - Northwestern Alumna
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EXHIBITIONS Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded April 14–August 5 Main Gallery A practicing artist for over fifteen years, Hank Willis Thomas (American, b. 1976) has consistently explored American consumer culture, particularly as it relates to African-American subjects. His projects often appropriate imagery drawn from advertising campaigns to investigate the subtle and not so subtle ways in which this influential imagery reproduces and reinforces ideas about race and race relations. Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded consisted of a tightly focused selection of approximately 40 photographs from two related bodies of works—the 2005–08 series Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America and the 2015 series Unbranded: A Century of White Women 1915–2015, which draw directly from the visual repertoire of American print advertising. Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America explores fifty years of print advertising targeted towards AfricanAmericans—from 1968, a year of heightened social and political protest that saw the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., until 2008, the year of the election of the first African American president. Thomas digitally stripped these advertisements of all text, including product names and slogans, allowing the impact of their images to be felt more acutely. Unbranded: A Century of White Women 1915–2015 ends with the year in which Thomas finished working on the series, and stretches back to five years before American women gained the right to vote. Like Reflections in Black, the advertising images that are featured in A Century of White Women are stripped of text, heightening our awareness of how we read them as assertions about beauty, desire, virtue, and ideal white femininity. Seen together, the works in these two series offered a unique opportunity to explore the ways in which Thomas interrogates images across subject matter and allows for a complex and nuanced contemplation of the interrelated construction of narratives about race, gender, and class through the vehicle of advertising. By honing in on print advertising, especially drawn from magazines, Thomas also provides an opportunity to reflect on the important role magazines played as a primary form of mass communication during the 20th century. Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded was curated by Janet Dees, Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, with assistance from Tamar Kharatishvili, 2017–18 Block Graduate Curatorial Fellow. Funding for this exhibition was provided by the David C. & Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council Program.
Hank Willis Thomas, The Taming of the Ehent Shrewd hiliquam 1966/2015 fugiae voloria dolescia non con cus, comnis es secest autaspictis net a con [detail], LightJet print, Courtesy the artist estium and quiJack asimi, Shainman sequost od eum comnis et quae poremperes verios que core in 38 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu Gallery, New York.
Hank Willis Thomas discusses his work on the opening day of Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded.
Artist Hank Willis Thomas and Curator Janet Dees tour the exhibition. THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 39
Hank Willis Thomas, Bleach and Glow1975/2008, LightJet print, Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
EXHIBITIONS I Think We’re Alone Now: Art Theory and Practice MFA Thesis Exhibition May 10–June 24 Alsdorf Gallery James Britt, Joe Cassan, Kandis Friesen and Christopher Smith—2018 Master of Fine Arts degree candidates in the Department of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University—presented their thesis projects, concluding two years of intensive artistic development. This year’s thesis exhibition was accompanied by events, programming and a publication conceived by the MFA candidates. This exhibition and the associated events were co-organized by the Department of Art Theory and Practice and The Block Museum at Northwestern University. Support provided by the Norton S. Walbridge Fund; the Myers Foundations; the Jerrold Loebl Fund for the Arts; and the Alsdorf Endowment.
Visitors watch installation video at the opening of I Think We’re Alone Now.
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P RO G R A M S Opening Day Celebration - Art, Music and Aquarius September 23, 10 AM Over 1,000 visitors celebrated the imaginative spirit that unites Blake and the Age of Aquarius. Guests made an original print with Spudnik Press, had poems typewritten just for them with Poems While You Wait, grooved to WNUR DJs and played along with Old Town School of Folk Music Counter Culture Jam Sessions with Jimmy T & Mary Peterson.
Opening Day Conversation - Blake, Now and Then September 23, 2 PM Northwestern Professor of Art History and exhibition curator, Stephen F. Eisenman and W.J.T. Mitchell, editor of “Critical Inquiry” and Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago, explored Blake’s role within his own time, his influence on countercultural American artists of the “long 1960s”, and the question “What is Blake’s relevance to our current moment?” The lecture concluded with reception and WNUR DJ music in the gallery.
Ritual and Revolution: Janet Dees and Grace Deveney on Carrie Mae Weems September 27, 6 PM Janet Dees, Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Grace Deveney, Curatorial Assistant, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and Northwestern Ph.D. Candidate in Art History discussed Weems’s art and her exploration of universal human experiences through the black subject.
Love and Then Some: 1960s Protest and Liberation, Civil & Human Rights October 4, 6 PM Scholars from a range of disciplinary perspectives focused on the moment of the 1960s in the U.S.—considering protest and liberation, civil and human rights. Participating scholars included Michael J. Allen (History), Michael J. Kramer (History and American Studies), Amy Partridge (Gender & Sexuality Studies), and Martha Biondi (African American Studies and History).
Sankofa with Director Haile Gerima in person October 9, 4:30 PM Haile Gerima’s powerful film, Sankofa (1993), is a formally ambitious tale of a plantation slave revolt. The filmmaker was joined post screening by panelists Michael Boyce Gillespie (Film, City College of New York), Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin (Theater and Film Studies, University of Georgia), and Tukufu Zuberi (Sociology and Africana, University of Pennsylvania).
Nelisiwe Xaba’s Fremde Tänze: Panel Discussion October 13, 9:30 AM The 2017 Black Arts Initiative conference, “Temporalities and Territories,” presented a panel of scholars and artists engaging South African dancer Nelisiwe Xaba’s dance performance, Fremde Tänze (Strange Dances). The panel including choreographer/dancer Reggie Wilson, Hershini Young (English, University of Buffalo), Brent Edwards (English, Columbia University), and Aimee Cox (Anthropology, Yale University).
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The Northwestern Black Arts Initiative hosts a panel discussion.
Chicago collective Poems While You Wait creates original poetry for exhibition guests.
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Curator Corinne Granof leads a tour of the fall 2017 exhibition William Blake and the Age of Aquarius.
Ritual and Revolution: Panel Discussion October 13, 2:30 PM The 2017 Black Arts Initiative conference “Temporalities and Territories” presented a panel of scholars considering Carrie Mae Weems’s Ritual and Revolution including Michael Hanchard (Africana and Political Science, Univ. of Pennsylvania), Gina Athena Ulysse (Anthropology, Wesleyan), and Romi Crawford (Visual and Critical Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago).
Saree Makdisi: Beholding William Blake at the End of Empire in the 1960s October 18, 6 PM UCLA Professor of English and Comparative Literature Saree Makdisi discussed the historical parallels between Blake’s era and the 1960s, examining how these concurrent histories are the result of profound changes in politics, economy, art, and society during their respective periods. Presented in partnership with the Department of Art History.
The Art of Purvis Young October 19, 6 PM Lisa Corrin, the Ellen Philips Katz Director of The Block Museum, was joined in conversation by Debra Kerr, Intuit Art Center Director, for a conversation about the exhibition “Looking Life Right Straight in the Face”: The Art of Purvis Young and the life and work of this under recognized American artist.
Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Water Trilogy October 25, 6 PM Abraham Cruzvillegas (b. 1968) is one of the most important conceptual artists of his generation to come out of the vibrant art and architecture scene in Mexico developing work inspired by the improvised building materials of Latin America. Cruzvillegas spoke about a new international series, The Water Trilogy. Presented in partnership with the McCormick School of Engineering. the Department of Art Theory and Practice, and the Chicago Architectural Biennial.
Michael Ferber: The Social Vision of William Blake October 28, 2:30 PM Why has the work of William Blake remained such a vital resource for dissenters, activists, and utopians? Michael Ferber, an antiwar activist during the Vietnam War and a defendant in the “Spock Trial,” explored how Blake’s work reveals connections between art, belief, and action. Organized in conjunction with the Chicago Humanities Festival.
Warnock Lecture: Jean-Louis Cohen on Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture November 1, 5 PM Jean-Louis Cohen is the Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU. In conjunction with the Chicago Architectural Biennial considered the paradoxical transfer between American and Russian architecture and culture throughout the 20th century. This program was organized by the Department of Art History.
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‘Printing in the Infernal Method’: William Blake’s Method of ‘Illuminated Printing’ November 3, 6 PM In 1788 William Blake invented a method of relief etching that he called ‘Illuminated Printing’ making it possible to print both the text of his poems and illustrations of them from the same copper plate. Renowned Blake expert, Michael Phillips (University of York) conceptualized the innovation and Blake’s supreme achievement as an artist-printmaker. Presented in partnership with the Department of Art History.
Stephen Eisenman & Brandan Fernandes on the Visionary Origin of Blake’s Prints November 15, 6 PM Exhibition curator Stephen Eisenman and Brendan Fernandes, printmaker and Visiting Artist in Art Theory and Practice led a gallery talk focusing on the social and political use of the print medium and Blake’s visionary combination of writing and drawing that inspired generations of political art.
Indigenous Artists in Collaboration: Panel Discussion November 29, 4:30 PM Four contemporary Native women artists explored their collaborative practices uniting community and audiences, including Rosy Simas (Seneca, choreographer / performer), Heid Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Chippewa, poet, writer and filmmaker), Andrea Carlson (Anishinaabe, visual artist), and Debra Yepa-Pappan (Jemez, digital multimedia). The artists were joined in conversation by Kelly Wisecup, Associate Professor, Department of English and Bethany Hughes (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), co-founder of the Colloquium on Indigeneity and Native American Studies. Presented in partnership with Northwestern’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.
Blake as Poetic Inspiration January 11, 5:30 PM All experience levels were welcome to a poetry discussion and creative writing workshop sparked by the exhibition, William Blake and the Age of Aquarius. After engaging with the exhibition, participants composed original poems through the lens of the works on view. Led by Maggie Queeney, of the Poetry Foundation. Presented in partnership with the Poetry Foundation.
Curators in Conversation: Behind the Scenes of Roman Egypt Portraiture January 17, 6 PM The Block Museum presented a behind-the-scenes look at Paint the Eyes Softer with archaeologists, art historians, scientists and scholars of the ancient world. Audiences learned from their insights into the Roman past including their discovery of what lies beneath the wrappings of a mummy featured in the exhibition Paint the Eyes Softer. With curators Essi Rönkkö, Taco Terpstra, and Marc Walton in conversation with Emily Teeter, Egyptologist, Oriental Institute.
Rethinking Abstraction and Materiality c. 1970 January 23, 7 PM In conjunction with the exhibition Experiments in Form, Janet Dees, Block Museum curator, and Naomi Beckwith, Museum of Contemporary Art curator and Northwestern alumna, discussed the use of abstraction and materiality in 1970s American painting, including the work of artists Sam Gilliam, Howardena Pindell, and Alan Shields, among others.
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Participants from campus and community join together to sew a Witness Quilt.
Professor Taco Terpstra and student curator in the exhibition Paint the Eyes Softer
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Bienen School of Music students perform the songs of William Blake. 48 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
Warnock Lecture: Facing Objects January 24, 5 PM Art Historian Jeanette Kohl, University of California, Riverside, explored portraiture in the Italian Renaissance, focusing on the intersection of social history and religion. She discussed the form and function of sculpted portraits and their relationship to larger aspects of culture, identity, and aesthetics. This program was organized by the Department of Art History.
Community Event: Witness Quilt January 31, 6 PM William Blake recognized artmaking as a powerful tool to address the pressing social issues of his time. In this spirit, The Block invited campus and community to experience his art and join Melissa Blount, Evanston-based artist and activist and creator of the Black Lives Matter Witness Quilt, to produce a new collaborative work of art. Over 160 people took part in this inspirational event sewing a quilt to honor the lives of women and girls in Chicago who lost their lives to gun violence.
Performance: Blake in Performance, Blake at the End of Times February 7, 6 PM William Blake’s art was experienced through music when students from the Bienen School of Music performed two song cycles inspired by Blake: Benjamin Britten’s 1965 Songs and Proverbs of William Blake and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s 1957 Ten Blake Songs. The performances took place in the museum’s gallery surrounded by Blake’s original works. This program also included an exhibition lecture by Jacob Leveton and John Murphy, Art History Ph.D. students and contributors to the William Blake and the Age of Aquarius exhibition catalog. Presented in partnership with the Bienen School of Music.
Performance: Mad Song February 20, 7 PM Twelve student vocalists from the Bienen School of Music performed Mad Song, a work by Chicago composer, flutist and vocalist Janice Misurell-Mitchell that translates the text and imagery of a William Blake’s poem by the same name into a sonic experience. The performance was preceded by a discussion by Misurell-Mitchell and the performance conductor, A.J. Keller, DMA candidate in Choral Conducting, about the experimental work and its process. Presented in partnership with the Alice Kaplan Institute for Humanities
Reading: The Garden in Winter February 28, 6 PM Inspired by the work of William Blake, poets Ed Roberson, Reginald Gibbons, Rachel Jamison Webster, and Parneshia Jones joined Tristram Wolff, English and Comp Lit professor, for a talk and poetry reading. Wolff discussed the theme of the garden in Blake’s poems, followed by a reading of Blake’s work as well as their own, bringing the light of spring to the heart of winter. Presented in partnership with the Center for the Writing Arts.
Student Talk: Paint the Eyes Softer March 7, 4:30 PM The Block Museum hosted a special talk on Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Ancient Egypt led by exhibition curators and Northwestern students who participated in the development of the exhibition. Audiences learned more from their insights into the Roman past and experienced a participatory augmented reality app that allowed them to look inside the mummy wrappings.
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Curating from the Collection: Scott Krafft and Corinne Granof on William Blake and the Age of Aquarius March 8, 4 PM How does an artist’s work speak across generations? Corinne Granof, Block Museum curator, joined Scott Krafft, curator of Northwestern’s McCormick Library of Special Collections, in an exhibition walk-through focusing on William Blake’s impact on American artists, poets and musicians from the 1940s through the 1960s. They explored themes of rebellion and resistance, hippie culture and youth movements, and parallels between countercultures across centuries.
Tales of Art at the Block March 10, 11 AM Museums are full of stories. Children and caretakers joined us for a read-aloud story time, then took a family-friendly tour of our galleries to uncover more stories hidden beneath the surface of the art at the Block. They explored ancient objects (and a real mummy!) in our exhibition, Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt.
Portrait in the Making: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Paint the Eyes Softer April 4, 4 PM The Block exhibition Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt was highlighted in Newsweek, BBC News, Discovery Channel, Time Magazine, and more. Guests gathered to find out about the science, archaeology, cutting-edge digital technology, and sound design that made this exhibition a viral sensation during an open conversation with the interdisciplinary curatorial team.
Unbranded: Artist talk by Hank Willis Thomas featuring Huey Copeland April 14, 2 PM Hank Willis Thomas has been called “America’s great protest artist.” Over 350 guests joined the artist for an opening conversation on the ways in which his work has addressed advertising, race, gender, and class for the past 20 years. Hank Willis Thomas’s talk was followed by a conversation with Northwestern’s Huey Copeland, associate professor of Art History. This program was supported by a Block Museum Board of Advisors gift in honor of Patrick J. Graziose. Presented in conjunction with the campus-wide celebration of “Arts on Equality.”
Xandra Ibarra: Dwelling Somewhere In Between April 27, 6 PM Audiences joined Oakland-based performance artist Xandra Ibarra (a.k.a. La Chica Boom) for a conversation on her work celebrating the imperfect borders between racial, gender, and queer identities. The talk was the keynote of the 2018 Northwestern Performance Studies graduate student conference and performance festival In Motion: Performance and Unsettling Borders.
Warnock Lecture: Conceptualizing Taxonomy at San Nicola, Bari, ca. 1300 May 2, 5 PM Jill Caskey, Associate Professor of Medieval Art, University of Toronto, discussed the holdings of the great pilgrimage church San Nicola on Italy’s southeast coast and how their presentation has been (re)conceptualized over the course of seven decades. This program was organized by the Department of Art History.
Student participating in Jen Bervin’s immersive workshop “Read With the Spine.” THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 51
Susy Bielak, Parneshia Jones , Ed Roberson and Rachel Jamison Webster led a William Blake inspired poetry reading. 52 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
Opening: I Think We’re Alone Now May 10, 6 PM Audiences gathered at The Block to celebrate the opening of I Think We’re Alone Now, the 2018 Art Theory and Practice MFA Exhibition, featuring James Britt, Joe Cassan, Kandis Friesen, and Christopher Smith. The event was co-organized by the Block Museum and the Department of Art Theory and Practice
Tales of Art At the Block May 12, 11 AM Museums are full of stories. Audiences participated in read-aloud story zones, art-making, and a family-friendly tour of our galleries to uncover more stories hidden beneath the surface of the art at The Block. This program was geared for children ages 3+.
Branding Quality TV May 16, 6 PM How do representations of women of color serve to “brand” TV networks and film studios? Professors Aymar Jean Christian and Miriam Petty screened clips of recent critically acclaimed shows like Insecure and Queen Sugar and discussed how they fit into strategies of major media brands. This screening also included the premiere of a Chicago-made indie TV series developed by Christian. Presented in partnership with the 2018 Evanston Literary Festival.
The Art and Science of Picasso’s Blues July 11, 6 PM Earlier this year, The New York Times reported on a major discovery made by Northwestern scientists, in partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago. An interdisciplinary team had used tools originally developed for medicine, manufacturing and geology to discover hidden details in the Picasso’s paintings and sculptures. Audiences learned more about this fascinating story, which offers new perspective on the art and science of Picasso’s paintings. Allison Langley, Head of Paintings Conservation at the Art Institute of Chicago discussed how new findings shape our historical understanding of Picasso’s life and working methods, while Emeline Pouyet, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Material Science at Northwestern, addressed how she and others applied tools used by NASA to explore the rare materials and underdrawings within Picasso’s work.
Paul Chan: Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization with Curator Michael Metzger July 18, 12 PM Paul Chan (b. Hong Kong, 1973) is an American artist, activist, writer, and publisher. His work reflects a strong commitment to the relation of politics and aesthetics, philosophy and popular culture, art and grassroots activism. His first major artwork Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization presents a 15-minute looped digital Flash animation inspired by the history of utopian thought, the US invasion of Iraq, and Web 1.0 banner ads. In Happiness, Chan communicates a sense of living through a pivotal passage in history. Audiences joined exhibition co-curator Michael Metzger, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts, for a lunchtime tour and discussion of the exhibition.
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The Old Town School of Music leads a jam session at the opening celebration of William Blake and the Age of Aquarius.
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Scientists collect microscopic paint samples from the Hibbard mummy for material analysis.
PARTNERSHIPS CASE STUDY: PAINT THE EYES SOFTER How can a campus art museum serve to facilitate creative, interdisciplinary collaboration? The exhibition Paint the Eyes Softer served as a site of convening for student research and faculty expertise from across the University—including contributions from classics, art history, sound arts, materials science, computer science, medicine, archaeology, and art history—to investigate an ancient Roman-Egyptian mummy “discovered” on Northwestern’s campus. Robust teaching and learning opportunities behind-the-scenes resulted in a rich public exhibition reflecting the diversity of Northwestern’s endeavors and telling the multifaceted story of an ancient artifact through collaborative perspectives. Classes collaborations within the exhibition included:
Materials Science and Socioeconomics of Portrait Mummies from Ancient Fayum Thirteen Northwestern Engineering and Humanities students collaborated on the technical examination of a portrait mummy in a class taught by co-curators Marc Walton and Taco Terpstra during the fall quarter of 2017. Attempting to answer the questions of who this person was and what sort of life she lived, they used noninvasive analytical tools to study the archaeological remains. The results of their research were displayed within the Winter 2017 exhibition.
Augmented-Reality CT Data Visualization One project from the fall 2017 course taught by Marc Walton and Taco Terpstra was to segment CT data of the mummy—which was collected through MRI scan—into surfaces of interest. Using this segmented data, senior Kyle Engelmann, mentored by Professor Oliver Cossairt and Ph.D. candidate Nathan Matsuda in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, developed an interactive visualization as part of an independent study. Engelmann converted the segmented CT data to a polygon surface representation suitable for real-time display, then developed a rendering model emulating X-ray images. This model, combined with Apple’s visual and inertial odometry tools, provides visitors with a hands-on digital window into the internal structure of the mummy.
Museum Sound Design Students from Northwestern’s School of Communication created immersive sound design for The Block exhibition. Taught by Stephan Moore in the Department of Radio/Television/Film, the “Museum Sound Design” course explored contemporary sound design for museum exhibitions through presentations, discussions, field trips, and technical demonstrations. As a final project, students produced creative soundscapes for the exhibition. The curators chose the winning proposal, Thomas Molash’s Abyss, a site-specific multi-channel composition which was heard throughout the exhibition.
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RESIDENCIES JEN BERVIN The Block Museum brought Jen Bervin to campus during Winter Quarter 2018 as part of the Kaplan Humanities Institute’s Artist in Residence program. Jen Bervin is an artist and poet whose research-driven interdisciplinary works weave together art, writing, science and life. Exploring the intersection of traditional craft and cutting edge technology, Bervin’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Des Moines Art Center and Granoff Center for the Arts at Brown University, and has been featured in group exhibitions at MASS MoCA, MCA Denver, The Power Plant in Toronto, and the Walker Art Center. In addition to connecting to Northwestern’s staff, faculty, and students across disciplines, Bervin conducted research for future art projects in the diverse collections of Northwestern University Libraries—finding inspiration everywhere from the John Cage archives in the Music Library to textiles and ancient manuscripts in the Melville J. Herskovits Africana Library. Bervin’s other campus engagement activities included a rich array of programs and learning opportunities, including teaching Advanced Materials, a studio art course focused on the intersections of art and science through exploration of traditional craft and technological innovation. Offered through the Department of Art Theory & Practice in collaboration with the McCormick School of Engineering, the course was open to all Northwestern undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.
Artist Talk with Jen Bervin February 21, 6 PM Artist and writer Jen Bervin embraces subjects as wide ranging as the Mississippi River, Emily Dickinson’s poetry, and the history of silk, weaving, and nanotechnology. The artist joined Jeanne Dunning, Art Theory & Practice professor, and Susy Bielak, Susan and Stephen Wilson Associate Director of Engagement/Curator of Public Practice, for a conversation about her work. Presented in partnership with the Alice Kaplan Institute for Humanities
Read with the Spine: Experiences & Experiments in Northwestern Libraries Collections March 2-3 Bervin’s residency culminated in Read with the Spine an interdisciplinary writing workshop for faculty and students using the Library’s collections. This workshop used the site of the library to explore fundamental questions about human experiences and the nature of books and libraries themselves, such as: What does it mean to listen, especially now? How is a history made, on the human level? What do we keep in our archives and why? Why choose a book as the form for ideas? What is the sensory ecosystem of a library? Working individually and collectively, participants immersed themselves in looking, listening, reading, writing and responding to sites and materials across the libraries.
Artist Jen Bervin
Read with the Spine participants are inspired by the University Library Listening Room. THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 59
Artist Dario Robleto
Dario Robleto leads a computer science workshop.
RESIDENCIES DARIO ROBLETO In Spring 2018 the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and The Block
Museum of Art hosted the artist Dario Robleto at Northwestern to launch a new Artist-at-Large Program. The ongoing Artist-at-Large Program brings contemporary artists to campus for indepth exchanges with faculty and students. Dario Robleto, whose work is born out of cross-disciplinary research and collaboration, was uniquely positioned to serve as the first artist for this initiative. Over the last twenty years, Robleto’s work has explored the intersections of music, popular culture, language, storytelling, and the histories of science and war. He draws upon unconventional materials spanning from archival materials, to meteorites, to heartbeat recordings from the 19th century. A selfproclaimed “citizen-scientist,” Robleto pursues deep collaborations with experts across fields of inquiry spanning astrophysics, cardiology, glaciology, and neuroscience. He has even been an artist-in-residence at the SETI Institute. From late April through the end of May 2018, Robleto was be embedded within Northwestern’s Chicago and Evanston campuses. The artist attend courses, visited laboratories, and met regularly with faculty and students from across McCormick and beyond-including Astrophysics, Bioethics, Cardiology, Computer Science, Neurology, the Segal Design Institute, Sound Studies, and Synthetic Biology, among others.
Unlocking Sounds of the Past April 25, 6 PM Interweaving historical research, poetic storytelling, and innovative audio processing, artist Dario Robleto and media historian Patrick Feaster collaborate to discover the unexpected sounds of our shared past. Robleto’s work has included making audible the world’s first heartbeat recordings, traced in soot from 19th century flames. Feaster and Robleto shared their ongoing research in a fascinating multimedia presentation. This program was co-sponsored by the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, the McCormick School of Engineering and the
Experimental Sound Workshop April 26, 2 PM In an interactive workshop offered to Computer Science students, and the wider University, Robleto and Feaster gave a behind-the-scenes look at their collaborations and experiments to date, offering a window into the technical, conceptual and emotional possibilities of engaging historical media across arts and sciences. Students then had an opportunity to try their own hand at using custom software Feaster has designed for extracting audio from images, interpreted either as spectrograms or waveforms, as well as for manipulating audio through such techniques as “melodization.”
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â€œThe value in intersections lies in enriching how the other side thinks. At a very basic level, the difference between art and engineering is indecipherable. Artists and engineers are all creators, but they often take different paths to that point. I wanted those paths to converge, to enrich each other.â€? -Julio Ottino, Northwestern Engineering Dean on partnering with The Block Museum
THINK LIKE AN ENGINEER
THINK LIKE AN ARTIST At a high level, scientists and artists connect through the need to make things—to enjoy the process of creation for its own sake. In May 2018, Julio M. Ottino, Northwestern Engineering Dean and Lisa Corrin, Ellen Philips Katz Director of The Block Museum of Art, sat down with Northwestern Engineering Magazine to provide a few tips for those looking to expand their creative and analytical thinking and to discuss their ongoing collaboration. The full cover article “Art + Engineering: Northwestern Engineering partners with the Block Museum to inspire a new generation of independent thinkers,” appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of the magazine.
Make Friends with Uncertainty The best ideas come when artists and engineers leave their comfort zones and venture into unknown territory, whether it’s assembling a complex process, designing for a new client, or playing with a new material. “Uncertainty shouldn’t be frightening but exhilarating and energizing,” Corrin says.
Become Familiar with the Unfamiliar, and Vice Versa One person might simply enjoy the image of milk gently mixing into coffee, but a physicist might look at the same image and extract the seeds of understanding how regions can remain unmixed in oceans. “This is the essence of science: finding the simple picture that contains all pictures,” says Ottino, who had this thought himself. Artists do the opposite. “Artists take something cliché and turn it inside out and upside down to get us to see the world anew,” Corrin says. To find the best ideas, do both.
Question, Question, Question There’s no prize for correctly solving the wrong question, Ottino says. For engineers, getting to a solution means finding the real problem, often obscured by the perceived problem. It also requires the constraint of operating within physical realities. Artists approach “problems” from a point of nonconformity. As unconventional thinkers unconstrained by the need for specific, tangible outcomes, they don’t fear being different, a trait that helps them push the boundaries of what’s possible.
Never Be Satisfied with the First Idea Through Ottino’s whole-brain engineering framework, Northwestern Engineering students iterate, prototype, and communicate until they reach a solution that works, aware there may be others. Artists go even further. “Artists take an idea and play it out beyond its conclusion, sometimes until it collapses,” Corrin says. “They say, ‘Let’s do it to death and see how far this can be pushed and what might emerge.
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CINEMA Ministry of Light: Experimental State-Sponsored Films from India, 1968–1975 September 21– September 22 Can cinema make you a good citizen? For a half century, the Indian government hoped so: until 1994, they required commercial cinemas to screen twenty minutes of state-sponsored content before the feature presentation, forcing its movie-mad people to absorb information about the country’s progress and development. In the 1960s, the organization that produced these shorts—Films Division—grew tired of dry documentaries and began to experiment. Its filmmakers played with form, and used diverse modes such as animation, mixed-media, and even claymation, to present a more diverse and ambivalent vision of India to its people. This series presented a selection of Films Division’s sharpest verité and wildest avant-garde shorts, as well as Shyam Benegal’s state-supported masterpiece of alternative cinema, Nishant. Series curated by Simran Bhalla, Ph.D. student in Northwestern University’s Screen Cultures department. Films Division Shorts September 21, 7 PM (various artists, 1966–1975, India, approx. 95 min.) Directors at Films Division, the Indian government’s film production unit, were at the forefront of the country’s cinematic avant-garde. Twenty years after Independence, they reflected on India’s progress with dynamic experiments in film form. These rarely screened shorts are on subjects of development such as family planning, science and technology, and poverty reduction. Characterized by an often psychedelic, postmodern cool, the films also manage to construct sly critiques of the state that sponsored them. Simran Bhalla (series curator and PhD student in Screen Cultures) hosted a conversation with Rochona Majumdar (Associate Professor of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago) after the screening.
Nishant September 22, 7 PM (Shyam Benegal, 1975, India, 140 min.) India’s art house boom of the 1960s and 1970s owes much to the government: many “parallel” or new wave films were funded by the state-run Film Finance Corporation, whose mission was to promote art cinema. Shyam Benegal, one of the leading auteurs of this genre, found support from the FFC for his first two films, allowing him to establish his career. For the third film—Nishant (1975)—he faced red tape, and turned to an advertising agency for money to help complete his film. The result is his most incendiary work of social realism, fiercely critical of the feudal and patriarchal oppression that was still endemic in India. The film features the great stars of Indian art cinema, including Shabana Azmi, Amrish Puri, Girish Karnad, and Naseeruddin Shah, in his first role.
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CINEMA New Docs: Fall October 5–November 9 A film series surveying the contemporary field of professional documentary with filmmakers present for Q&A. Co-presented by Northwestern’s MFA in Documentary Media program. Quest October 5, 7 PM (Jonathan Olshefski, 2017, USA, DCP, 104 min.) Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Full Frame Documentary Festival, Jonathan Olshefski’s first feature follows the North Philadelphia Rainey family over the course of a decade. This intimate cinema verité film is a moving and inspiring look at a remarkable African-American family who are confronted with their own issues and tragedies and yet find the resolve to think beyond themselves to their larger community. Despite their adversities, the Raineys look to the betterment of their neighborhood. In person: editor Lindsay Utz
I Am Not Your Negro October 16, 6:30 PM (Raoul Peck, 2016, USA/Switzerland/Belgium/France, digital, 93 min.) One of the most acclaimed documentaries from 2016, Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro takes as a starting place author James Baldwin’s (Go Tell It on the Mountain) unfinished manuscript for Remember This House. Over the course of the film, Peck uses Baldwin’s observations on his contemporary civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr, on racism in American society and history, and on the depiction of African Americans in cinema. Part history lesson, part biography, part essay, I Am Not Your Negro uses the power and eloquence of Baldwin’s words (both in archival footage of the author himself and as spoken by narrator Samuel L. Jackson) to connect the racial segregation of Baldwin’s youth and young adulthood, though the civil rights era, to our own still racially-troubled contemporary moment. Appearing in person, Raoul Peck was the School of Communication’s 2018 Hoffman Visiting Artist for Documentary Media, funded by a generous gift from Jane Steiner Hoffman and Michael Hoffman. Additional support from Dwight A. McBride, James Baldwin Scholar and former Northwestern TGS Dean/Associate Provost.
El Mar La Mar November 9, 7 PM (Joshua Bonnetta and J.P. Sniadecki, 2017, USA/Mexico, DCP, 94 min.) The sun beats down mercilessly on all those who cross the Sonoran Desert between Mexico and the United States. Aside from the few people who live here, it’s the poorest of undocumented immigrants that make the crossing, who have no choice but to take this extremely dangerous route, followed by border guards both official and self-appointed. El mar la mar masterfully weaves together sublime 16-mm shots of nature and weather phenomena, animals, people and the tracks they leave behind with a polyphonic soundtrack, creating a cinematographic exploration of the desert habitat, a multi-faceted panorama of a highly politicized stretch of land, a film poem that conjures up the ocean.” In person: director J.P. Sniadecki
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FA L L James Baldwin’s writing is the focus of Raoul Peck’s 2016 film I Am Not Your Negro.
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Our Lady of the Sphere (1969)
Our Lady of the Sphere (1969)
CINEMA Songs of Innocence and Experience—Visionary Cinema in the 1960s & 70s October 6–October 13 Two programs presented in conjunction with The Block Museum’s exhibition William Blake and the Age of Aquarius looked at the connections between Blake’s work and American experimental film of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Songs of Innocence and Experience: Experimental Visions—1960s Rock & Roll October 6, 7 PM --- ------- (aka The Rock n Roll Movie) (Thom Andersen & Malcom Brodwick, 1967, USA, 16mm, 12 min.) Jill Johnston Dancing (Andy Warhol, 1964, USA, 16mm, 19 min.) Turn! Turn! Turn! (Jud Yalkut, 1966, USA, 16mm, 10 min.) Coming Down (Pat O’Neill, 1968, USA, 16mm, 4 min.) Print Courtesy of Academy Film Archives Invocation of My Demon Brother (Kenneth Anger, 1969, USA, 16mm, 11 min.) This program explored the influence that the energy and musicality of Blake’s poetry had on a range of countercultural and rock musicians in the 1960s, and on several of the experimental filmmakers who utilized their music. Thom Andersen and Malcolm Brodwick’s cryptically-titled --- ------- (aka The Rock n Roll Movie) is an explosive, almost primal, music film, aided in large part by its dynamic editing. Jill Johnston Dancing is a little known Warhol film that captures Jill Johnston (feminist author and cultural critic) dancing around The Factory. Jud Yalkut’s Turn! Turn! Turn! is a work of visual and sonic sensory overload, as he films light and electronic sculptures. Coming Down, made by optical printer wizard Pat O’Neill, is another proto-music video featuring the experimental music group The United States of America. Experimental film master Kenneth Anger’s Invocation of My Demon Brother is his most scathing pop-culture compendium, featuring satanic burial rites for a cat, footage of the Vietnam War, and a deliberately discordant Moog soundtrack by Mick Jagger.
Songs of Innocence and Experience: Lawrence Jordan October 13, 7 PM Our Lady of the Sphere (1969, USA, 35mm 9 min.) The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1977, USA, 16mm, 42 min.) This program of two seminal works by the great experimental filmmaker Lawrence Jordan showcased his masterful collage animation style. Jordan’s films mirror the mysteriousness and hallucinatory qualities of Blake’s poetry. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is one of his more straightforward films. Based on the poem by Blake’s fellow Romantic, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jordan’s film visualizes the story, with narration by Orson Welles, without losing the poem’s sense of strangeness and wonder. Jordan’s best-known film, Our Lady of the Sphere, follows the travels through space, and perhaps time, of a strange orb-headed being, who might be an explorer or might yield some unknown power over the places visited.
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CINEMA Nigeria in Self-Conversation: The Films of Femi Odugbemi October 26–October 27 The Block welcomed Lagosian filmmaker Femi Odugbemi a leader of the Nollywood film industry for two nights of conversation. He studied film and television production at Montana State University from 1979 to 1983. There he became determined to counter the prevailing derogatory depiction of Africa and its culture in the US press, films, and media. His documentaries make him unique among Nollywood filmmakers who focus on folklore, melodrama, and romance. In 2010 Odugbemi cofounded iRepresent International Documentary Film Forum, where he is also executive director. The forum’s conceptual theme of “Africa in self-conversation” drives its mission to use documentary film as a tool to foster sociocultural education and encourage participatory democracy in Nigeria and other African societies. Presented in collaboration with the Program of African Studies. Documentary Shorts 2005–2016 October 26, 7 PM These three short documentaries highlight Odugbemi’s enduring interest in a wide range of African cultures and communities. Makoko looks at the educational initiatives within a sprawling, neglected fishing community floating on the waste of Lagos. Bariga Boy profiles the leader of the singular Crown Troupe, a dance-theater group combining the biting satire of traditional Nigerian theatre with street culture. In Oui Voodoo, a nonspiritual Beninese man is told he must appease the gods of his ancestors, embodying the spiritual dilemma faced by many Africans. In person: Femi Odugbemi
Gidi Blues October 27, 7 PM (Femi Odugbemi, 2016, Nigeria, digital, 103 min.) Odugbemi’s most recent feature, Gidi Blues, is a buoyant romantic comedy set against the diverse metropolis of Lagos. Akin is a wealthy playboy content to live off his mother forever, but his course is altered when he retrieves the stolen purse of Nkem, a community volunteer in the impoverished village of Makoko. She offers him a glimpse of a better life, but can he become a man worthy of her? Odugbemi deftly weaves class difference into the film, fulfilling his mission to “entertain within a context.” In person: Femi Odugbemi
Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation 2017 November 11, 1 PM & 3:30 PM Called “the premier presenter of avant-garde animation from around the world” by Hyperallergic, Eyeworks is a curated festival that showcases abstract animation and unconventional character animation, and the programs will also screen in Los Angeles and New York City. The 2017 Eyeworks Festival at Block Cinema featured two programs of short films, including work by Hans Richter, Barbara Hammer, Pat O’Neill, Run Wrake, and others. The two lineups include restored films, works from rising names in the field, and premieres of new works. The programs were introduced by festival directors Alexander Stewart and Lilli Carré.
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Filmmaker Femi Odugbemi
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CINEMA New Docs: Winter January 18–February 15 A film series surveying the contemporary field of professional documentary with filmmakers present for Q&A. Co-presented by Northwestern’s MFA in Documentary Media program. The Other Kids January 18, 7 PM (Chris Brown, 2016, USA, DCP, 95 min.) Award winning director and editor Chris Brown’s The Other Kids combines documentary and fiction (he calls it a “fictumentary”) to explore the lives of a group of high school students in Sonora, California. Brown worked with the students to shape fictional situations based on their real lives and experiences, allowing for an intimacy and authenticity that avoids the clichés of many teenage dramas. Through the film’s improvisatory process and documentary-style shooting, Brown and his young collaborators capture “small, revelatory, human moments” that pierce the fiction and connect the characters’ lives, worries, and simple joys to our own. In Person: director Chris Brown
Nuts February 2, 7 PM (Penny Lane, 2016, USA, DCP, 79 min.) Filmmaker Penny Lane describes her documentary on the early 20th century huckster and self-promotion wiz Dr. John Romulus Brinkley as “mostly true.” Fittingly, the film is both the story of Brinkley, who rose to prominence by selling goat testicle transplants as a cure for impotence, and a playful deconstruction of the unreliability of the documentary form. Lane uses animated re-enactments, interviews, and archival footage to document Brinkley’s exploits, and then reveals where and how she’s not been telling the whole truth. It’s a show-and-tell of how media can be used to influence the public, or outright lie, but done so through the tale of a captivating eccentric, a charlatan who promised miracles and built an unrivaled marketing machine for himself. In Person: director Penny Lane
Shorts program February 15, 7 PM This program of recent documentary shorts was focused on the work of Austin, Texas-based couple Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas, who have been receiving extensive praise on the film festival circuit for their semi-ethnographic films shot in Florida. Their three films screened here take as their subjects the elaborate prom preparations by students and parents in the small rural town of Pahokee (The Send-Off); a weekly rabbit hunt in the Everglades by one of those students and his family (The Rabbit Hunt); and the recent phenomenon of gawkers staking out the Palm Beach International Airport, trying to catch a glimpse of Donald Trump on his frequent visits to Mar-A-Lago (Roadside Attraction). Bresnan and Lucas’ verité style treats their quirky subjects respectfully, letting their humanity show through. The program was rounded out by two local films: Milad Mozari’s Standing Nymph and Man is a haunting visual and aural exploration of the landmark Fine Arts building in downtown Chicago; and Rachel Pikelny’s Grace, a powerful and moving portrait a breast cancer survivor who counters her mastectomy through an elaborate tattoo. In Person: directors Patrick Bresnan, Ivete Lucas, Milad Mozari, and Rachel Pikelny
Dig This! Films by Hamid Naficy February 8, 7 PM “Dig This” is the first public presentation of four newly preserved film and video works made between 1969 and 1971 by Northwestern University professor of film and media studies, Dr. Hamid Naficy. Made during the heyday of the counterculture movement in southern California, they provide insight into the social and political concerns of the time. Naficy’s artistic experimentation with early video, computer graphics, and visualization technologies reflects the aesthetic and political focus of his later scholarship. The program encompassed a variety of stylistic approaches including documentary realism, absurdist theater, abstract video, and avant-garde animation.
The Rabbit Hunt (2017)
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CINEMA Inextinguishable Fire: Retrospective of filmmaker Harun Farocki (1944–2014) February 9–March 8 Over nearly 50 years, German documentary filmmaker and essayist Harun Farocki (1944–2014) created more than 100 bold, playful, and cerebral films, videos, and installations. His astute and brilliant observations of the contradictions of German society, politics, and economics, and how these national issues are situated in a global context, quickly distinguished him as a unique and passionate critical voice in world cinema. The film series Inextinguishable Fire provided a concise introduction to the work of this prolific artist through a representative cross-section of his films, from his rebellious 1960s agit-prop short films to later works—biting critiques of the media, consumerist society, and representations of war. Through their formal inventiveness Farocki’s films trouble our usual understanding of the phenomenological and ideological conventions of cinematic representation. This series showcased an artist whose insatiable curiosity and relentlessly skeptical views on German and international politics and society are already sorely missed only four years after his death. Presented in collaboration with the Goethe Institut and the Northwestern Department of German. Curated by Anna Parkinson and Jan Behrs, Department of German. Europe is Burning February 9, 7 PM This program featured several of Farocki’s earliest films, made at a time when his work was at its most overtly political. The Words of the Chairman is an agit-prop “commercial” that demonstrates how words can be weapons as it skewers the Shah of Iran and his wife, who are presented as cartoonish figures. Their Newspapers grew out of the student protests against the Springer press group, whose newspapers were being criticized for their bias. White Christmas uses the iconic Bing Crosby song in a denunciation of the Vietnam War. One of Farocki’s most celebrated films and a masterpiece of essay filmmaking, Inextinguishable Fire concerns the manufacture of napalm, issues of labor and accountability, and the social, political, and corporate structures that normalize the horrors of war.
All-Consuming Shopping Worlds February 22, 7 PM The two films in this program exemplify one of Farocki’s frequent interests: the capitalist and corporatist production, marketing, and consumption of goods and services. These films, and others, look at the systems and structures of local and global economies to reveal the careful constructions of creating and then meeting consumer demands. A Day in the Life of a Consumer is a collage work made from 40-years-worth of advertising films. It constructs humorous “day in the life” of average consumers. The Creators of the Shopping Worlds is an observational look at the planners, managers, analysts, and others involved with designing shopping malls. Customer behavior, human traffic flow, impulse buying, and other aspects of retail experience are identified, studied, and managed to maximize profit.
Catch Phrases—Catch Images March 1, 7 PM The ways in which reality is shaped by media is the connecting subject of these two works. In the short Catch Phrases Catch Images: A Conversation with Vilem Flusser, Farocki interviews the noted philosopher Flusser about the design of the front page of the tabloid newspaper Bild Zeitung—exploring how image and text are inseparable and how those elements are used to shape meaning. Videograms of a Revolution is an exploration of the 1989 overthrow of Romanian leader Nicolae Ceaușescu, drawn from broadcasts of the state television station (which demonstrators had taken over and were using to televise images of the ongoing revolution) and from footage shot by amateur videographers all over Bucharest. The images of the revolution helped shape the revolution itself.
Blind Spots of Memory March 8, 7 PM The limitations of historical memory, and the insufficiency of historical documentation to accurately reflect history, are at the center of these two films that focus on war. In Respite, Farocki charts the transformation of the WWII Dutch refugee camp, Westerbork, first into a Nazi-controlled “transit” camp for Jewish prisoners on their way to concentration camps, and then into a prison work camp once the majority of Jews in the Netherlands had been deported. Traces of documentation both hide and reveal the dark history of the place. The invisibility of, or the unwillingness to see, the visual evidence of the Auschwitz concentration camp in WWII American aerial reconnaissance photographs of the IG Farben factory is the subject of Farocki’s masterful Images of the World and the Inscription of War. Farocki constructs an elegant, thoughtful essay-film on the nature of images, the creation of knowledge, and the ways in which violence is often secretly inscribed in seemingly innocuous places.
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CINEMA Raising Bertie April 5, 7 PM (Margaret Byrne, 2016, USA, DCP, 102 min.) Proving again that the personal is political and the local is universal, this documentary about black teenagers fighting to stay afloat in rural North Carolina covers many urgent and poignant subjects: systemic threats to African American men, women, and families; the fraying of the social safety net, and the grassroots heroes who try to craft substitutes; working-class anxieties beyond urban centers; and daily life in a highly gerrymandered state. First-time director Margaret Byrne earned sufficient trust from her subjects to capture the highs and lows of their lives in tender, specific detail. From Chicago-based Kartemquin Films, this overlooked gem similarly rouses our emotions and our political wills. Co-presented with Northwestern University’s Gender & Sexuality Studies program. In Person: Margaret Byrne
The Wandering Eye: Canyon Cinema in the World April 12, 7 PM Canyon Cinema, the legendary distributor of independent and experimental films, is well known for its deep roots in the world of California artist’s cinema that stretch back to the post-Beat scene of early-1960s San Francisco. But the expansive archive of unique and adventurous films Canyon has built over its 50-year history reveals global horizons refracted through the inquisitive, expressive lenses of its filmmakers. Between Canyon co-founder Chick Strand’s feminist ethnography Mosori Monika, the disquieting postcolonial deliberations of Mark LaPore’s The Five Bad Elements (1997, shown in a restored 16mm print), and the stunning experimental travelogues of Sandra Davis and Robert Fulton, the films in The Wandering Eye investigated how traveling with a camera transforms the world that the filmmaker sees through it. The Canyon Cinema 50 project was organized by the Canyon Cinema Foundation and supported in part by the George Lucas Family Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Owsley Brown III Foundation, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and The Fleishhacker Foundation.
Media arts curator Michael Metzger in conversation. 76 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
Raising Bertie (2016)
Ming of Harlem: Twenty One Storeys in the Air April 26, 7 PM (Phillip Warnell, 2014, UK/USA/Belgium, DCP, 71 min.) British filmmaker and artist Phillip Warnell’s experimental documentary explores the relationship between man and beast through the example of New Yorker Antoine Yates, who shared his Harlem high-rise apartment with Ming, a 500-pound tiger, and Al, a 7-foot long alligator, for five years. Warnell captures this extraordinary story, and moves beyond it to consider broader questions about the ways in which we engage with the natural world, and it with us. Documentary footage is combined with news and archival material and scenes shot in a specifically-constructed set—a replica of Yates’ apartment, where Warnell observes the behavior and reactions of different creatures to this fabricated environment. This event was organized by the Northwestern Image Lab and was sponsored by the French and Italian Department, Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, and RTVF. In Person: Phillip Warnell
Experiments in Form: Cameraless, Hand-Painted and Abstract Films April 6, 7 PM This screening showcased cameraless, abstract and hand-painted films that resonate formally with the works on view in The Block Museum’s exhibition, Experiments in Form: Sam Gilliam, Alan Shields, Frank Stella. This program showcased a 60-year range of films and videos that explore handmade and cameraless approaches to abstraction. Like the artists in the exhibition, these filmmakers use a variety of means to create their visually rich and dynamic abstract imagery. Collectively, these works offered viewers a tantalizing glimpse at the expressive possibilities of the moving image. In Person: Madison Brookshire
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Hank Willis Thomas: Different Image The subversive appropriations of commercial imagery in Hank Willis Thomas’s Unbranded series serve as a launching pad for this series, which looks at the ways filmmakers have used cinema to explore— and to dismantle—socially-imposed images and identities of race, class, gender, and sexuality. The title of the series comes from Alile Sharon Larkin’s singular, under-seen 1982 film A Different Image, in which a young Black woman confronts sexual objectification in both her environment and in her relationships with friends and coworkers. Images create structures of oppression in films as diverse as Todd Haynes’s Safe (1995) and John Carpenter’s They Live (1988), but what these films share above all is the pursuit of visual strategies for creating a disobedient, self-determined image. Safe April 13, 7 PM
(Todd Haynes, 1995, UK/USA, 35mm, 119 min.) Something is amiss beneath the immaculate and suffocating surfaces of Todd Haynes’ celebrated parable, which has been read in many ways: as a postmodern melodrama, an allegory for the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, and an ecological cautionary tale. But the ambiguity of its premise—an upper-middle class housewife (Julianne Moore) radically transforms her life after suffering from an undiagnosable “environmental illness”—also makes Safe a timeless reflection of the struggle of women to define their own self-image in the face of a toxic, oppressive, mediated society.
Chameleon Street April 19, 7 PM
(Wendell B. Harris Jr., 1990, USA, DCP, 94 min.) Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival but then falling into near obscurity, Wendell B. Harris’s Chameleon Street is now considered a classic of 1980s African-American independent filmmaking. Harris wrote, directed, and starred in the film, which is based on a real-life con-man imposter, who successfully passed himself off as reporters, doctors, lawyers, and more. The film touches very directly on themes of race, class, and economics—it’s a work of biting social critique—but Harris also doesn’t lose sight of the absurdity and humor of the material.
They Live May 31, 7 PM
(John Carpenter, 1988, USA, 35mm, 94 min.) The political and social critique of genre master John Carpenter’s science fiction/horror film They Live was timely when it came out and has become even more prescient in the intervening two decades. Since its release, the film has become a cult favorite and a pop-culture reference point for many artists, including Hank Willis Thomas. In the tradition of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Night of the Living Dead (1968), They Live demonstrates that sometimes the most politically subversive films are aimed at the id rather than the intellect.
Different Image/Perfect Image? June 1, 7 PM A Different Image (Alile Sharon Larkin, 1982, USA, 16mm, 52 min.) Perfect Image? (Maureen Blackwood, 1988, UK, digital, 30 min.) Different Image/Perfect Image? brought together two films that depict the ways cultures project standards of beauty and identity onto Black women, while also exploring how photography and cinema can articulate a different image of Black female empowerment. Alile Sharon Larkin’s intimate and nuanced narrative A Different Image emerged from the groundswell of Black independent filmmaking that was the L.A. Rebellion movement of the 70s and 80s. Maureen Blackwood’s playfully postmodern Perfect Image?, meanwhile, finds the director breaking out of the London-based Sankofa Film and Video Collective to explores similar themes within Black diasporic communities in the United Kingdom. Jacqueline Stewart, professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at The University of Chicago, introduced the screening. 78 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
Western May 11, 7 PM
(Valeska Grisebach, 2017, Germany/Bulgaria/Austria, DCP, 119 min.) A group of migrant German workers arrives in a small Bulgarian town to build a hydroelectric dam, but find themselves stymied by a lack of water and concrete. One of the workers, a loner with a murky past, begins building relationships with the locals across the language barrier, only to find himself in a struggle for power and resources with possibly violent consequences. At once a simmering, naturalistic drama about the culture-clashes of contemporary global labor and a note-perfect riff on the archetypes of a venerated genre, Valeska Grisebachâ€™s Western electrified critics and festival audiences, earning a place among the yearâ€™s most compelling international discoveries.
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True Conviction (2017)
Do Not Resist (2016)
Watching the Detectives Recent technological advances have put video cameras in almost every citizen’s pocket, but the stakes of turning the camera against the police remain high. Although narrative cinema and television have dramatized law enforcement since their inceptions, offering audiences the vicarious experience of detection, pursuit, and justice, the American justice system too often remains opaque to real-life scrutiny, a challenge which documentary filmmakers take on in this series.
True Conviction May 3, 7 PM
(Jamie Meltzer, 2017, USA, DCP, 84 min.) Praised by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, the founders and directors of the Innocence Project, Jamie Meltzer’s awardwinning documentary explores the U.S. criminal justice system from a unique perspective. Christopher Scott, Johnnie Lindsey, and Steven Phillips had collectively spent 60 years in prison before being exonerated. After their releases, the trio formed a Dallas, Texas-based detective agency, focused on assisting others they believe to be wrongfully convicted of crimes. Co-sponsored by Northwestern University’s MFA in Documentary Media program, the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, the Social Justice News Nexus at Medill, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. In Person: Jamie Meltzer and Christopher Scott
Red Squad + Tearoom May 17, 7 PM
Red Squad (Steven Fischler, Joel Sucher, Howard Blatt and Francis Freedland, 1972, USA, 16mm, 45 min.) Tearoom (William E. Jones, 2007, USA, digital, 56 min.) Both of the films in this program focused on historical examples of police surveillance, but in radically different ways. Red Squad was produced by Pacific Street Film Collective, formed by long-time friends Fischler and Sucher three years earlier, and the four filmmakers were all recent NYU film school grads. The film’s subject is the New York City Police Department’s Bureau of Special Services, known as the Red Squad, and the surveillance activities they undertake against perceived radicals (African-Americans, leftists, students, activists, and others). The filmmakers become part of their own story when the Red Squad and the FBI begin to target them as well. Filmmaker and artist William E. Jones’s film Tearoom is an act of appropriation and recontextualization. He takes a film shot by the Mansfield, Ohio, police department in 1962, and presents it unaltered.
Do Not Resist May 19, 7 PM
(Craig Atkinson, 2016, USA, DCP, 72 min.) This riveting documentary, a Grand Prize winner at the Tribeca Film Festival, looks at the increasing militarization of police departments across the country in the years following 9/11. Director Craig Atkinson gained first-hand access to those central to the issue, police officers and equipment and technology manufacturers and dealers, at police conventions, equipment expos, and on the ground, including by embedding with several SWAT teams. He chronicles the new state of law enforcement, one that finds it increasingly easy to acquire military hardware, powerful computer tools, and ever-moredeadly weaponry, and that then must make use of them.
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CINEMA Life on the Border: The Cinema of Bahman Ghobadi The Middle East and North African Studies Program and Block Cinema presented a series of screenings and discussions with one of Iran’s leading filmmakers, Bahman Ghobadi. This program was made possible by Tamilla Ghodsi (WCAS ‘91) and Zuleika M. Ghodsi (WCAS ‘93), whose generous gift established the Iranian American Fund for Cultural Programming. A Time for Drunken Horses May 23, 7 PM
(Bahman Ghobadi, 2000, Iran, 35mm, 80 min.) Kurdish-Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi’s first feature is about the hardships faced by Kurdish siblings after their parents’ deaths. Ghobadi’s somber, unvarnished treatment of the lives of this desperate young trio carries on the traditions of the Iranian New Wave, but with a pointed focus on a marginalized ethnicity in Iran. His sensitive depiction of his characters led to a Caméra d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival. Print courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library. Postscreening discussion with Bahman Ghobadi led by Emrah Yıldız (Northwestern University Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Middle East & North African Studies) and Foroogh Farhang (Northwestern University graduate student)
Turtles Can Fly May 24, 7 PM (Bahman Ghobadi, 2004, Iran, 35mm, 98 min.) Bahman Ghobadi’s raw and moving war story was the first film shot in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. It is focused on several children living in a Kurdish refugee camp near the Iran-Iraq border just before the 2003 U.S.-led ground invasion. Satellite, a young teen, is the leader of a gang of kids, who he puts to work clearing land mines that he then sells to arms dealers. Ghobadi’s vision of these children’s lives is a bleak one, but moments of humor, hope, and even fantasy puncture the film’s harshness. Preceded by the Chicago premiere of Sometimes Look Up (Bahman Ghobadi, 2014, digital, 15 min.) Postscreening discussion with Bahman Ghobadi and film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum led by Brian Edwards (Director of Northwestern University’s Middle East and North Africa program)
No One Knows about Persian Cats May 25, 7 PM (Bahman Ghobadi, 2009, Iran, 35mm, 106 min.) All Negar and Ashkan want to do is play music—described as ‘indie rock’—but that’s not so easy to do in contemporary Iran. Like the two earlier films in this series, No One Knows About Persian Cats is a critical look at social and political issues in Iran; New York Times critic A.O. Scott calls it both “seething” and “bouncy.” Narrative tropes familiar in music films—auditions, rehearsals, dealing with bureaucracies, arranging gigs—gain a freshness from the uniqueness of the cultural setting. Persian Cats is another work about hope and perseverance in challenging circumstances. Postscreening discussion with Bahman Ghobadi led by Hamid Naficy (Northwestern University Professor of Radio/ Television/Film) and Simran Bhalla (Northwestern University Ph.D. candidate in Screen Cultures)
Turtles Can Fly (2004)
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2017-2018 MFA in Documentary Media students
NU Docs: Spring Northwestern Universityâ€™s MFA in Documentary Media program presented thesis films produced by its third graduating class. Audiences joined The Block Museum over three nights to watch a wide selection of new short documentaries, hybrid films, and even an interactive project. Guests stayed after the show to engage in dialogue with the filmmakers and celebrate their accomplishments. Program 1: LEGACIES June 13, 7 PM Fountain of Tears (Kyeongbok Lee, 2018, USA, 18 min.) Two Empty Nests (Sandeep Pamulapati, 2018, India/USA, 19 min.) Swan Lake (Yu Bai, 2018, China/USA, 19 min.)
Program 2: BORDERS/EDGES/FRAMES June 14, 7 PM The Schweinfurt Pentalogy - Center (Kai Allen Blakley, 2018, Germany/USA, 20 min.) Roughly Delicate (Heqiuzi Wang, 2018, USA, 14 min.) Book of Daniel (Elodie Edjang, 2018, USA, 11 min.) The B-Roll (Peter Franco, 2018, USA, 15 min.)
Program 3: WHERE WE FIND OURSELVES June 15, 7 PM Whimper (Pam Austin, 2018, USA, 14 min.) In Order (Joyy Norris, 2018, USA, 12 min.) Parallel (Evan Yin Wang, 2018, USA, 18 min.) Castle Boys (Chad Wallin, 2018, Ghana/USA, 20 min.)
CINEMA Films and Videos by David Wojnarowicz and Collaborators July 22, 7 PM David Wojnarowicz is arguably one of the most important artists to emerge from the New York art world of the 1980s. While his work spanned less than twenty years—his life was cut short due to AIDS at the age of 37—from 1979 to 1992 he created a large body of work in collage, paintings, performances, sculpture, writing and video. A series of short works screened in summer 2018 investigated Wojnarowicz’s aesthetics, iconography and individualized, critical response to the political conditions of his time. This screening was presented in partnership with Iceberg Projects in conjunction with their exhibition David Wojnarowicz: Flesh of My Flesh (June 23 – August 4, 2018) Following the screening, Iceberg Projects director Dr. Daniel S. Berger held a conversation with Barry Blinderman, retired director of University Galleries at ISU in Normal, IL. The discussion focused on Blinderman’s experience working with the artist and organizing the historic first museum survey, David Wojnarowicz: Tongues of Flame, in 1990
Self-Portrait of David Wojnarowicz (1983–84)
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BLOG POSTS •
Block Exhibit inspires Black Lives Matter Quilt Sept 5, 2017
Block Museum Work on View At Tate Modern Sept 13, 2017
Northwestern’s Interdisciplinary Strength Shines at Architecture Biennial Sept 18, 2017
Simran Bhalla on the incendiary films of India’s “Ministry of Light” Sept 20, 2017
New gifts to the Block Museum highlighted in fall exhibitions Sept 25, 2017
Susan and Stephen Wilson establish engagement fund at Block Museum of Art Sept 27, 2017
Northern Trust Purchase Prize Announced – Block Museum awarded Rachel Monosov & Admire Kamudzengerere’s “1972” Oct 2, 2017
Kate Hadley Toftness to oversee Grants Program and Special Projects at the Block Museum of Art Oct 4, 2017
WTTW ‘s Chicago Tonight Profiles William Blake and the Age of Aquarius Oct 9, 2017
Meet Block Museum Fellow, Beth Derderian Oct 11, 2017
Are You Experienced? Jimi Hendrix & the Countercultural Politics of the Uncategorizable Oct 16, 2017
Block Museum Board honors former Provost with acquisition of works by Tseng Kwong Chi Oct 18, 2017
Collection Spotlight: Curved Form (Bryher II), Barbara Hepworth Oct 23, 2017
Northwestern Scholars Take on “Love and Then Some” Oct 25, 2017
“Blake, Now and Then” – Opening Day Conversation with Stephen Eisenman and W.J.T. Mitchell Oct 30, 2017
Ritual & Revolution: Janet Dees and Grace Deveney on Carrie Mae Weems Nov 1, 2017
Saree Makdisi on looking to Blake in moments of crisis and transformation Nov 6, 2017
Meet Block Museum Fellow, Tamar Kharatishvili Nov 7, 2017
Collection Spotlight: Untitled (Angel, Boats, and Horse), Purvis Young Nov 13, 2017
Abraham Cruzvillegas Discusses Hope and Resourcefulness Nov 15, 2017
AAMD Centennial Conversations: Lisa Corrin on Her Formative Art Museum Experience Nov 20, 2017
Director Raoul Peck Screens Acclaimed Civil Rights Documentary at Block Cinema Nov 22, 2017
The University Art Museum as a “State of Mind” – Lisa Corrin at Bard Graduate Center Nov 27, 2017
New students visit The Block during Wildcat Welcome, Fall 2017.
Collection Spotlight: Constructed Cylinder, Arnaldo Pomodoro Nov 29, 2017
Lisa Corrin and Debra Kerr on Purvis Young as a witness to his world Dec 4, 2017
The art and science of Roman-Egyptian mummies to be explored in Northwestern exhibition Dec 6, 2017
Exhibition Catalog Now Available: William Blake and the Age of Aquarius Dec 11, 2017
Collection Spotlight: Cherokee Burden Basket: Singing a Song for Balance, Shan Goshorn Dec 13, 2017
Block Museum Catalog Named to The New York Times “Best Art Books of 2017” Jan 3, 2018
The Block Museum and The Graduate School team up to change the face of museum fellowships Jan 8, 2018
Meet Joe Scott, Collections and Exhibitions Coordinator Jan 10, 2018
Block Alumni Update: Claire Kissinger on Cultivating Museum Engagement Jan 15, 2018
Collection Spotlight: Untitled (Chicago), Dawoud Bey Jan 17, 2018
“Tune in” to the sounds of William Blake and the Age of Aquarius with our exhibition playlist Jan 22, 2018
The Timeliness and Timelessness of Carrie Mae Weems: Ritual and Revolution Jan 24, 2018
First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story Jan 29, 2018
Paint the Eyes Softer Mummy Experiment Makes Headlines Around the World Jan 30, 2018
Block Museum explores Harun Farocki’s poetic and political films Feb 5, 2018 THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 87
Read With the Spine workshop goes behind the scenes in the Library.
Apply Now: Read with the Spine: Experiences & Experiments in Northwestern Libraries Collections Feb 7, 2018
Indigenous Artists in Collaboration: A Conversation Feb 12, 2018
Experiments in Form: Rethinking Abstraction and Materiality c. 1970 Feb 14, 2018
Opening Program: Behind the Scenes of Roman Egyptian Mummy Portraiture Feb 19, 2018
Audio for the Ancients: Sound Design Students Create Sonic Landscape for Block Museum Exhibition Feb 22, 2018
Block Board of Advisors donates $1m to establish endowment Feb 26, 2018
Block Museum Pioneers Augmented Reality Software Feb 28, 2018
Visiting artist Jen Bervin weaves interdisciplinary stories across Northwestern Mar 5, 2018
Collection Spotlight: Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe Mar 7, 2018
Block Museum Stages a Blake Inspired “Mad Song” Mar 12, 2018
Jen Bervin Talks Poetry, Material, and Metaphor Mar 26, 2016
Poets Convene to Grow a “Garden in Winter” Apr 2, 2018
Artist Hank Willis Thomas ‘unbrands” advertising culture at the Block Museum of Art Apr 6, 2018
Museum Strategic Plan Released: “The Block As a Frame of Mind” Apr 11, 2018
The Block Museum welcomes Michael Metzger as Curator of Media Arts Apr 16, 2018
Remembrance through Stories and Sewing: Creating a Witness Quilt Apr 18, 2018
Behind-the-Scenes: William Blake Song Suites at the Block Apr 23, 2018
An Archaeology of Advertising: Hank Willis Thomas opens Unbranded at the Block Apr 25, 2018
Collection Spotlight: Constellation Exhibit 1959, Joan Miró Apr 30, 2018
Unlocking Sounds of the Past: Experimental sound workshop with Dario Robleto and Patrick Feaster May 8, 2018
Block Museum of Art Wins Cultural Heritage Media and Technology Awards May 14, 2018
Museum as Catalyst: A Collaborative Case Study May 21, 2018
Dario Robleto and Patrick Feaster on Hearing the Hearts of History May 29, 2018
The Block and MENA host Bahman Ghobadi – the “Poet Laureate of Kurdish Cinema” June 6, 2018
Aymar Jean Christian and Miriam Petty on Intersectional Identities and Peak TV June 11, 2018
Students Measure Public Engagement in The Block Museum of Art June 18, 2018
How to Think like an Artist/Engineer – Tips from Lisa Corrin and Julio Ottino June 25, 2018
Meet our 2018 Summer Interns: Brianna Heath and Zoe Detweiler July 2, 2018
Medill Digital Storytelling Students Take an Interactive Look at Unbranded July 9, 2018
Inside the Art and Science of Picasso’s Blues July 17, 2018
Read with the Spine: Experiences & Experiments in Northwestern Libraries’ Collection July 23, 2018
The Block Museum presents Paul Chan’s Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization July 31, 2018
Collection Spotlight: P-049 Formal Language, IRI = 2, 1970, 1979 Aug 6, 2018
Block Museum of Art Receives $350K in NEH Support for Touring Exhibition Caravans of Gold Aug 13, 2018
Flesh of My Flesh: Barry Blinderman and Daniel Berger on David Wojnarowicz Aug 20, 2018
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AC Q U I S I T I O N S Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976) Ra, 1975 Gouache on paper 43 1/2 x 15 3/4 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Jeffrey H. Loria, 2017.13.2
Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Drop Forge, ca. 1930, printed 2008 Etching 12 × 9 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.4
Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976) Flying Saucers (Soucoupes Volantes), 1969 Lithograph 30 × 22 3/4 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, transfer from the University Archives, 2018.3.1
Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Welding, 1930, printed 2008 Aquatint and etching 6 × 9 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.5
Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976) Flying Saucers (Soucoupes Volantes), 1969 Lithograph 30 × 22 3/4 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, transfer from University Archives, 2018.3.2
Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Number One Broad Street, 1933, printed 2008 Aquatint 12 × 10 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.6
LaToya Ruby Frazier (American, b. 1982) A Message in Nestle Water Bottles from Shea Cobb, Amber Hasan, Macana Roxie and LaToya Ruby Frazier at Sussex Drive and West Pierson Road, Flint MI, 2017 Gelatin silver print 11 × 14 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Lynne Jacobs, 2018.5 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Elverson Building, Philadelphia, 1928/30, printed 2008 Aquatint 9 × 6 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer, 2018.1.1 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Mackerel Boats, late 1920s, printed 2008 Etching 10 × 7 1/2 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.2 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Resting, late 1920s, printed 2008 Etching 8 × 6 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.3
Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Market Wagon, 1933, printed 2008 Etching 9 × 12 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.7 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Road Menders, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Aquatint (mezzotint) 8 × 10 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.8 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Unloading Fish, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Aquatint 9 × 12 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.9 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Bridge Construction, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Etching 19 1/4 × 15 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.10
Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Campaign Headquarters, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Aquatint 10 × 14 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.11 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Campaign Headquarters Pledge, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Aquatint 10 × 12 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.12 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Christmas Window Shopping, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Aquatint 9 × 12 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.13 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) City Scene, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Etching 19 1/4 × 14 7/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.14 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Dockside Worker, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Aquatint 9 × 12 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.15 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Gloucester Boats, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Etching 10 × 7 1/2 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.16 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Mending Nets, 1930, printed 2008 Etching and aquatint 9 × 12 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.17
Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Nude with Book, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Aquatint 10 × 12 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.18 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960 Nude with Fruit Bowl, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Aquatint 8 × 11 3/4 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.19 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Nude with City Scene, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Aquatint 10 × 11 3/4 in. (25.4 × 29.8 cm) Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.20 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Rittenhouse Flower Market, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Etching 5 × 7 1/2 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.21 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Two Nudes, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Etching and aquatint 10 × 14 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.22 Allan Freelon (American, 1895–1960) Surgical Theatre, ca. 1935, printed 2008 Aquatint 10 × 14 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Joel Dryer 2018.1.23 Jackie Hetherington (American, 1935– 1989) Mae, ca. 1985 Woodcut 13 × 9 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ann Zelle 2018.2.1 Jackie Hetherington (American, 1935– 1989) Preacher, ca. 1985 Woodcut 19 × 24 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ann Zelle 2018.2.2
Walter Iooss (American, b. 1943) Untitled from the series Havana, Cuba, 1999 Inkjet print overall: 20 x 24 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ahish Parikh, 2017.17.1 Walter Iooss (American, b. 1943) Untitled from the series Havana, Cuba, 1999 Inkjet print 20 x 24 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ashish Parikh, 2017.17.2 Walter Iooss (American, b. 1943) Untitled from the series Havana, Cuba, 1999 Inkjet print 20 x 24 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ashish Parikh, 2017.17.3 Walter Iooss (American, b. 1943) Untitled from the series Havana, Cuba, 1999 Inkjet print 20 x 24 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ashish Parikh, 2017.17.4 Walter Iooss (American, b. 1943) Untitled from the series Havana, Cuba, 1999 Inkjet print 20 x 24 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ashish Parikh, 2017.17.5 Walter Iooss (American, b. 1943) Untitled from the series Havana, Cuba, 1999 Inkjet print 20 in x 24 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ashish Parikh 2017.17.6
Admire Kamudzengerere (Zimbabwean, b. 1981) Rachel Monosov (Russian, b. 1987) 1972, 2017 Framed set of 23 black-and-white photographs in 16 artist frames with text labels and pins Various sizes Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, purchase funds provided by Northern Trust, Hugh and Nancy Magill and the Andra S. and Irwin Press Collections Fund, 2017.7a–p: First Home, Aug. 21, 1972 A Thought about the Past, the Future, and the Now, Aug. 4, 1972 View on the studio, Aug. 31, 1972 Domboshawa, Aug. 6, 1972 Mbira Players, Aug. 20, 1972 The Chuppah and The Shaman, 1972 Before the Ceremony, Aug. 20, 1972 Lake Chivero, Aug. 31, 1972 Selecting Bricks for Construction of a Future, Aug. 25, 1972 A. with His First Son on Friday Afternoon, Aug. 31, 1972 Lilies, Aug. 20, 1972 Heycocks, Aug. 3, 1972 Before Long Travel, Aug. 23, 1972 Construction, Aug. 24, 1972 Dowry for Marriage, Aug. 18, 1972 Space Cake, Aug. 20, 1972 [Image next page]
“A complex work of performance and photography, 1972 offers an archive of images and text documenting the imagined interracial marriage of an Israeli woman and a Zimbabwean man in rural Zimbabwe in 1972. In reality 1972 was a tumultuous year in Zimbabwe, as a guerrilla-style war of independence escalated and the intermingling of the races was challenged and driven underground by social pressures and government intervention. Together, the photographs and cards, rendered in a style drawn from the past, attest to an intimate personal and domestic narrative, a story both believable and unbelievable at the same time. The black and white prints also serve as photographic self-portraits, as in the course of their creation the artists married, lived together, and built a house in Zimbabwe.” - Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 91
AC Q U I S I T I O N S
“Admire Kamudzengerere and Rachel Monosov’s 1972 is a deeply relevant work and an ideal alignment for The Block Museum, with its emphasis on supporting artists that engage the archive and extend global perspectives. Rich with meaning, 1972 blurs the line between performance and reality and shifts between the past and the present. The images reflect complex histories as well as urgent contemporary issues through their exploration of identity, politics, and society.” - Lisa Corrin, Block Museum Director
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AC Q U I S I T I O N S Alex Katz (American, b. 1927) The Orange Band, 1979 Screen print 40 x 28 1/4 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift from the Collection of Barbara and Alan Goldberg, given by their children, 2017.12 Jaroslav Krupka (Czech, 1884–1947) Dans une vielle cour (Down an old corridor), ca. 1910 Bromoil print 13 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ed Laukes, 2017.15.1 Roger de La Fresnaye (French, 1855–1925) Nature Morte au Pot a Tabac, 1913 Charcoal 18 x 24 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Jeffrey H. Loria, 2017.13.4 Henri Laurens (French, 1885–1984) Nu couche a la draperie, 1954 Bronze 5 1/4 x 13 1/2 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Jeffrey H. Loria, 2017.13.1 Nathan Lerner (American, 1913–1997) Stone Cloud, Nagasaki, Japan, 1976, printed 1980s Gelatin silver print 16 x 20 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ed Laukes, 2017.15.2 Nathan Lerner (American, 1913–1997) Eye on a Window, 1943, printed 1980s Gelatin silver print 16 x 20 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ed Laukes 2017.15.3 Nathan Lerner (American, 1913–1997) Paper on String, 1938, printed 1980s Gelatin silver print 16 x 20 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ed Laukes 2017.15.4
Nathan Lerner (American, 1913–1997) Untitled, 1937 printed 1980s Gelatin silver print 16 x 20 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Ed Laukes 2017.15.5
Leon Lewandowski (American, 1932–2005) Untitled, ca. 1950 Gelatin silver print 14 x 11 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.7
Nathan Lerner (American, 1913–1997) The Round House, Chicago, 1936 (printed 1980s) Gelatin silver print 20 x 16 inches Gift of Ed Laukes, 2017.15.6
Leon Lewandowski (American, 1932–2005) Untitled, ca.1950 Gelatin silver print 14 x 11 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.8
Leon Lewandowski (American, 1932–2005) Jay’s Liquors, Aug. 1952, 1952 Gelatin silver print 11 x 14 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.1 Leon Lewandowski (American, 1932–2005) Picture of Cora Ward, ca. 1950 Gelatin silver print 13 3/4 x 10 3/4 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.2 Leon Lewandowski (American, 1932–2005) Wall, Tree, and Window, ca. 1950 Gelatin silver print 14 x 11 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.3 Leon Lewandowski (American, 1932–2005) Untitled, ca. 1950 Gelatin silver print 11 x 8 1/2 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.4 Leon Lewandowski (American, 1932–2005) Untitled, c. 1950 Gelatin silver print 11 x 14 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.5 Leon Lewandowski (American, 1932–2005) Untitled, ca. 1950 Gelatin silver print 14 x 11 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.6
Leon Lewandowski (American, 1932–2005) Untitled, ca. 1950 Gelatin silver print 6 1/4 x 9 3/8 in Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.9 Hew Locke (British, b. 1959) The Prize from the portfolio Rivington Place, 2007 Plastic items collaged onto 3D silk–screen and digital print 30 x 20 x 5 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, donated to the Block Museum by Kay Deaux, 2017.8 Marino Marini (Italian, 1901–1980) Horse (Cavallo), 1947 Bronze 40 x 36 in x 14 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Jeffrey H. Loria, 2017.13.3 Jim McWilliams (American, b. 1937) Untitled, ca. 1966 19 1/2 x 51 1/2 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Sally and Wynn Kramarsky, 2017.14 Deborah Roberts (American, b. 1962) She’s Mighty, Mighty, 2017 Collage 30 x 22 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, purchased with funds donated by Diane and Craig Solomon 2017.11
Dario Robleto (American, b. 1972) The First Time, the Heart (A Portrait of Life 1854–1913), 2017 Portfolio of 50 photolithographs on hand flamed and sooted paper 11 ½ x 14 ¼ inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Northwestern Engineering, 2018.6 First pulse, 1854 Before and during emotion, 1870 Small sized female, 28, 1886 Pulse of man, 6 feet tall, 1870 Listening to music (Schubert’s “Serenade”) 1880 After exciting news a change occurs almost like that due to fainting, 1870 8 months pregnant, 1870 Mother giving birth, fetal heartbeat (twins,) in utero, 1898 Umbilical cord, first gasp, cutting of cord, 1886 Female, 24, exhaustion with excitement, pulse leaping, 1867 3 months old, sleeping, 1874 10 year old boy, 1886 Threatening a little girl, 10, to go to dentist, 1896
Young girl, 15, heart palpitations, 1886 Riding Bike, 1906 Blowing Whistle in Ear, 1880 Smelling Lavender, 1896 Emotion of fear from shouting of the word “snakes,” 1896 Being shamed/scolded (you behave like a child, you ruin everything for me) 1876 Taking involuntary deep breath while solving multiplication problem, 1879 Exhausted by misery and undernourished; rest and being fed, 1870 Young lady, 28, much debilitated by prolonged mental work, the entertainment of company and the cares of a large household, 1874 After exercise and residence in the country, 1867 Full meal with wine, 1874 Eating chocolate, 1912 Under influence of hiccups, 1886 Smoking a strong cigar, 1874 Experiment with cannabis, (sudden freedom from any usual feeling, beginning to feel and indefinite sensation of comfort), 1874 Happy, 1912 Palpitations (panic attack) 1902 Holding breath while listening to tuning fork, 1880
Before and after draught of hot milk, 1878 Perfect mental repose, 1879 Snoring 1876 Ear lightly touched with feather while sleeping, 1877 Name softly called while sleeping, 1877 Young boy, dreaming, 1877 Arising from sleep, 1876 Faith Religious guilt, 1878 Anger, 1874 Fear, 1912 Irregular pulse from a man, 62, whose work entailed severe bodily labor, 1902 Sadness from listening to a sung melody (Le Vallon) Gounod, 1896 A hard drinker, quite recently a sufferer of sunstroke, 1874 Early Senility, 1870 Heart disease, 1854 Quickened irregular pulse due to a sudden failure of the heart, 1902 Twenty-four hours before death (pneumonia) 1883 Flatline (dying of stomach cancer,) 1870
“Where are the first pulse wave and flatline ever recorded? Whose hearts were the first to offer their form, their remnants of a lived, emotionally complex life embedded in the oscillations of a wavy line? What technology needed to be invented to record the long-thought inaccessible heart? Like the earliest tracing of a hand on an ancient cave wall, these milestones in the history of images should be remembered, honored and empathized with in their ability to universally convey something essential about us over long stretches of time. The First Time, the Heart, brings together the first successful scientific attempts to mark these poles of life.” - Dario Robleto, artist THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 95
AC Q U I S I T I O N S
Tseng, Kwong Chi (Chinese, American, 1950â€“1990) Mt Rushmore, North Dakota (from the series East Meets West a.k.a. Expeditionary Self-Portrait Series), 1986 Gelatin silver print, selenium-toned 36 x 36 inches Purchased by the Block Museum Board Advisors in honor of Provost Daniel Linzer for his dedication to the arts at Northwestern and to the Block Museum of Art 96 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu 2017.4.1
S “The photograph Farewell Uncle Tom is drawn from a series titled Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America 19682008, in which Hank Willis Thomas explores fifty years of advertisements targeted towards and featuring African-Americans. Thomas employs an appropriative strategy in the series, enlarging advertisements and digitally stripping them of all text and identifying characteristics, such as product names, logos, and slogans. Working with advertisements drawn in part from Ebony and Jet, popular magazines directed at an African-American audience, the series hones in on themes of beauty, work, leisure, gender roles, and interracial dynamics. Thomas’s titling of this work in particular, Farewell Uncle Tom, emphasizes the assertively black cultural politics signaled by the couple’s natural hairstyles and dashikis.” - Tamar Kharatishvili, Block Museum Graduate Curatorial Fellow
Niki de Saint Phalle (French, 1930–2002) Nana, undated Marble 14 x 9 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Jeffrey H. Loria, 2017.13.5
Aaron Siskind (American, 1903–1991) New York 48, 1948 Gelatin silver print 10 x 13 1/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.13
Roman Siemianowski (American, b. 1915) Untitled, ca. 1930 Gelatin silver print 7 1/4 x 9 5/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.10
Aaron Siskind (American, 1903–1991) Chicago 15, 1949 Gelatin silver print 9 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.14 Aaron Siskind (American, 1903–1991) Chicago 16, 1952 Gelatin silver print 10 ½ x 13 ½ inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.15
Roman Siemianowski (American, b. 1915) Untitled, ca. 1945 Gelatin silver print 9 1/4 x 7 3/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.11 Roman Siemianowski (American, b. 1915) Untitled, ca. 1945 Gelatin silver print 7 1/2 x 9 5/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.12 Aaron Siskind (American, 1903–1991) Kentucky 13, 1951 Gelatin silver print 13 1/2 x 16 1/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of the family of Joseph Jachna, 2017.9
Aaron Siskind (American, 1903–1991) Mexico, 1961 Gelatin silver print 10 3/8 x 10 1/4 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Steve Nordman, 2017.10.16
Hank Willis Thomas (American, b. 1976) Available in a Variety of Sizes and Colors, 1977–2007 Digital chromogenic print 54 × 50 1/2 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University,Gift of the Block Board of Advisors in honor of Jean Shedd, 2018.4.2 Daniel S. Wang (American, b. 1968) A Ragbox of Overstood Grammars (Box III), 1996–2018 Boxed set of 80 collected works, Dan S. Wang/Propositions Press 2 × 20 1/2 × 16 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 2018.7 Purvis Young (American, 1943–2010) Untitled (The System/Eyes of Authority), ca. 1980s Painting on found board 30 1/2 x 17 3/4 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of David M. Sacks, 2017.16
Hank Willis Thomas (American, b. 1976) Farewell Uncle Tom, 1971–2007 Digital chromogenic print 55 × 46 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of the Block Board of Advisors in honor of Jean Shedd, 2018.4.1
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L OA N S ANDY WARHOL’S AMERICAN ICONS Grand Rapids Art Museum September 30, 2017–March 11, 2018
Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) Unidentified Woman (wearing pearls), 1984 Polaroid 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2008.1.17 Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) Unidentified Woman (wearing pearls), 1984 Polaroid 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2008.1.25 Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) Unidentified Woman (wearing pearls), 1984 Polaroid 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2008.1.27 Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) Carly Simon, 1980 Polaroid 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2008.1.49 Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) Jack Nicklaus, 1977 Polaroid 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2008.1.54 Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) Unidentified Man (thick black hair), 1980 98 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
F RO M T H E M U S E U M COLLECTION
Polaroid 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2008.1.65 Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) Unidentified Man (thick black hair), 1980 Polaroid 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2008.1.69 Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) Unidentified Man (thick black hair), 1980 Polaroid 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2008.1.70 Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987) Liza Minnelli, Halston, Chita Rivera, and Rod Brynner, Undated Gelatin silver print 10 x 8 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2008.1.108 SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER Tate Modern, London, England July 12, 2017–Oct 22, 2017 Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AK February 2, 2018–April 23, 2018 Jeff Donaldson (American, 1932 – 2004) Study for the Wall of Respect (Miles Davis),1967 Oil on heavy cream wove paper with mixed media 24 x 18 inches Purchase with funds from Block Friends of Art 2017.2
DEBORAH ROBERTS: THE EVOLUTION OF MIMI Spelman College Museum of Fine Art January 23, 2018–May 19, 2018 Deborah Roberts (American, b. 1962) She’s Mighty, Mighty, 2017 Mixed media on paper 30 x 22 inches Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, purchased with funds donated by Diane and Craig Solomon
“She’s Mighty, Mighty is part of a series of works in which Roberts portrays young black girls in ways that combine qualities of innocence and resilience in opposition to prevailing stereotypes. The title is drawn from a lyric in the 1977 song Brick House, by the African-American R&B/Funk group the Commodores, and is meant to amplify the strength of the young girl depicted, visually signaled by her stoic gaze and the boxing gloves that adorn her hands. The work includes elements that have multiple meanings, some of which may be in tension with each other and employs some devices that reoccur throughout Roberts’ s oeuvre, particularly the Caucasian arm of the singer/ songwriter/ artist Patti Smith, the screaming monkey, and the use of multi-colored hues to construct the face.” THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 99 - Janet Dees, Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
BLOCK CINEMA Fall 2017 saw Block Cinema continuing to strengthen its important partnerships with Northwestern students and faculty. The academic year began with two nights of state-sponsored films from India, curated by Screen Cultures graduate student Simran Bhalla.The Block’s commitment to representing remarkable cinema across times and cultures continued with October’s two-day retrospective of the films of Nigerian “Nollywood” director Femi Odugbemi, presented in collaboration with Northwestern’s Program in African Studies. Odugbemi appeared at both screenings, which showcased the versatility of this important international filmmaker through his work in fiction and documentary modes. The Block’s exhibition William Blake and the Age of Aquarius provided a launching point for a series of film programs surveying countercultural expression in American underground films of the late 1960s and early 1970s, including classics by Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, Lawrence Jordan, and others. Experimental film was also well represented through the return of Alexander Stewart and Lilli Carré’s adventurous Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, which offered two substantial programs pairing cutting-edge recent work with historically significant films from around the globe. Winter 2018 featured a major collaboration with the Goethe Institut and the Northwestern Department of German on a four-part retrospective of influential filmmaker Harun Farocki. Professors Anna Parkinson and Jan Behrs selected and introduced the films, shedding light on Farocki’s critical media practices and drawing audiences of students, faculty, and community members from Chicago and beyond. Documentary remained an important component of the Block’s winter programming, as demonstrated in our ongoing collaboration with the MFA in Documentary Media program. Spring 2018 marked the first calendar I prepared as incoming Pick-Laudati Media Arts curator. The program took inspiration from the Block’s galleries, first with Experiments in Form: Cameraless, Hand-Painted and Abstract Films, which responded to the works by Sam Gilliam, Alan Shields, and Frank Stella. A series of four screenings inspired by the Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded exhibition brought together narrative films addressing race, gender, and media representation. Our continuing collaboration with Northwestern’s Middle East and North African Studies Program saw the appearance of celebrated Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi for three nights of moving and challenging films reflecting his longstanding engagement with the issue of Kurdish sovereignty in the Middle East. Joined for conversation by Hamid Naficy, noted critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, and MENA director Brian Edwards, Ghobadi reflected for rapt audiences on the continued challenges facing independent filmmakers in Iran. Additional highlights of the Spring included collaborations with the MFA in Documentary Media, the Center for Wrongful Convictions, the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, and the Medill School of Journalism on a screening of True Conviction, a powerful recent documentary depicting stories of three exonerated men; screenings of critically acclaimed recent films, Spettacolo, Western and Raising Bertie, and a visit from director Phillip Warnell to screen his experimental feature Ming of Harlem, an event co-sponsored by the Department of French and Italian and organized by the Northwestern Image Lab. We also hosted, in collaboration with the Northwestern Arts Circle and the Center for Forced Migration, a well-attended screening of artist Ai Weiwei’s recent documentary film Human Flow, which included a live-streamed Q&A. Michael Metzger, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts
C O M M U N I CAT I O N S 2017–2018 was a year of extraordinary growth for the Block Museum’s communications efforts. Press and media attention soared, particularly around the exhibition Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt. The combination of student collaboration, cross-disciplinary research, and new scientific discoveries was a perfect recipe for media success and it was a delight to see The Block Museum’s story featured on the cover of the Chicago Tribune and picked up by the AP, which lead to worldwide stories and video coverage including the BBC, the Discovery Channel, PBS News Hour, Forbes, Newsweek, Time Magazine, USA Today and more. The media coverage represented a fruitful collaboration with the Northwestern University Global Marketing and Communication department who recognized the story as a perfect example of the “Northwestern Direction” – the University’s narrative focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration. In Spring 2018, the Communications Department partnered with the Northwestern Masters of Science in Leadership for the Creative Enterprises, on a new course, “Engagement with Public Culture: A Measurement and Communication Lab at the Block Museum of Art.” The 10-week lab-course sought to scientifically survey and analyze data on The Block Museum’s audiences to learn more about the makeup and motivations of the Museum’s patrons. Lead by Professor Jennifer Novak Leonard, the course gave students an opportunity to engage with metrics needed within an arts organization and to understand public data collection. The course allowed the Museum greater demographic knowledge of its audiences and set a path for further evaluation going forward. As The Block Museum continues to advance in audience evaluation, we celebrate a year where we measured record breaking audiences. Over 46,000 guests visited us during the 2017–18 year, representing a 15% increase over the previous year. Another great success of the 2017–18 year was the completion of a museum-wide rebranding effort which was developed throughout year and announced publicly in September 2018. Created and implemented with the guidance of the Northwestern University Global Marketing and Communications Department, the museum has adopted a new name graphic, a new identifying mark, and a style guide which governs all museum wide written materials and print collateral. Throughout the year we created a vast array of new stationary, new brand materials, and new templates for postcards and programs, that will allow for cohesive messaging across exhibitions and years. 2018–2019 offers the excitement and challenge of implementing the new branding throughout The Block’s communications and launching a new website, to further advance the museum’s recognizable identity within campus and community alike. Lindsay Bosch, Senior Manager of Marketing & Communications
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E N G AG E M E N T In 2017–2018, the Engagement Department continued to build connections across disciplines and across campus, Evanston, Chicago and beyond. CAMPUS CONVENER William Blake and the Age of Aquarius provided fodder for many connections in and outside of the classroom. We worked with faculty across disciplines including American Studies, Art History, Art Theory & Practice, Comparative Literature, English, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and History to integrate the exhibition into their courses, and to lend their perspectives in public programs. Similarly, we collaborated with faculty, students and staff from the Bienen School of Music, Center for the Writing Arts, and Northwestern Press to develop a suite of programs bringing Blake’s work to life—from live performance in the galleries, to current and former poets using Blake’s language to inspire their own. Throughout the year we collaborated with campus partners in myriad ways, including hosting a panel addressing Carrie Mae Weems’s Ritual and Revolution as part of the Black Arts Initiative biannual conference, and hosting a program showcasing the work of Indigenous artists as part of our ongoing commitment to Native and Indigenous artistic practice. For the Hank Willis Thomas exhibition Unbranded, we connected to units and departments on campus spanning Communications, RTVF, Neighborhood and Community Relations, and the Provost’s Office, using Thomas’ work as a springboard into conversations around the ways in which stereotypes function and how race and gender are branded. COMMUNITY BRIDGE-BUILDER This year, we initiated several ongoing programs geared towards people of all ages. In the fall, we instituted participatory projects as a staple of the museum’s opening day celebrations. In this case, using William Blake as a muse, visitors tried their hand at printmaking, received unique poems written just for them, and joined a giant sing-along. In the fall, we also launched Tales of Art at the Block, an ongoing series for families to drop-in for stories, art-making, and tours. In the winter, we hosted Melissa Blount’s Black Lives Matter Witness Quilt, partnering to amplify the reach of her hands-on project. Over one hundred and fifty people joined us in honoring the lives of women and girls whose lives have been lost to violence within the Chicago area. Blount’s project was inspired, in part, by attending sewing circles at the Block with artist Marie Watt in the winter and spring of 2017. ART BRIDGING DISIPLINES Building upon the prior year’s initiative, in 2018 we brought two contemporary artists back to campus for exciting collaborations. With the support of the Kaplan Institute of the Humanities, and working in close partnership with Northwestern Libraries, we hosted artist and poet Jen Bervin for a ten-week residency. A focal point of her residency was a workshop using the site of the library to explore fundamental questions about human experience and the nature of books and libraries themselves. With the McCormick School of Engineering, we launched a new initiative—the Artist-At-Large—with transdisciplinary artist Dario Robleto. Taking on subjects ranging from polar glaciers to time capsules, Robleto’s work across sculpture, installation, and sound intertwines multiple histories. Robleto shared his perspective and practice in presentations to The Graduate School, Bioethics, the Segal School of Design, and Sound Studies. As a key facet of his time on campus, we supported Robleto in connecting him to a range of scientific faculty whose specialties span from cardiology to cell generation. Complementing these significant engagements, we continued to host artists and thinkers at the museum. In the fall, in partnership with Art Theory and Practice and Art History, and in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, we hosted Mexican conceptual artist Abraham Cruzvillegas for a public program and meetings with students. In the summer, we partnered with colleagues in Material Science and the Art Institute of Chicago on a program shedding light on the science behind understanding Picasso’s paintings. Susy Bielak, Stephen and Susan Wilson Associate Director of Engagement/Curator of Public Practice
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Block Museum Student Docent leads hands on artmaking event during the Northwestern Community Picnic.
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Visitors to the exhibition Paint the Eyes Softer view an augmented reality app for a deeper understanding of the exhibition’s scientific findings. The Block Museum’s app was the first nationwide to use Apple’s new augmented reality toolkit within a gallery presentation.
REPORTS C U R ATO R I A L The Block Museum’s curatorial initiatives focus on creating unique opportunities for the direct experience of art and on providing avenues for thinking with and through art about issues of relevance to our lives today. In the academic year 2017–18, The Block Museum’s activities have included the presentation of innovative exhibitions and the expansion of the Museum’s permanent collection. We have also worked with students, through class visits and the Block’s Graduate Curatorial Fellowship and Summer Internship programs. INNOVATIVE EXHIBITIONS The Block Museum presented a wide-ranging series of thought-provoking exhibitions in the 2018 program year. William Blake in the Age of Aquarius, guest curated by Professor Stephen F. Eisenman, with the support of Block Academic Curator Corinne Granof, made visible the inspiration of the great 18th century visionary poet, artist, and political thinker on American artists from the end of World War II through the 1960s. Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt, curated by Northwestern University faculty members Marc Walton and Taco Terpstra and Block Assistant Curator Essi Rönkkö, took an interdisciplinary approach to looking anew at a rare group of Roman era mummy portraits on loan from the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Working at the intersections of art history, archaeology, history, and material science, the curators also engaged students in their research and in the museum-craft of presenting the findings to the public. Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded, curated by Janet Dees, the Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, juxtaposed 40 photographs from two trenchant bodies of work by the artist, Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America and Unbranded: A Century of White Women. SHOWCASING THE COLLECTION The Block’s permanent collection was featured in two exhibitions. Experiments in Form: Sam Gilliam, Alan Shields, Frank Stella, curated by Janet Dees, celebrated an important gift to the collection of the painting One (1970), by Gilliam, which was a donation from the Collection of Walter A. Netsch and Dawn Clark Netsch. “Looking Life Right Straight in the Face”: The Art of Purvis Young featured works to The Block collection generously given by the Selig D. Sacks Family Collection. We are proud that the exhibition was curated by Julia Poppy, an outgoing Northwestern University Art History major, who brought a fresh view to the life of this important self-taught artist. EXPANDING ACQUISTIONS The Block expanded its collection with selective gifts and purchases that strengthened our commitment to supporting teaching and learning by providing access to works of art that inspire close looking and stimulate thinking. The Block was honored to be the 2017 recipient of the Northern Trust Purchase Prize, which supports the acquisition of work by emerging artists at EXPOChicago. This generous award made possible the purchase of 1972, an installation work including 16 photographs by Admire Kamudzengerere (b. 1981, Zimbabwe) and Rachel Monosov (b. 1987, Israel). Other acquisitions included works by Allan Freelon, Deborah Roberts, Dario Robleto, and Dan Wang. A complete list of the year’s acquisitions can be found beginning on page 90. Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs
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FINANCIAL Block Museum revenue increased substantially in the fiscal year 2018; the Block saw increases in, Northwestern support, foundation grants, individual gifts, endowments, and earned income. Foundation support increased the most as The Block received substantial awards for the Upcoming Caravans of Gold exhibition. Northwestern University continues to invest significantly in The Blockâ€™s future. Along with a significant increase in revenue, the Block also had a rise in expenses. This increase in costs was mainly due to Caravans of Gold and other future exhibitions expenditures. The Block was able to add funds to its reserves this year. - Jeff Smith, Senior Business Administrator
*FY 2018 revenue includes grant money raised for FY 2019 projects
REPORTS GRANTS 2017–2018 was an exceptional year for the Block’s grant fundraising. The majority of grant applications submitted by the Block were awarded, for a dollar return exceeding 96% of requested funds (total $698,235). Caravans of Gold received the largest grant in the Block’s history, with an award of $350,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Equally important to this exhibition’s development was the early support from Northwestern’s Buffett Institute for Global Studies, which awarded a total of $200,000 in special project grants over several years to support the Block’s partnerships in Africa. During a year in which federal and state arts funding has been called into question, we are indebted to those who persevered to maintain substantial allocations for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. We are extremely grateful for the support we have received for our exhibitions, publications, and programs, including our largest general operating grant to date from the Illinois Arts Council. Along with a significant grant from the Evanston Arts Council to support local K-12 education outreach, these awards recognize our commitment to serving our communities in Evanston and the Chicago region. - Kate Hadley Toftness, Grants Manager and Special Projects Associate
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H O N O R RO L L O F
$50,000 AND ABOVE Sandra L. Riggs Lisa Munster Tananbaum and Steven A. Tananbaum Terra Foundation for American Art Susan K. Wilson and Stephen R. Wilson
D O N O RS
Art Seminar Group Janet Sally Dumas Kristin Peterson Edwards Judith Rachel Freeman Susan Fuller Cassie Spencer Gavin and Steven J. Gavin Mary Lynn Gibbons and James F. Gibbons Carol Ginsburg and Jerome J. Ginsburg $25,000–$49,999 Mary Ann Grumman and David L. Ellen Philips Katz Grumman Zeynep Yasemin Keyman and Melih Denise M. Gunter Keyman Jean L. Guritz and Gary Robert Guritz Eugene E. Myers Kathleen Harper and Charles H. Harper Andra S. Press and Irwin Press Steven P. Henry Diane Solomon and Craig Solomon Gail Hodges and Tom Hodges Angela Lustig and Dale E. Taylor Nancy Tims Magill and R. Hugh Magill Sharon S. Martin and J. Landis Martin Janis W. Notz and John K. Notz $10,000–$24,999 Katherine Laun Olson Norman L. Olson Marilynn Bruder Alsdorf The Alumnae of Northwestern University Carol J. Narup and Warren G. Petersen Rosalyn M. Laudati and James B. Pick Susan K. Bernstein and Ira J. Bernstein Julie Bernstein and Lawrence Bernstein Karen Richards Sachs and David Allan Sachs Amy O. Geier and James Geier Dianne Dardes Loeb and Stephen B. Loeb Elizabeth Ellrodt and Scott C. Schweighauser Priscilla Vail Caldwell Jean E. Shedd Sanford N. Singer Kenneth N. Thompson $5,000–$9,999 Arete Swartz Warren Anu Aggarwal and Arjun Aggarwal Kim Allen-Niesen and Keith Allen-Niesen $500-$999 Lorinda Ash Leigh Buchanan Bienen and Henry S. Maria Arena Bell and Bill J. Bell Jr. Bienen Christine Meleo Bernstein and Armyan Mary Pick Hines Bernstein Ronald L. Marmer Stacey L. Cantor and Lowell Cantor Vicki L. Sauter and Joseph S. Martinich The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation Nicole E. Rubens Druckman and James N. Mary L. Baglivo and James Meguerian Diane Baraban More Druckman Anne N. Rorimer Edith C. Eisner Susan B. Rubnitz Barbara N. Fuldner Patricia Balton Stratton Hulda B. & Maurice L. Rothschild Martha P. Tedeschi Foundation Sari Klein and James A. Klein The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation Susan Gecht Rieser and Richard M. Rieser Christine Olson Robb and William John Robb Lynn E. Hauser and Neil L. Ross Angela Himsel and Selig D. Sacks Robert F. Vail 108 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
$250-$499 Nancy A. Abshire Kathleen Roy Cummings and Daniel Cummings Sally S. Dobroski and Bernard J. Dobroski Kate Ezra Fran Isaacs Goldstein and Edwin G. Goldstein Christopher P. Huisinga Susan Wascher-Kumar and Prem Kumar Ronna Stamm and Paul Arthur Lehman William R. Levin Kimberly Moy Jane H. Peterson and Lloyd J. Peterson Penelope Rosemont Diane Schneider and Mitchel A. Schneider Margaret Lynn Hughitt and James R. Shaeffer Elizabeth G. Stout William S. Susman Marissa Solomon Sutker and Jake Sutker Marilyn McCoy and Charles R. Thomas Mary Reiley Walsh
S GIFTS OF ART Kay Kujala Deaux Mrs. Joel S. Dryer and Joel S. Dryer Bennett B. Goldberg Bob Hiebert Virginia Jachna Lynne Jacobs Werner Kramarsky Ed Laukes David Levinthal Jeffrey H. Loria Steven Nordman Meera Parikh and Ashish Nimesh Parikh David Sacks Ann Zelle
GRANTS $200,000 AND ABOVE
National Endowment for the Humanities Roberta Buffett Institute of Global Studies
$100,000–$199,999 Terra Foundation for American Art McCormick School of Engineering
$50,000–$99,999 Office For Research, Northwestern University
$25,000–$49,999 Myers Foundations
$10,000–$24,999 Illinois Arts Council Agency Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc. Alumnae of Northwestern Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
$5,000–$9,999 Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation Warnock Publications Fund
Up to $4,999 Evanston Art Council Northwestern University Libraries Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
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MAJOR GIFTS The Block was pleased to announce a number of major gifts in the 2017–2018. We are extraordinarily grateful for these funds which will allow the museum to achieve the ongoing work of its new Strategic Plan. Surpassing its original $15 million fundraising goal, the Block Museum raised $21 million in funds and artworks through July. 31, 2018 for We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern. The Block Museum’s fundraising goal was extended in 2018, continuing the museum’s commitment to the “We Will” Campaign, the University-wide fundraising effort to realize the bold ambitions set forth in Northwestern’s strategic plan.
Block Board of Advisors Endowment Fund In January 2018, The Block Museum of Art announced that members of its Board of Advisors have contributed more than $1 million to establish the Block Board of Advisors Endowment Fund. Income from the fund will support collections, exhibitions, publications and programs that engage students, faculty and the broader community with global art and artists at the Museum and elsewhere on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. “The Block Museum of Art benefits from a visionary Board of Advisors who understand that support of the Museum also leads to broad support of the campus and community that we serve. We are deeply grateful for this gift, which will specifically allow us to expand our globally focused work, bringing the world to Northwestern and Northwestern to the world,” -Lisa Corrin, the Block Museum Ellen Philips Katz Director.
Sandra Riggs Publications Fund The Sandra Riggs fund is dedicated to support the production, publication, and dissemination of scholarly materials and communications associated with The Block Museum collections and exhibitions; commissioned works of art; sponsored academic conferences or coursework, workshops, or other organized activities with art content.
Susan K. Bernstein and Ira J. Bernstein Fund Allocations from the Bernstein fund were presented to The Block Museum of Art in support of research and exhibition in modern and contemporary art.or other organized activities with art content.
Block Museum Student Docent works with a guest at the Witness Quilt sewing event.
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STRATEGIC PLAN 2018-2022
THE BLOCK MUSEUM AS A FRAME OF MIND In March 2018 The Block Museum of Art released a five year strategic plan “The Block Museum as A Frame of Mind.” This new strategic plan sets out goals that will sustain and amplify the museum’s distinctive identity over the next five years. With it, we also embrace Northwestern’s mission to provide an education that prepares our students to live purposefully and to make the world a better and more equitable place for all. The plan is organized around six strategic priorities.
1. Stimulate Student Meaning Making Be a go-to place for student study and research, experiential learning, social gatherings, and discussion of bold, big world issues and ideas.
2. Amplify Faculty Partnerships Be a recognized convener, a valued resource, and a sought-after partner for faculty across Northwestern.
3. Galvanize Community Partnerships Ensure the Block has a stake in Chicagoland’s cultural landscape while making it a relevant art museum for its surrounding communities.
4. Cultivate Global Perspectives Encourage a broad view of human experience, culture, and history, and be a magnet for global exchange by bringing the world to Northwestern and taking Northwestern to the world.
5. Activate Our Unique Identity Fuel, strengthen, and share the Block’s particular model of a campus art museum.
6. Create our Future Maintain momentum and ensure the sustainability of the Block’s work while preserving its core values.
Learn More at http://bit.ly/BlockStratPlan
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BLOCK BY THE NUMBERS: 2017–2018
$24 MILLION $4.5 MILLION ENDOWMENT
OPEN 42 WEEKS OF THE 2017–18 YEAR
46,548 TOTAL VISITORS INCLUDING
PUBLIC PROGRAM ATTENDEES AND
2,797 CINEMA ATTENDEES
407 ANNUAL EVENTS INCLUDING
113 152 107 35 TOURS & RESEARCH VISITS 114 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
6,200 WORKS IN THE COLLECTION 35 BOARD OF ADVISORS MEMBERS 25 FULL-TIME STAFF 30 STUDENT DOCENTS 15 STUDENT WORKERS 2 GRADUATE FELLOWS
101,130 17K 18K
A N N UA L W E B V I S I TO RS
FOLLOWERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
175 ANNUAL PRESS MENTIONS
63 CAMPUS COLLABORATORS 25 PARTNER DEPARTMENTS 15 NATIONAL AND REGIONAL FOUNDATIONS FUNDERS THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 115
“I love docent work! As a theatre major, a lot of my work on this campus revolves around facilitating emotional and intellectual experiences for others. Art can be so intimidating sometimes, and yet so rewarding when we truly engage with it, and it’s a joy to help people with that process.” - Cammy Harris (WCAS ‘19)
DOCENTS About the Docent Program Block Museum docents help fulfill The Block’s mission to be a “teaching and learning resource” within and beyond the Northwestern community. A docent’s role is to be a facilitator of experiences that involve making meaning of works of art. Docents design and lead experiences that will help others interpret artworks and use them as springboard for exploring issues and ideas that are relevant to the contemporary world and which matter to our lives. Docents participate in ongoing training and professional development throughout the academic year. This includes exhibition-specific training with museum curators, helping bolster the docents’ content knowledge of the work on view. The majority of their training, however, focuses on pedagogy, developing facilitation skills, and building a toolkit of tactics for leading thought-provoking and engaging meaning making session with tour groups, no matter the artwork at hand. Through their work at The Block, docents reach a wide range of constituencies. As tour guides, they engage the full breadth of the museum’s audiences, including university students and faculty, elementary and high school-age students, and adult visitors. Beyond tours, docents also support the museum’s public programming. For instance, in 2017–2018 a team of student docents helped to pilot a new family program series called Tales of Art at the Block; working closely with the Engagement Department, they helped give shape to that interactive program and serve as the primary facilitators. Finally, in their public-facing role, docents also serve as ambassadors, representing The Block within the museum and as they participate in other communities on campus and beyond. In all aspects of their work, docents work to share the Block as a resource, a space for art and dialogue, and a free and public space where all are welcome. - Lauren Watkins, Engagement Manager
Kelsey Allen-Niesen, 2019 (Asian Language and Culture) Maddy Ashmun, 2019 (Economics) Jessica Baldinger, 2019 (Theatre, Art History) Lois Biggs, 2020 (Comparative Literature) Alexis Bullock, 2020 (Art Theory and Practice, Psychology) Meghan Considine, 2020 (Communications/Performance Studies, Art History, Minor in the Kaplan Humanities Center.) Brian Rogers Cook, 2020 (Communication Studies and Theatre) Florence Fu, 2018 (Art History, Journalism) Rachel Gradone, 2019 (Industrial Engineering, Art History) Matthew Guzman, 2018 (Middle Eastern and North African Studies) Cammy Harris, 2019 (History, Theatre) Emily Hollingworth, 2019 (Music and Arts Administration) Isabella Ko, 2020 (Art History and French) Kristine Liao, 2020 (Journalism and International Studies) Nicholas Liou, 2020 (Art History) Alex Muller, 2020 (Journalism, Film, and Design) Montgomery Nelson, 2019 (Art History, Political Science) April (Xueyang) Peng, 2020 (Art History) James Tsui, 2020 (Biology, Art Theory and Practice) Nicole Wallace, 2018 (English) Moling Zhang, 2019 (Math, Economics, Mathematical Methods in Social Science) Harriet (Zhan) Zhao, 2019 (Economics and Psychology) THE BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART 117
PRESS Wall Street International: Paint the Eyes Softer (Sept 2, 2017) “The exhibition will foreground innovative techniques for the scientific study of objects and reveal to the public how partnerships between art historians, archaeologists, and material scientists can provide new revelations about these ancient artworks.”
Blouin ARTINFO: Top Attractions in Chicago by the Director of Expo Chicago (September 5, 2017) “‘Opening during Expo Art Week are numerous events including a special exhibition by Gaetano Pesce at The Peninsula Hotel Chicago; Roman Ondák: ‘Man Walking toward a Fata Morgana’ at the Arts Club of Chicago; ‘Carrie Mae Weems: Ritual and Revolution’ at The Block Museum; Emmanuel Pratt: ‘Radical [Re]Constructions’ at The SMART Museum, David Hartt’s ‘in the forest’ at the Graham Foundation and the final weeks of Takashi Murakami’s ‘The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.’” - Tony Karman, President and Director, Expo Chicago
Community Rejuvenation Project: Legacies of Respect: Legacies of Respect: Culture, Politics, Art, and the Community Mural Tradition (September 7, 2017) “’Northwestern professor Rebecca Zorach organized the symposium at the university’s Block Museum to honor the 50th Anniversary of the creation of the WoR. I was honored to present alongside original WoR artists such as Abdul Alkalimat, as well as the heirs to their legacy, known as the Children of the Wall of Respect. Important aspects of this legacy highlighted during the symposium included the focus on the guerilla aspect of community retaking public visual space; the additional methods to engage the community through performances and music on-site; and the need for these strategies to give voice to the voiceless and collectively empower the disenfranchised.”
Chicago’s North Shore: 7 Unique Museums on Chicago’s North Shore (September 7, 2017) “If you ever find yourself at Northwestern, don’t leave without first visiting this art museum. Not only can you view pieces from around the world, but you can also listen to lectures, take part in workshops, and watch a variety of films.”
Blouin ARTINFO: Top Places to Visit in Chicago by John Corbett (September 7, 2017) “Up on the north side, there’s Evanston, which is a nice lakefront suburb and home to Northwestern University, where you can visit the Block Museum of Art.”
Evanston Now: Evanston rates tops for senior living (September 11, 2017) “’To get your fine arts fix for free,’ Hanowell says, ‘visit the Block Museum of Art on the campus of Northwestern University, within a fifteen minute bus ride from both The Merion and Ten Twenty Grove.’” -Charles Bartling
NS Magazine: Haute Hippies (September 2017) “’Blake is someone who believed that the most important thing people can do is to create a society based upon love and genuine human need.’ [exhibition curator Stephen Eisenman] says. ‘In an age of growing inequality like ours, Blake’s in a voice that needs to be heard.’” -Kerrie Kennedy
Time Out Chicago: To Do: The best art exhibits in your area (September 2017) ““Though he died in the 1800s, the work of English poet and painter Blake took on new significance when it was embraced by artists associated with 1967’s Summer of Love. The Block collects groovy post-World War II works inspired by his prose, as well as a selection of Blake prints and illuminated books.”
Artforum: “William Blake and the Age of Aquarius” (September 2017) “This erudite Summer of Love golden-anniversary exhibition places the Beat-generation muse, proto-hippie, politically radical poet-engraver, and generally unclassifiable William Blake in the context of twentieth-century American art and popular culture. Exuberance is beauty!” -J. Hoberman
Chicago Sun-Times: Fall Entertainment Preview–Visual Arts (September 14, 2017) “Artistic and cultural influences come from sometimes surprising places. So, it was with William Blake (1757-1827), an unconventional English poet, painter and printmaker, who turned out to be a powerful source of inspiration for the counter-culture artists, poets and musicians during San Francisco’s Summer of Love in 1967.” 118 blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
Chicago Reader: Ten best bets for fall visual arts (September 15, 2017)
“William Blake was the artist of the century—and that’s not the 18th or 19th, when he was alive, but the mid-20th, more than 100 years after he died. This exhibit at the Block lays out how the Romantic figure influenced the seemingly unRomantic midcentury American period.” -Tal Rosenberg
Splash Magazines: “William Blake and the Age of Aquarius” Preview - The Block Museum to host a blockbuster exhibition (September 19, 2017) “The exhibition ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius’ will be complemented by a variety of engagement programs throughout Fall 2017 and Winter 2018, which use the exhibition as a springboard to explore Blake’s continued contemporary influence, the relationship between image and text, and the resonance of the art and politics of Blake’s work.” -Debra Davy
Chicago Magazine: Ten Things to Do This Week in Chicago (September 20, 2017)
“For years, Blake was just another genius artist who died in obscurity. But during the Summer of Love in 1967, the work of the 19th-century mystic, printmaker, and poet was adopted as hippie credo. In the first exhibit of its kind, Blake’s psychedelic artwork and poetry are paired with works by those they inspired: Jimi Hendrix, Diane Arbus, Allen Ginsberg, Agnes Martin, and more.”
Crain’s: The best events in town this week–and beyond (September 20, 2017)
“The exhibit juxtaposes Blake’s visual-art prints and illuminated poetry with fine-art and pop-culture objects from beat, hippie and rock-and-roll eras to illustrate his influence. And now that they mention it, there really is something psychedelic about ‘Tyger, tyger, burning bright.’” -Graham Meyer
Evanston RoundTable: Block Museum to Present ‘Blockbuster’ Exhibit on William Blake (September 20, 2017)
“...countless artists, radicals, critics, and connoisseurs have discovered Blake’s intense and passionate vision and radical approach to art and verse, especially in the second half of the 20th Century, said chief curator Stephen Eisenman, Professor of Art History at Northwestern. As he writes in the exhibit catalogue: ‘…every generation that needs a model of independence, imagination, and resistance to law and authority turns to [Blake].’” -Les Jacobson
Evanston Now: Wilsons establish engagement fund at Block Museum (September 22, 2017)
“The Wilson Fund will endow the leadership position of the Block Museum engagement department, which oversees museum-wide education, programming, partnerships and communication efforts. The gift will also provide additional support for public programs and engagement between the museum and the larger Northwestern campus and community, including funding for youth educational programs. It is these community collaborations, such as the Block’s long-term partnership with the Evanston-based youth development agency Youth Opportunity United (Y.O.U), that will be expanded and deepened through the Wilsons’ gift.” -Stephanie Kulke
The Daily Northwestern: Alumni donate $1.5 million to establish engagement fund at Block Museum (September 25, 2017)
“’We are honored by (the Wilsons’) recognition of the Block Museum as a site of innovative teaching and learning experiences for both our students and our community,’ Block director Lisa Corrin said in the release. ‘This visionary gift will help ensure meaningful engagement with art through partnerships and will expand the reach and impact of our programming.’” -Maddie Burakoff
Art Daily: Block Museum explores ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius’ (September 26, 2017)
“The first exhibition to consider the impact of Blake on American artists from the end of World War II through 1970, the show features more than 150 paintings, drawings, photographs, films, posters and other medium from the 50s, 60s and 70s and more than 50 rare Blake rare engravings and pages from illuminated books which have been loaned from major collections including The Rosenbach in Philadelphia and the Yale Center for British Art.”
North by Northwestern: Block Museum celebrates the legacy of William Blake (September 26, 2017)
“Next to the impressively large number of pieces by Blake, the exhibition includes a range of works from mid-20th century America: copies of On The Road and Howl by Beat authors Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, album artwork for The Doors, and an untitled engraving and drypoint by Pollock...These are all emphasizing Blake’s influence on literary, musical and visual art.” -Elizabeth Cameron
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Chicago Reader: Carrie Mae Weems reshapes history in her image at the Block Museum (September 26, 2017) “By inserting herself into the piece through her image and her voice, Weems also serves as an observer of past events. She bears witness to a 1963 civil rights demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama; she’s among Hopi women in Arizona. Weems has said that she’s not a political artist, though one can’t help but view her work through that lens. She’s clearly concerned with understanding humanity, exposing our darkest moments, and helping to envision new realities. In an era that feels plagued by defeats, the historical struggles depicted in Ritual and Revolution are a helpful reminder of how much has already been won.” -Kerry Cardoza
The Daily Northwestern: New Block Museum exhibition combines 18th century, contemporary art (September 27, 2017) “The Block Museum of Art is reviving the legacy of William Blake in an interdisciplinary exhibition that draws parallels between the artist’s work during the Romantic era and pieces he inspired modern artists to create.” -Jane Yun
Duke Today: Sotheby’s prize recognizes forthcoming Nasher Museum exhibit on Latin American influence on pop art (September 28, 2017) “The exhibit also marks the 50th anniversary of social unrest throughout the Americas, a time when artists used Pop to resist dictatorships in Brazil and Argentina, to support the Cuban Revolution, to criticize aggressive state modernization and violence in Mexico and Colombia, and to battle for civil rights in the United States. Pop América will open in October 2018 in San Antonio, Texas, at the McNay Art Museum, which is partnering with the Nasher Museum to stage the exhibition. After visiting the Nasher, it will travel to the Block Museum at Northwestern University.”
The Economist: Sotheby’s launches a new prize for cutting-edge curators (September 28, 2017) “The 2018 Sotheby’s Prize will be shared by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (MCA) and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, two American institutions that are planning shows of under-represented areas of art history. ‘Many Tongues: Art, Language and Revolution in the Middle East and South Asia’ curated by Omer Kholeif , a Cairo-born scholar who is now at the MCA, will open in October 2019. “Pop América: 1965-1975” will open in October 2018 at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, before moving to the Nasher Museum and then on to the Block Museum at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois almost a year later.” -F.R.
NewCity Film: Film 50 2017: Chicago’s Screen Gems (September 28, 2017) “What’s kept Beste going for over twelve years? She says, ‘At its core, it’s the films and artworks themselves. I love the work. At the same time, it’s this ongoing engagement with a medium that’s constantly changing—in terms of its technology, the way it engages audiences, viewers, and users, and its impact on contemporary life.’” -Amy Beste in conversation with Ray Pride
The Allen Ginsberg Project: Friday’s Weekly Round-up (September 29, 2017) “The exhibition, curated by Northwestern University art professor, Stephen F Eisenman, is a breakthrough exhibit, exploring, for the first time, ‘the impact of British visionary poet and artist William Blake on a broad range of American artists in the post-World War II period’ (notably, but by no means confined to, Allen Ginsberg and fellow members of the Beat Generation – Allen as promoter and propagandist, conduit and curator, of Blake’s continuingly advancing reputation).”
Hyperallergic: Art Movements (September 29, 2017) “Susan and Stephen Wilson donated $1.5 million to the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University.” -Tiernan Morgan
Clef Notes: Art (September 2017) “William Blake and the Age of Aquarius will consider parallels between Blake’s time and mid-twentieth-century America, touching on such issues as political repression, social transformation, and struggles for civil rights.” -Isaac Jacobs
Northwestern Department of Art History: 2016-2017 Newsletter (September 2017) “Berzock co-curated the exhibition Kader Attia: Reflecting Memory with Art History Ph.D. candidate Antawan Byrd and Block Museum curator Janet Dees. The exhibition was on view at the Block during Fall Quarter 2016. The museum received a National Endowment for the Humanities Planning Grant for Berzock’s forthcoming exhibition, Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Medieval Trans-Saharan Trade, which will open at the Block in January 2019.”
WTTW: Block Museum Explores William Blake’s Influence on the Age of Aquarius (September 28, 2017) “I think we’re kind of in a good moment where Blake needs to be revived, we need examples of cultural figures who could stand up and resist the authority and power of their times. And we need cultural models of people like Blake who celebrated people regardless of their religion, their race, their color, their national origin. He, one of his lines of poetry he says that ‘whether you be Christian, Turk’—he meant Muslim—or Jew ‘if you have peace, love and pity in your heart, then you are someone to be loved.’”
Art Daily: Donors Susan and Stephen Wilson establish engagement fund at Block Museum of Art (September 30, 2017) “The Wilson Fund will endow the leadership position of the Block Museum engagement department, which oversees museum-wide education, programming, partnerships and communication efforts.”
Culture Type: New Season, New Art: Fall Begins with 45 Notable Exhibitions Featuring Works by Black Artists (September 30, 2017) “’Ritual and Revolution’ by Carrie Mae Weems was acquired by the museum in 2016 as part of a gift of 68 works from collector Peter Norton. Created in 1998, the three-dimensional, gallery-sized installation was created in 1998 and ‘explores the historic human struggle for equality and justice, including references to the Middle Passage, the French Revolution, [and] World War II.’” -Victoria Valentine
Northwestern Now: Northwestern engineer’s innovative design exhibited as art (October 2, 2017) “The McCormick School of Engineering has long been a leader in multi-disciplinary innovation, intersectional research and ‘whole-brain engineering,’ and it is partnering increasingly with other fields of study, like art. In fact, Northwestern Engineering collaborates with Northwestern’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art to bring artists to campus to expose students to their processes while offering artists opportunities for their work to be nourished by interactions with Northwestern faculty.” -Storer Rowley
Art & Education: Block Museum at Northwestern University Receives Donation for Community Engagement (October 2, 2017) “The $1.5 million donation will permanently establish the Susan and Stephen Wilson Block Museum Engagement Fund, which will expand museum-wide education, programming, and partnerships and communication between Northwestern and organizations in the Evanston, Illinois community.”
Chicago Reader: Take a trip and trip out to ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius’ (October 4, 2017) “Blake’s revival came at a dark moment in U.S. history, between McCarthyism sweeping away homosexuals and communists and Vietnam war protests reaching a fever pitch. Wielding Blake as a cultural weapon meant one had the power to ask, What is the political dimension of the imagination?” -Jason Foumberg
Chicago Magazine: Art History Professor Stephen Eisenman on His New William Blake Exhibition (October 5, 2017) “You can find the ideas of the summer of love in Blake almost 200 years earlier—peace, love, rejection of oppressive individualism, rejection of war, rejection of hyper rationalism, legalism, the military industrial complex.” -Stephen Eisenman in conversation with Christian Belanger
Michael J. Kramer: Are You Experienced? Jimi Hendrix & the Countercultural Politics of the Uncategorizable (October 5, 2017) “Refusing to be pinned down to any conventional ideology or political position—Hendrix variously resisted being narrowed down to a Black Panther, New Leftist, former Army paratrooper, guitar-god, a hippie utopian, or any other recognizable position—he instead fingered the limits of freedom, its jagged edges of distortion and electricity.” -Michael J. Kramer
Inside Philanthropy: Funded Mandate: A Closer Look at a Campus Gift for Arts Engagement (October 5, 2017) “Nonetheless, the gift does something relatively unique in an arts philanthropy space obsessed with engagement: It creates an engagement fund mandating the museum engage the community—and provides a roadmap for it to do so.” -Mike Scutari
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Daily Northwestern: NU professors discuss changes in political, cultural climate in the 1960s (October 5, 2017) “The event, titled ‘Love and Then Some: 1960s Protest and Liberation, Civil and Human Rights,’ built on the ideas of social transformation highlighted in the museum’s current exhibition, ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius.’ Four Northwestern faculty members presented on revolutions in the 1960s and their effects on the political and cultural climate of the time.” -Samantha Handler
The Daily Northwestern: The Weekly Podcast: Myth Busting and Activism in the 1960s [Audio] (October 6, 2017) In this episode of The Weekly, The Daily attends the Block Museum’s panel on artist William Blake’s work and how it relates to activism in the 1960s.
50th Summer of Love: Take a trip and trip out to ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius’ (October 9, 2017) “It would be another seven years before Ginsberg wrote in his towering poem ‘Howl’: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy . . . Everything is holy! Everybody’s holy! Everywhere is holy! The madman is holy as you my soul are holy . . . Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!’ Blake’s words were lighting fires across time.” -Jason Foumberg
Star Tribune: Chicago’s elevated northern burb (October 13, 2017) “The on-campus Block Museum of Art showcases global and contemporary art. Currently open, ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius’ juxtaposes the 1960s’ spectacular social discord with the fey English Romantic Blake’s visionary artwork. It sounds like the best anniversary commemoration of the Summer of Love yet.” -Aaron Gettinger
Newcity Art: Opening the Doors of Perception, A Review of “William Blake and the Age of Aquarius” at the Block Museum (October 19, 2017) “This is a bountiful and thoughtful show and a true labor of love by its curator.” -Chris Miller
Pulse Nigeria: American Universities to study Nollywood with filmmaker’s works (October 27, 2017) “Northwestern University in Chicago and Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois have very strong interrogative exchange programmes in African Studies and are particularly interested in Nollywood and its place as an art form that has done a lot to reinvent the global narrative of the African experience.” -Femi Odugbemi in conversation with Chidumga Izuzu
New Art Examiner: “William Blake and the Age of Aquarius” (October/November 2017) “Blake’s authentic mysticism as a visionary and spiritualist will always lie beyond the knowledge or grasp of most people. He proposed total equality between races and sexes. These traits of course made him a near-perfect avatar for postwar non-conformists and dissidents, who used him as validation of a generation’s hunger for escapism to a more enlightened, moral and pacifist path.” -Bruce Thorn
Evanston Round Table: Wilsons Establish Engagement Fund at Block (November 1, 2017) “The Wilson Fund will endow the leadership position of the Block Museum engagement department, which oversees museum-wide education, programming, partnerships and communication efforts. The gift will also provide additional support for public programs and engagement between the museum and the larger Northwestern campus and community, including funding for youth educational programs.”
P.M. News: Introducing The Cinema Of Femi Odugbemi (November 4, 2017) “[Odugbemi] belongs to a generation of Nollywood directors who see themselves not only as adapting the new global media resources, especially digital technologies, in creating unique cultural texts that capture the particular national histories, daily individual struggles and collective coping strategies of ordinary people in a postcolonial nation whose leaders have sold their souls to the devil, but also as crucial interventionists whose cultural work represent a certain kind of radical cultural politics and thought for progressive creative work in a time of massive social and cultural transformations.”
ArtReview: Power 100: Kader Attia (November 2017) “Taking part in three biennials while staging two museum exhibitions and a gallery show has kept Attia busy. His participation in the Venice Biennale and the Bienal de Cuenca was topped off by a special project in Dakar as part of the Sharjah Biennial’s expanded field of activity this year. In October the artist, who was born in France to Algerian parents, won the $82,000 Joan Miró Prize in recognition of his ongoing interrogation of colonialism and its legacies: themes evident in exhibitions at Block Museum of Art, Illinois, and the MCA Australia, Sydney.”
Chicago Reader: Catch dazzling abstract works at the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation (November 9, 2017) “Based in Los Angeles, the festival favors ‘works made by individual artists, drawing on the lineage of avant -garde cinema as well as the tradition of classic character animation and cartooning,’ with two free programs on Saturday at Block Museum of Art. The programs include dazzling abstract works that exploit the tension between geometry and the variegated forms of the natural world.” -J.R. Jones
Pop Matters: No Reader of ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius’ Will Remain Unmoved (November 27, 2017) “Those unfamiliar with Blake should still be fascinated by how the man’s work has drifted through the ages without losing much of its power. No reader of this book will come away from it unmoved and indifferent to the potential of the artistic sensibility as it comes to terms with light, dark, and everything in between.” -Christopher John Stephens
PBS News Hour: Thanks to a particle accelerator, we can see inside this ancient mummy (November 28, 2017) “The added benefit of these cutting-edge tools is their non-invasive nature–a mummy can be analyzed without unwrapping it...By using these noninvasive scientific instruments, art historians can make sure they are respecting mummified remains while sharing that humbling joy of discovery for generations to come.” -Fedor Kossakovski
Chicago Tribune: Mummy Gets Close-up in Argonne Lab Device (November 28, 2017) “The high-powered beams of the Argonne machine will give researchers molecular information about what is inside the mummy, including the girl’s bones, burial materials and what has become of her remains. The powerful synchotron allows scientists a noninvasive way of probing the mummy, offering snapshots of its contents at a near-atomic level.” -Patrick M. O’Connell
ABC News: Researchers use advanced technology to study child mummy (November 29, 2017) “Researchers from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago are using advanced technology to unwrap the mysteries of an 1,800-year-old mummy.”
Northwestern Now: First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story (November 29, 2017) “’This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our undergraduate students — and for me — to work at understanding the whole object that is this girl mummy,’ Walton said. ‘Today’s powerful analytical tools allow us to nondestructively do the archaeology scientists couldn’t do 100 years ago.’” -Megan Fellman
The Washington Post: Researchers use advanced technology to study child mummy (November 29, 2017) “Scientists examined the rare find on Monday in the hopes of learning more about how the girl died. And they say studying the wrapping materials may shed new light on ancient Egyptian culture.”
Art Daily: First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story (November 29, 2017) “The study of this rare archeological object, owned by Garrett-Evangelical, is part of an interdisciplinary class at Northwestern focused, in part, on filling out the contextual story of where this mummy came from and who she was.”
Newsweek: Archaeologists sent an ancient Egyptian mummy through an imaging scanner–here’s what they saw (November 29, 2017) “‘Our main motivation is to use the physical sciences to be able to unpack the technology of art,’ Marc Walton, a materials scientist at Northwestern and one of the project’s leaders, told PBS. ‘We’re trying to get into the mind of the artist to understand why they’re making certain choices based upon the economics of the materials, their physical structure, and then use that information to be able to rewrite history.’” -Kastalia Medrano
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Forbes: Particle Accelerator Peers Inside Ancient Girl Mummy (November 30, 2017) “’We’re basically able to go back to an excavation that happened more than 100 years ago and reconstruct it with our contemporary analysis techniques,’ said Marc Walton, research professor of materials science and engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering. ‘All the information we find will help us enrich the entire historic context of this young girl mummy and the Roman period in Egypt.’” -Brid-Aine Parnell
Common Dreams: Reopening The Doors Of Perception (November 30, 2017) “Blake spoke a complex truth. He embraced a far-flung, wildly loving philosophy of life: ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.’” -Robert C. Koehler
Picture this Post: Block Museum of Art Present PAINT THE EYES SOFTER: MUMMY PORTRAITS FROM ROMAN EGYPT Exhibit Preview (November 30, 2017) “’This exhibit is just one of the many ways we are continuing to expand the intersection between art and engineering,’ said Julio M. Ottino, dean of the McCormick School. ‘In addition to providing the tools of engineering to study the history of art, our partnership provides opportunities for engineers and artists to learn how each other works and thinks, expanding their own abilities in the process.’”
Tech Times: Particle Accelerator Reveals Objects Buried With An Ancient Egyptian Mummy (November 30, 2017) “The mummy, who wears gold jewelry and crimson tunic, also has an embedded portrait, a lifelike painting of the individual incorporated into the wrappings. The mummy is only one of about 100 worldwide with such a painted portrait that was embedded in the wrapping above where its head should be. This style is introduced by the Romans, so, the analysis of the mummy will also offer researchers clues about Roman-Egyptian mummy portraits, which have a different style from those of the more familiar Egyptian mummies.” -Allan Adamson
Evanston Magazine: William Blake and the Age of Aquarius Opening Day (December 1, 2017) “Guests took advantage of a brand-new exhibit and conversation at the beautiful Block Museum of Art on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus this fall. Attendees explored rare prints and pages from the visionary British poet and artist William Blake’s illuminated books.” -Kemmie Orquiz
NewHistorian: Caesar’s Landing in Britain – The History News of the Week (December 1, 2017) “As well as providing insights into Egyptian-Roman mummification techniques, the ground-breaking studies being carried out by Northwestern University will help guide preservation of the mummy. The research will culminate in an exhibition at Block Museum titled: ‘Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt.’” -Daryl Worthington
Windy City Times: Five Worth Finding: holiday edition (December 5, 2017) “Princeton University Press books: The press has a varied assortment of books. Examples include Big Pacific, a companion book to the five-part series on PBS that gives an inside look at the unique sea creatures and ecosystems of the Pacific Ocean; and William Blake and the Age of Aquarius, an intriguing look at how Blake’s vision influenced artists of the Beat generation and 1960s counterculture.” -Andrew Davis
BBC News: Egyptian mummy’s secrets revealed at hi-tech laboratory (December 6, 2017) “This is the first time that such a high intensity synchrotron X-ray will have been used on a mummy, with the aim of producing an extremely detailed three-dimensional analysis of the body and any other objects hidden below the linen bindings.” -Sean Coughlan
Third Coast Review: Expand Your Consciousness With William Blake and the Age of Aquarius @ The Block Museum of Art (December 7, 2017) “William Blake and the Age of Aquarius shows how Blake’s protests against political and social conventions during his time were an inspiration for many Americans who felt the need to rebel against conformity, believing personal and social transformation was not merely an abstract concept, but something that can be actualized in their lifetime.” - Tom Wawzenek
Splash Magazines:“William Blake and the Age of Aquarius” Review – A Must See Exhibition (December 11, 2017) “It is fascinating to observe the ways in which Blake’s protests against the conventions of his day were inspirational for many young Americans disillusioned by perceived cultural tendencies of social uniformity, materialism and consumerism, racial and gender discrimination, and environmental degradation. This was a generation that sought in Blake a model of independence, imagination, and resistance to authority.” -Barbara Keer
USA Today: Things to Do in December (December 15, 2017) “The Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art on Northwestern University’s campus nails its aim to be a ‘dynamic, imaginative and innovative’ institution with the winter exhibit, ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius.’” -Jacky Runice
New York Times: The Best Art Books of 2017 (December 15, 2017) “Blake (1757-1827) is in the air these days, as he has been in other culturally inflamed times. In 1948, in a Spanish Harlem apartment, the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg had an auditory hallucination of Blake reciting “Ah Sun-flower!” and other mind-altering verses. That vision changed Ginsberg’s life, and Blake became a touchstone figure for many radical American artists of the 1950s and his destroy-all-tyrants radar continued to burn through the 1960s. It would certainly find appropriate targets today, as is confirmed by this excellent book, the catalog for an exhibition at the Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, through March 18.” -Holland Cotter
Chicago Tribune: The feminist energies of William Blake and Faith Wilding take over Chicago (December 20, 2017) “That 18th-century poet Blake has a sort of double occupancy in the local art scene is meaningful but hardly surprising. With Chicago’s history of radical politics, protest and direct action, Blake’s ethereal concepts about liberation seem built into the city.” -KT Hawbaker
Newcity: Newcity’s Top 5 of of Everything 2017: Art (December 21, 2017) “Top 5 Museum and Institutional Shows: Block Museum of Art: William Blake and the Age of Aquarius” -Elliot Reichert
Splash Magazines: “Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt” Preview – A Remarkable Opportunity (December 22, 2017) “Combining expertise from across the University — including contributions from classics, art history, sound design, materials science, medicine, archeology, art history and molecular biology — this groundbreaking installation explores how interdisciplinary partnerships can deliver new insights into ancient mysteries.” -Barbara Keer
Time Out Chicago: The best art exhibits to see in Chicago in January (December 29, 2017) “In the late ’60s, Sam Gilliam was part of a group of painters who began experimenting with color, making it the primary focus of their canvases. Gilliam developed “drape” paintings, featuring an unstretched canvas that was covered with paint and presented as a hanging sculpture. To celebrate the recent gift of Gilliam’s painting “One,” the Block Museum will present an exhibit devoted to his work, accompanied by pieces by contemporaries Alan Shields and Frank Stella.” -Zach Long
Streetwise Chicago: William Blake Exhibit at the Block Museum of Art (December 2017) “Even casual viewers who do not understand Blake the artist have a visceral view of his images in relation to spreading love, peace or personal spirituality, says Corinne Granof, curator of academic programs at the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, who consulted with curator and Northwestern Professor of Art History Stephen F. Eisenman to produce its current exhibit, “William Blake and the Age of Aquarius.” -Suzanne Hanney
Make It Better: 5 Things to Do: Jan. 12-14 (January 8, 2018) “This weekend, see a show and make a difference for fellow Chicagoans, explore two new exhibits, and more. Plus, we’ll look ahead to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.” -Anna Carlson
Visit Chicago NorthShore: 16 Things to Do on a Cold or Snowy Day (January 11, 2018) “With the holiday season behind us, it’s time for the harsh realities of winter to set in. But while it might be easy to snuggle up under a blanket and decide to never leave the house until spring arrives, why not make the most of the season?”
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Artnet: Art Industry News (January 12, 2018) “The Block’s board of advisors banded together to donate the cash for an endowment fund at the Northwestern University campus museum. The effort was spearheaded by board member Diane Solomon.”
The Spectator: What do Walt Whitman, Jackson Pollock and Jimi Hendrix have in common? (January 13, 2018) “Accompanying an exhibition at Northwestern University in Illinois, William Blake and the Age of Aquarius is the most intriguing book on Blake since Marsha Keith Schuchard’s exposé of him as a swinger, Why Mrs Blake Cried (2006). America’s postwar Blakeans rebelled against expensive advertising and contemptible comfort. However misplaced the fury, and despite a preponderance of ‘fashionable Fools’, the results were not all contemptible.” -Dominic Green
City Pages: Pink dolphins, zombies, and Ojibwe tales: How friends Andrea Carlson and Heid E. Erdrich inspire each other (January 15, 2018) The two often enhance each other’s storytelling. Erdrich has written exhibition statements for Carlson and has penned poems based on her art. Carlson has contributed art to Erdrich’s poetry books and video poems.” -Justin Curto
Clyfford Still Museum: Still Life (January 17, 2018) “Blake essentially became an artistic icon for the counterculture, and this could have made him especially appealing to Still. The curators of the Block exhibition seem to think so because they’ve included an early section which focuses on artists, including Still, working in the 1940s ‘who discovered Blake’s unique voice in such poems as ‘The Tyger’ and the ‘Shepard’.’”
Chicago Reader: Egyptian death-mask portraits bring their subjects back to life after 2,000 years (January 23, 2018) “No matter how sophisticated our technology becomes, it’s doubtful that a device will ever be invented to explain the impulse to render the human image for posterity. The desire to make a picture in which we recognize our own faces is as basic to the human condition as the need for food or shelter. The 2,000-year-old ancestors looking out from the walls of the Block Museum are a reminder of that. Even if they were originally meant as death masks, these portraits look as alive as you or me.” - Dmitry Samarov
WTTW: Rare Mummy Portraits Offer Peek into the Past at Block Museum (January 24, 2018) “I think that this is quintessentially Northwestern, to be able to bring together multidisciplinary aspects and create something new out of it. But at the Block Museum in particular, it’s the nexus of these activities, bringing these crosscurrents together so we can actually explore one theme in depth from a number of different perspectives, giving a richer view of the subject matter.” -Marc Walton
Art Journal: Book Review - “A Lunatic of the Sacred”: The Life and Work of Charlotte Moorman (January 2018) “By asking us to regard Moorman as a constitutive force in the 1960s avant-garde, A Feast of Accomplishments was a revelation on many fronts. The galleries produced a kind of awe in viewers and listeners, owing to one’s reeducation not only in Moorman’s experimental activities but also, more crucially, in the sheer capacity and scope of those activities. The Block Museum embraced the chaos of her music and art, and in doing so, demonstrated the tenaciously collaborative way in which she lived and worked—a mode of labor with its own gendered politics. A Feast of Astonishments left little doubt: Moorman was a transformational figure in the advancement and promotion of the avant-garde in the late twentiethcentury, and we should all be eager to learn more.” -Nicole Woods
The Daily Northwestern: ‘The Other Kids’ attempts to reinvent teen drama as part of New Docs series (January 31, 2018) “(It) was just a great experience to have him in and to be able to learn this unique way that he makes his work,” Henry said. “It opens up possibilities to say that there (aren’t) one or two or three ways to make a film; there are many ways to make a film.” -Crystal Wall
The Daily Northwestern: Evanston artist hosts quilt circle, commemorates BLM movement (February 1, 2018) “The quilt is beautiful in itself, but it’s the idea that over a hundred people came together to work on it and sit together and have conversations about it. Art as an impetus to action is the unifying element between our artwork.” -Tejas Sekhar
Medill Reports Chicago: Composing Music for Mummies (February 1, 2018) “’We really wanted something that was subtle…and respectful,’ Rönkkö said, describing the final choice. ‘Thomas’s [track] really captured what we had in mind beautifully.’” -Jourdan Kerl
Chicago Tribune: Women embroider Black Lives Matter quilt as part of domestic violence awareness (February 5, 2018) “’This isn’t about making the perfect square,’ Blount reminded participants. ‘It’s about being here and bearing witness.’” -Genevieve Bookwalter
Chicago Review: William Blake and the Age of Aquarius (February 8, 2018) “If the young Ginsberg found a universe of revolutionary imaginative potential in Blake’s works, the older Ginsberg found a set of reflections on what it means to outlive a revolution. As Blake might put it, the key to both the 1790s and the 1960s is to understand the relationship between Innocence and Experience.” -Sam Rowe
Washington Post: Here’s a chance to see what people who became mummies looked like (February 10, 2018) “The free exhibition has plenty of portraits to explore but also delves into the scientific mysteries of the mummies. Intact mummy portraits are very rare, and in November the university took one of its specimens to the nearby Argonne National Laboratory for an X-ray experiment that revealed information about the workshop that probably did the painting and about the materials inside the mummy.” -Erin Blakemore
North by Northwestern: Review: The Block’s Paint the Eyes Softer exhibit (February 13, 2018) “One section of the exhibition celebrated the extremely talented “panel painters” of the ancient world. Of the later masks, three of the portraits on display are possibly from the same workshop...Even though these funerary masks are essentially the only art to have survived from then to now, the exhibition overall is an interesting delve into a form of portraiture.” -Kathryn Rothstein
NewCity Art: The Eyes Were A Portal, Even Way Back Then: A Review of “Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt” at the Block Museum of Art (February 15, 2018) “Gallery signage tells us that an edict by the Roman Emperor Diocletian listed panel painters as among the most highlypaid craftsmen in the empire, and it’s not hard to see why...Despite the differences in age, gender and proportion, each volumetric face seems to be saying ‘Here I am.’” -Chris Miller
Science News: Modern tech unravels mysteries of Egyptian mummy portraits (February 19, 2018) “The mummy was the first ever to be brought to the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, where it was exposed to synchrotron radiation from the lab’s Advanced Photon Source. High-energy X-ray beams could offer new information about the mummy.” -Howard Wolinsky
Poetry Foundation: Northwestern’s Block Museum Hosts Jen Bervin as Winter Resident (February 19, 2018) “Poet and artist Jen Bervin is in residence at Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art this winter, and her work will connect her with students as well as allow for some cross-disciplinary research ‘in the diverse collections of Northwestern University Libraries – from its John Cage archives in the Music Library to textiles and ancient manuscripts in the Melville J. Herskovits Africana Library.’” -Harriet Staff
Discovery Channel: Daily Planet (February 20, 2018) A daily science magazine show that delivers a fascinating mix of documentaries and features, with hosts Ziya Tong and Dan Riskin. The Hibbard Mummy experiment is featured at 35:45-36:30.
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Mental Floss: See Lifelike Mummy Portraits From Roman Egypt, Now at Northwestern University (February 25, 2018) “The exhibit is titled ‘Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt,’ a reference to a note to the artist that was discovered with one of the sketches. The portraits, drawn in ink, chalk, or paint, were fastened to the subjects they represented with the same linens used to wrap the bodies.” -Michele Debczak
Forward: The Oscars, Mario Vargas Llosa’s Latest And More To Read, Watch And Do This Weekend (March 1, 2018) “If you want to know what links the Romantic poet and painter William Blake with the beat poet Allen Ginsberg, the Northwestern Block Museum of Art’s exhibit ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius’ will make sure you’re informed.” -Talya Zax
The Daily Northwestern: Artist in Residence Jen Bervin leads workshops, classes on interdisciplinary art practice (March 7, 2018) “‘During Jen’s visit, the care and sensitivity … and broadened vision I saw in meetings she and I were having were both fun and deeply philosophical,’ Bielak said. ‘As a curator, I saw clearly how wonderful it would be to have her at Northwestern and the kind of value she’d bring here.’” -Christopher Vazquez
Crain’s: University-based art museums are raking it in (March 9, 2018) In January, Block’s board donated a total of $1 million to establish an endowment for the museum. In 2017, major gifts from two couples with ties to Northwestern established entities at the Block: $1.5 million established the Susan & Stephen Wilson Block Museum Engagement Fund, and $1 million established the Steven & Lisa Munster Tananbaum curator of modern and contemporary art. - Lisa Bertagnoli
Chicago Reader: Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend (March 9, 2018) “Fri 3/9-Sun 3/11: ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius,’ which illustrates the impact the Romantic poet had on American artists—from Allen Ginsberg to Jimi Hendrix—closes after this weekend.” -Rachel Yang
Crain’s: 7 cool exhibits, some a little quirky (March 9, 2018) “To expose how advertising depicts women and African-Americans, Thomas has collected decades of print ads, stripped out the text and put the images alone on display.” -Graham Meyer
College News Updates: Block Museum of Art releases strategic plan through 2022 (March 20, 2018) “For our campus community and the many publics we serve, the Block is a space for examining assumptions, reframing questions and bridging perspectives.”
The Art Newspaper: Why choosing a name for an exhibition is anything but straightforward (March 26, 2018) “Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, enlists national and international experts to assist with titles. Its 2016 traveling exhibition on the artist Charlotte Moorman was nearly called Think Crazy—a reference to the slogan used to promote the New York Avant-Garde Festival founded by Moorman.” - James H. Miller
Newcity: Art Top 5: April 2018 (March 26, 2018) “1. Hank Willis Thomas - Block Museum of Art. Advertisements stripped of everything but figures demand a fresh focus on the ways that gender and race are shaped by commodities.” -Elliot Reichert
Northwestern Research: Who is she, this little mummy girl? (April 1, 2018) “Northwestern scientists and students have worked to unravel some of her mysteries, including how her body was prepared 1,900 years ago in Egypt, what items she may have been buried with, the quality of her bones, and what material is present in her brain cavity.”
Northwestern Magazine: Who’s that mummy girl? (April 1, 2018) “‘This is a unique experiment, a 3-D puzzle,’ says Stuart Stock, a professor of cell and molecular biology at the Feinberg School of Medicine who led the experiment at Argonne. He hopes their analysis can help researchers understand more about the mummy’s history and how best to conserve it.”
North Shore Modern Luxury: Images of Power (April 1, 2018) “’Willis Thomas stripped advertising images of all logos and text so we can contemplate what the images themselves are communicating,’ says exhibition curator Janet Dees. It’s a comment on race, gender, class, and how advertising as a form of mass communication shapes those narratives.” -Laura Hine
Evanston Magazine: A Moveable Fest (April 2, 2018) “The festival has many goals, but primary among them is to cast a spotlight on the robust selection of literary events already going on in Evanston—a city that is home to an impressively vast population of readers, writers, and publishers. Coordinated specifically to coincide and partner with the Northwestern Spring Writers’ Festival in mid-May, the festival also aims to “bridge the literary gap” between the university and city.” -Sherry Thomas
Splash Magazines: “Mummies” at the Field Museum Review – Cutting-edge Technologies at Work (April 7, 2018) “[The Block exhibition] was also a good introduction to techniques that are being used broadly to investigate previously unknown “secrets” about what lay underneath the wrappings of the mummies.” -Barbara Keer
Northwestern Research: Art + science reveals ancient mysteries (April 12, 2018) “The exhibit, ‘Pain the Eyes Softer,’ features mummy portraits produced in Egypt during the Roman period, a complete intact portrait mummy, and other archeological finds from the Fayum region. Combining expertise from across the University—including from classics, materials science, medicine, archeology, art history, and molecular biology—this groundbreaking installation explores how interdisciplinary partnerships can deliver new insights into ancient mysteries.”
Chicago Tribune: The Block goes through an experimental phase; ACRE looks for signs of intelligent life (April 12, 2018) “As an institution, Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art is doing the work of connecting today’s political turbulence and social unrest with that of the ’60s and ’70s. While ‘William Blake and the Age of Aquarius’ ended its acid trip through the galleries on March 11, ‘Experiments in Form: Sam Gilliam, Alan Shields, Frank Stella’ rages on into the summer, recalling a movement of formalist defiance taking place from 1964 to 1975. Think of it as a history project — one that reports on a protest against the conventions of painting and printmaking.” -KT Hawbaker
Chicago Magazine: Ten Things to Do in Chicago This Week (April 12, 2018) “Thomas ‘unbrands’ advertisements from the last century by removing product names and all text, revealing how studio photography, clever design, and editing promoted and fueled an artificial lifestyle promised by consumerism.”
Newcity Art: Ads Without Additives: 2018 Guggenheim Fellow Hank Willis Thomas Makes Advertisements Speak Truth to Power at the Block Museum of Art (April 13, 2018) “At the Block Museum of Art in Evanston, two bodies of work by one artist are image lessons in advertising bias and persuasion. ‘Unbranded’ is a presentation of distinct but related projects by Hank Willis Thomas, an artist and 2018 Guggenheim fellow whose work has considered the relationship between consumer culture and identity for more than a decade.” -Elliot Reichert
Chicago Reader: Let the pictures do the talking: Hank Willis Thomas deconstructs the ad game at the Block Museum (April 17, 2018) “Both series show that advertising is never really about the product. It’s about what myths or generalizations you can get people to buy into.” -Hank Willis Thomas in conversation with Deanna Isaacs
THE SEEN: Unbranded: reflections in black on a century of white women (April 18, 2018) “Exploring the visualization of African-American identity and white femininity within the same eras, Thomas removes slogans and product names from historical and contemporary advertisements, asking us to confront the impact of images on the popular imagination” -Janet Dees and Tamar Kharatishvili
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The Daily Northwestern: ‘Unbranded’ exhibition examines race, gender through advertisements (April 18, 2018) “Thomas said he hopes the subversive titles will provoke new questions about what is being sold. ‘I realized that ads are never really about the product,’ Thomas said. ‘It’s about what you get people to buy into through the language and the images and the stories that you tell.’” -Andrea Michelson
The Hill: Reconnecting art and science in the classroom (April 18, 2018) “A collaboration, rooted in a long-running program between Northwestern and the Art Institute of Chicago, resulted in a course and an award-winning exhibition featuring an ancient Roman-Egyptian mummy. It brought together Argonne National Lab, and Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art as well as students and faculty from classics, sound design, materials science, computer science, medicine, archeology, and art history.” -Julio Ottino and Adrian Randolph
Evanston RoundTable: Block Museum Exhibit Looks for Meaning in Unbranded Ads (April 18, 2018) “He questions how ads reflect society’s hopes and dreams at a moment in time, as well as how they reveal popular ideas about race and gender.”
The Dartmouth: Q&A with Seth Woods and Spencer Topel: ‘Iced Bodies’ (May 1, 2018) “One of the things that really made me want to do it was how important it would be to address these issues today. It became a human expression, a human problem, not just some display of technology or of avant-garde art, but rather something that would intrinsically address the human condition — particularly, the American condition.” -Spencer Topel in conversation with Elizabeth Garrison
Daily Planet: What is a Portrait Mummy? (May 2, 2018) “I always feel like a super-sleuth with the work that I’m doing, and science is a good tool to be able to better understand the historic record.” -Marc Walton
North by Northwestern: Hank Willis Thomas’s Unbranded is a haunting take on American culture (May 17, 2018) “Although the images were poached from a period of many perceived milestones for women and African Americans, they also make it clear that there are still many milestones to go.” -Kathryn Rothstein
Chicago Gallery News: An Interview with Lisa Graziose Corrin, Director of the Block Mueseum of Art (May 22, 2018) “I relished the opportunity to create a new model for an academic art museum within a research university, a model that is focused on collaboration, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, rigorous research, and innovative exhibitions and programs.” -Lisa Corrin in conversation with CGN
Northwestern Now: Renowned Iranian-Kurdish filmmaker screens three of his films at Northwestern (May 22, 2018) “Ghobadi’s films tackle a variety of themes such as justice, dispossession and movement. Some of the films focus on the plight of the Kurdish people while others shed a light on modern-day Iran.” -Mohamed Abdelfattah
Newswise: Forum Promotes Collaboration, Innovation and Change (May 24, 2018) “Highlighting partnerships, innovations and strategies that can be applied across our campuses, more than 240 faculty and staff gathered last week at Northwestern University’s 11th annual Best Practices Forum to share ideas – and learn from colleagues.”
WBEZ: Milos Stehlik Interviews Iranian Filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi (May 25, 2018) “WBEZ film contributor and director at Facets Chicago, Milos Stehlik, interviews the world’s great filmmakers. Today, he chats with renowned Iranian-Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi. [Ghobadi’s] ‘films tackle a variety of themes such as justice, dispossession and movement. Some ... focus on the plight of the Kurdish people … [and] modern-day Iran.’”
Times Literary Supplement: Cleansing the Doors of Perception (June 1, 2018) “A handsomely designed book . . . including an excellent historical overview.” -Alberto Rivero
Medill News: UNBRANDED (June 6, 2018) “...the human experience is to exist with overlapping identities. The visualization of these converging identities is a form of artistic protest, Thomas said, because these images disrupt what the viewer assumes about an individual.” -Savannah Christensen, Nicole Fallert, and Hannah Lindley
Chicago Tribune: $30,000 in cultural grants awarded to Evanston artists, programs (June 12, 2018) “Theaters, musicians and artists all make up the group of 12 recipients of $30,000 in grant money awarded for the new fiscal year by the Evanston Arts Council’s annual Cultural Fund Grant Program...The goal of the program is to ‘sustain and advance our community’s visual, performance, literary and media arts and to activate the extraordinary assets of the community to develop Evanston as an arts hub and destination.’” -Genevieve Bookwalter
Northwestern Engineering: Art + Engineering (June 2018) “Over the past year, Northwestern students, faculty, and researchers from art, engineering, classics, and medicine have all come together to examine [the mummy’s] journey, propose theories, conduct research, and ultimately to exhibit their work, all in the quest of solving the mystery.” -Emily Ayshford
Artforum: Hank Willis Thomas (June 2018) “The wry, uncomfortable comedy of these works makes for a breath of fresh air in our acrimonious, often terrifyingly humorless times.” -Abigail Winograd
Time Out Chicago: 60 exciting openings in Chicago in July (June 29, 2018) “Chan unpacks the violent and sexual themes of Henry Darger’s The Story of the Vivian Girls through an 18-minute looping animation inspired by the artist’s work.” -Zach Long
Houston Chronicle: Dario Robleto crafts art with empathetic expansion (July 13, 2018) “’Beyond whatever I make, I’m on this mission just to get art repositioned in the broader landscape of all kinds of knowledge production. … And not just because it sounds cool or we want to pat each other on the backs,’ [Robleto] said. ‘I want to make the case because perhaps we’re only going to move forward if we do that in various fields.’” -Molly Glentzer
Splash Magazines: The 1968 Bursar’s Office Takeover and “Unbranded” Review- Northwestern University puts archives and images on display (July 15, 2018) “Thomas explored the representation of the African-American male body in visual culture in his B(r)anded Series, about which critic Arwa Mahdawi , writing in The Guardian noted: ‘Thomas’s work ‘unbrands’ advertising: stripping away the commercial context, and leaving the exposed image to speak for itself.’” -Debra Davy
Chicago Magazine: Ten things to do in Chicago this week (July 19, 2018) “FILM: During his short life, David Wojnarowicz created a considerable and celebrated body of work in paintings, photography, performances, sculpture, writing, and video. Wojnarowicz’s art focused on a critical response to the conditions of the world that surrounded him. The Block Museum hosts a one-day retrospective and conversation on his moving-image contributions.”
Chicago Reader: A fiery AIDS activist finally gets his due with exhibitions of his art and videos (July 20, 2018) “According to Dr. Daniel Berger, who curated both Chicago exhibits and will take part in a postshow discussion at the Block with curator Barry Blinderman, the continuing discovery of Wojnarowicz’s art couldn’t be more timely. ‘All the things that Wojnarowicz was talking about back in the 80s with regards to disenfranchised people—especially people who were sick—and how the government was apathetic to them . . . all those things seem to be coming up again,’” -Ben Sachs
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Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly: Vol. 52, No. 1 (Summer 2018) “This exhibition situated Blake’s work in the context of postwar printing experiments by Stanley William Hayter and Atelier 17, such as 21 Etchings and Poems (1960) with Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Irene Rice Pereira, Helen Phillips, and Attilio Salemme, and “Fifteen Poems, a Collaboration Using the Printing Methods of William Blake,” involving Alexander Calder and Helen Phillips. A section on the Doors of Perception featured Richard Anuszkiewicz’s Inward Eye serigraph series, as well as posters and other materials documenting the work of Bob Dylan, the Doors, and Jimi Hendrix.” -Luisa Calè
New Art Examiner: Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded (August 1, 2018) “Thomas has consistently explored American consumer culture, particularly as it relates to African-American subjects. His appropriated imagery from advertisements investigates the subtle and not-so-subtle ways advertising reinforces ideas about race and race relations.” -Phillip Barcio
Chicago Tribune: Entertainment options for every day of August — EVERY. LAST. DAY. (August 1, 2018) “August 1: Curator Janet Dees talks ‘Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded’ exhibit at the Block Museum. Dees will discuss the provocative works by artist Thomas: ‘Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America 1968-2008’ and “‘Unbranded: A Century of White Women 1915-2015’ in this lunchtime gallery talk.” -Morgan Smith
Apollo Magazine: Celebrating the diversity of Chicago’s cultural landscape (August 2, 2018) “At Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art, Terra Foundation funding has enabled director Lisa Corrin ‘to bring to light a forgotten chapter in our city’s cultural history’. Working with Chicago Film Archives, she has explored the experimental artist-designer-filmmakers Morton and Millie Goldsholl and their advertising firm Goldsholl Design & Film Associates, founded in the 1950s.” -Louise Nicholson
Reel Chicago: Leo B creates new Art Design Chicago campaign (August 22, 2018) “Leo Burnett has played a key role in elevating Chicago’s prominence internationally, and many designs from the Leo Burnett archive are present in upcoming Art Design Chicago exhibitions, such as Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio, opening September 18 at the Block Museum of Art.” -Carol Fox and Associates
Crain’s Chicago Business: Chicago Imagists star this fall (August 23, 2018) “Opening Sept. 18, Northwestern University’s Block Museum puts up “Break a Rule: Ed Paschke’s Art and Teaching,” zeroing in on probably the best-known Chicago Imagist. Paschke taught for more than 25 years at Northwestern, imploring his students to follow the dictum in the exhibit’s title. Paschke’s name summons impressions of garish color and louche characters, but the Block’s exhibit instead focuses on his printmaking and pedagogical creations.” -Graham Meyer
Chicago Magazine: 51 Things to Do in Chicago in September (August 29, 2018) “Up Is Down: Mid-century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio. This show celebrates the golden age of advertising through the lens of a homegrown design giant. In the 1950s, Chicago was a hub for modernist graphic design, with Goldsholl and Associates being one of the best-known firms, churning out iconic logos for Motorola, 7-Up, and Vienna Beef. It even produced many of the era’s then-groovy, now-nostalgic educational short films.” -Jason Foumberg, John Hardberger, Britt Julious, Graham Meyer, Catey Sullivan, and Lauren Warnecke
New City: Can’t-Miss Fall Art Events (August 30, 2018) “Hairy Who. Fall brings multiple tributes to the seminal artists and the larger Chicago Imagist canon. The Art Institute will focus on the original gang of six and their late-sixties exhibitions, while Elmhurst College will show figurative works curated by original member Suellen Rocca. Even the Smart’s show, noted above, will integrate the group into its tale of the South Side’s artistic community. Northwestern’s Block Museum will open an exhibition focusing on Ed Paschke’s art and teaching, fitting for the school where Paschke taught for decades.” -Elliot Reichert
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New gifts to the Block Museum highlighted in fall exhibitions The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University presents two exhibitions that highlight recent gifts of contemporary art to its permanent collection.
Susan and Stephen Wilson establish engagement fund at Block Museum of Art $1.5 million gift will support dynamic community and education programs
Kate Hadley Toftness to oversee Grants Program and Special Projects at the Block Museum of Art As Grants Manager and Special Projects Associate. Toftness will cultivate the Museum’s growing foundation and funder relationships and oversee projects which extend the impact and reach of the Block Museum’s work. This strategic development position will focus on partnering with funders to advance the unique interdisciplinary and communitybased tenants of the museum’s mission.
Gift of Tseng Kwong Chi artwork to Block Museum honors former provost The Block Museum of Art is pleased to announce the acquisition of a suite of works by photographer Tseng Kwong Chi (1950-90). Two significant photographs by the artist were recently presented to the museum as a gift from its board of advisors in honor of Daniel Linzer, who served as Northwestern University provost from 2007-17.
The art and science of Roman-Egyptian mummies explored in Northwestern exhibition ‘Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt’ on view Jan. 13–April 22, 2018
Unique fellowship puts interdisciplinary scholar in Block Museum Northwestern’s Block Museum and The Graduate School team up to change the face of museum fellowships
Block Board of Advisors donates $1m to set up endowment Museum raises funds and artworks totaling $18.8 million toward “We Will” Campaign
Block Museum explores Harun Farocki’s poetic and political films Free cinema series showcases a retrospective on master German documentarian
Visiting artist Jen Bervin weaves interdisciplinary stories across Northwestern The Block Museum and Kaplan Institute host artist-in-residence throughout winter quarter
Artist Hank Willis Thomas ‘unbrands’ ads to reveal questions about cultural values Exhibition opens April 14 at Block Museum and continues through Aug. 5
Block Museum Explores Legacy of Mid-Century Chicago Design Firm that Turned Advertising Upside Down Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio opens September 18
Block Museum of Art presents Paul Chan’s Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization Media artwork exploring philosophy, pop culture, and war on view July 17 – November 4, 2018
Block Museum of Art Receives $350K in NEH Support for Touring Exhibition “Caravans of Gold” The grant supports the exhibition Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa opening at The Block Museum in January 2019 before traveling to the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto (Fall 2019) and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, in Washington DC (Spring 2020).
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