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March 2006 Visual Art Calendar

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February 28, 2006 | by Judy Moore

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. The museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed on Monday. Admission to the museum is free; unless noted, admission to all programs is also free.

For information regarding Block Museum exhibitions, programs or location, phone (847) 491-4000 or go to the Block Museum Web site at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.

SPRING 2006 EXHIBITION PREVIEW

“Jim Dine, some drawings,” April 7 to June 18, Main Gallery and Print, Drawing and Photography Study Center. The Block Museum’s Spring 2006 exhibition will feature more than 80 works spanning the period from 1962 to 2004, showing the intense way artist Jim Dine observes the world and the excitement with which he records it on paper. The Block Museum will host a series of free gallery talks this spring (5 p.m. May 11, 5 p.m. May 25 and 5 p.m. June 8) that will be open to the public highlighting various aspects of the upcoming exhibition. (More details to follow.)

WINTER 2006 EXHIBITIONS

“The Anatomy of Gender: Arts of the Body in Early Modern Europe,” through March 12. Alsdorf Gallery. This Northwestern faculty-curated project presents a historical overview of anatomical illustrations from the 16th through 18th centuries, focusing on how the human body’s gender and sexual characteristics were represented in early modern scientific and medical texts.

Male and female anatomical differences seem to be self-evident, neutral truths of biology. And yet, throughout Western history, male and female bodies have been continuously subjected to diverse social, religious and cultural characterizations that are anything but neutral. Bringing together images in diverse media -- prints and printed books, small sculptures in ivory and wax -- this exhibition will explore the complex attitudes toward visualizing sexual differences in early Modern elite and popular culture.

“The Anatomy of Gender” is curated by Lyle Massey, assistant professor of art history, Northwestern University, and organized by the Block Museum with loans from the Alabama Museum of Health Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University, Evanston; Galter Health Sciences Library, Special Collections, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia; Science Museum, London; University of Chicago Library, Special Collections Research Center; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

“Comic Art: The Paris Salon in Caricature,” Main Gallery, through March 12. In 19th century Paris, weekly illustrated journals published scores of caricatures of both Parisian everyday life and special events. The exaggerated language of caricature and its satirical bite were integral to the modernity of the visual culture of the big city and the definition of its characteristic social types. The art world was a frequent target of these humorous publications, especially the annual Salon --  the huge juried art exhibition sponsored by the French government. Salon reviews in pictorial form poked fun at the yearly exhibition, from its massive display of paintings and sculptures, to the self-importance of viewers and the prevailing mediocrity of the works. The “Comic Art: The Paris Salon in Caricature” exhibition, organized by The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, examines the wit and scathing commentary of these graphic satires during their heyday.

To complement “Comic Art,” Northwestern University Art History Professor Hollis Clayson and 12 Northwestern graduate and undergraduate students have organized two other exhibitions exploring modern European caricature -- “Charles Philipon’s ‘La Caricature’ (1830-1835) and the Street” and “Political Currents Across the Channel: James Gillray’s Caricatures of France.”

“Charles Philipon’s ‘La Caricature’ (1830-1835) and the Street,” through March 12, Main Gallery. Charles Philipon’s scathing and scandalous journal “La Caricature” first appeared in 1830 and ran until 1835, when government censorship presented too many obstacles to continue publication. This exhibition, drawn from the holdings of Northwestern’s Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, presents a selection of caricatures from Philipon’s publication examining Parisian street and political life. The complete accessibility of the street to all of the city’s inhabitants provided the meeting ground for rich and poor, republican and royalist, aristocrat and bourgeois. Artists and intellectuals recognized the increasing importance of the Parisian street to the functioning and character of the city and began to view it as a personality in its own right. Caricaturists seized upon the satiric potential of the street as an arena for public interaction, entertainment and political commentary.

“Political Currents Across the Channel: James Gillray’s Caricatures of France,” through March 12, Print, Drawing and Photography Study Center. British artist James Gillray (1756-1815) was one of the most popular and prolific satirists of his time. During his career, Gillray produced more than 800 single-sheet caricatures addressing the political figures and social foibles of his time. The outrageous humor and brilliant color of his prints make them as trenchant and powerful today as when they were first shown 200 years ago. Also featuring works from Northwestern’s Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, “Political Currents Across the Channel” examines Gillray’s take on French politics, Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and difficult Anglo-French relationships in the wake of the 1789 French Revolution.

“Jeanne Dunning: Making Boys and Girls,” through March 12, Ellen Philips Katz and Howard C. Katz Gallery. This winter, the Block Museum premieres the latest work by internationally celebrated artist and Northwestern University Art Theory and Practice Associate Professor Jeanne Dunning. This video installation examines young children’s conceptions of gender differences. Produced in response to a psychological study Dunning read in a scientific journal, the exhibition features video of boys and girls aged 3 to 5 assembling “puzzle dolls” with detachable body parts and photographs of the dolls the children created.

ONGOING EXHIBITION

“Theo Leffmann: Weaving a Life into Art,” Theo Leffmann Gallery, ongoing exhibition through March 12. Theo Leffmann is recognized as a rich contributor to the American fiber art movement in the late 20th century. For more than 30 years, she liberated textiles from practical and decorative applications by using them as a means of personal expression. The Theo Leffmann Gallery highlights selections from the more than 75 fiber constructions by Leffmann in the Block Museum’s permanent collection through the generous gift of Paul Leffmann.

ARTIST TALK

Jeanne Dunning, 6 p.m. Thursday, March 2, Ellen Philips Katz and Howard C. Katz Gallery. Internationally recognized photographer and Northwestern University Art Theory and Practice Associate Professor Jeanne Dunning will discuss her latest work, “Making Boys and Girls,” a video installation that examines young children’s conceptions of gender differences, on display through March 12 in the Block Museum’s Howard C. Katz and Ellen Philips Katz Gallery. Space is limited. To reserve a seat, call (847) 491- 4852 or email block-museum@northwestern.edu.

ADULT TOURS AT THE BLOCK

Weekend Docent-Led Tours, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, through March 12. Block Museum docents will lead free tours of the galleries that begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary. Docent-Led Group Tours, by appointment. The Block Museum offers free docent-led tours to groups of eight or more. The 45-minute to hour-long tours are available each day the museum is open. Scheduled tour requests should be made at least four weeks in advance by calling (847) 491-4852 or by completing the Group Visit Registration Form at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/visit/guided-tours.html.

BLOCK SCULPTURE GARDEN

The Sculpture Garden of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art constitutes one of the most significant groupings of modern sculpture in the region. In 1987, Leigh Block, one of the museum’s inaugural donors and a preeminent collector of modern art, bequested a large group of outdoor bronze sculptures to the museum. These pieces formed the core of the collection, which now features monumental sculptures by some of the 20th century’s most renowned European and American sculptors. They include Barbara Hepworth, Jacques Lipchitz and Henry Moore. In 1989, the Block Museum opened its Sculpture Garden with nine of the monumental bronzes donated by Block. The Sculpture Garden was designed by Chicago architect John Vinci and has grown to 22 pieces through donations and acquisitions. It is open year-round. Sculpture Garden tours are available by appointment by calling (847) 491-4852.

DITTMAR MEMORIAL GALLERY

Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston campus.

The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Admission is free. The Dittmar Memorial Gallery places emphasis on ethnic cultural art, art by emerging artists, art by or about women, artwork by Northwestern undergraduate and graduate art students and traveling art shows. For information, call (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or go to the Norris Web site at www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.

MARCH 2006 EXHIBITIONS

Terry Dixon, “Jazz on Canvas,” Feb. 15 to March 19, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. Chicago artist Terry Dixon infuses African art, abstract expressionism and a love for jazz music into a series of contemporary bold and vibrant paintings. During an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, that is free and open to the public, art lovers can view the exhibition, meet the artist and listen to a campus jazz trio. Light refreshments will be provided.

David Holmes, “The Mystical Mechanical Menagerie,” March 30 to May 7, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. The intricate sculpture of David Holmes’ juxtaposes the organic and the mechanical, and explores the role of animals in a changing, and increasingly technology-driven, world. With materials such as metal, wood and found objects, Holmes shapes animal figures into curio-cabinet oddities. The artist states, “Animals have always been seen as ‘machines’ to expedite human progress… It is this basic theme of the man-made beast that is at the iconographic core of ’The Mystical Mechanical Menagerie.’” Informed by a sharp but darkly comic perspective, the “Menagerie” exhibition questions humanity’s intrusive presence in the natural world. An opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 6, is free and open to the public.

Topics: Campus Life