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February 2007 Visual Arts Calendar

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January 30, 2007 | by Judy Moore

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, on Northwestern University's 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 also is free. For more 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>.

BLOCK MUSEUM WINTER 2007 EXHIBITIONS

“From the Trenches to the Street: Art from Germany, 1910s to 1920s,” Jan. 19 through March 18, Block Museum, Main Gallery. World War I was a formative experience for many German artists in the early 20th century. Although originally enthusiastic about the mission of the war, many artists were eventually disillusioned by the brutality and carnage they witnessed. The experience of war, as well as the ensuing social upheaval of the postwar years, informed the work of Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Käthe Kollwitz and others who created some of the most cynical, pessimistic and trenchant imagery of their time.

“Lovis Corinth: Weimar Period Prints,” Jan. 19 through March 18, Block Museum, Print, Drawing and Photography Study Center. Lovis Corinth's work manifests a nervous energy that reflects the volatile times in which he lived as well as his own anxieties and physical struggles. Yet in contrast to his contemporaries who directly addressed the trauma of war or of urban chaos, Corinth increasingly turned to traditional subject matter. This exhibition highlights graphic works Corinth created in the final years of his life, from self-portraiture to biblical, mythological and historical themes.

 “Nonsense and Experimentation: Dada Film Shorts,” Jan. 19 through March 18, Block Museum, Ellen Philips Katz and Howard C. Katz Gallery. Dada was essentially born out of World War I. Its rejection of reason and logic was a deliberate reaction against authority. Dada films embraced nonsense, irrationality and spontaneity while experimenting with time and movement. This exhibition includes a diverse selection of films by artists such as Viking Eggeling, Man Ray, Hans Richter and Marcel Duchamp.

“Wolfgang Gäfgen: Portfolios,” Jan. 19 through March 18, Block Museum, Alsdorf Gallery. Wolfgang Gäfgen, born in Germany and living in Paris, creates highly detailed, richly textured depictions of familiar objects. His recognizable subjects -- drapery, jackets and suitcases -- are treated as abstract form so they appear detached from a particular place, time or nationality. Gäfgen's approach represents a post-World War II interest in abstraction from an international perspective. Working primarily in the laborious technique of mezzotint he creates masterful prints with lush surfaces and tonalities.

“Theo Leffmann, Weaving A Life into Art,” ongoing exhibition, Jan. 19 through March 18, Block Museum, Theo Leffmann Gallery. Theo Leffmann is recognized as a rich contributor to the American fiber art movement in the late 20th century. The Theo Leffmann Gallery highlights selections from more than 75 fiber constructions by Leffmann in the Block Museum's permanent collection through the generous gift of Paul Leffmann.

FEBRUARY 2007 BLOCK MUSEUM EVENTS

Family Program, “Geometric Abstraction,” 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, Block Museum. After exploring the large-scale prints in the “Wolfgang Gäfgen: Portfolios” exhibition, children aged 7 to 14 and their parents, grandparents or caretakers will create their own prints using unconventional techniques such as potato and sponge printing. They also will assemble their own portfolios. Admission is free for Block Museum members and $5 per family for nonmembers. Advance registration is required. Call (847) 491-4852 or e-mail <blockmuseum@northwestern.edu>.  

Special Tour, “War and Weimar Art: The Collector's Perspective,” 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, Block Museum. Milwaukee art collector Kevin Kinney will lead a tour of works from his collection on view in the Block's Main Gallery exhibition “From the Trenches to the Street: Art from Germany, 1910s to 1920s.” A reception will follow.

Symposium, “Visual Culture in Germany between the Wars,” 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, Block Museum. This symposium considers the art and culture of Germany's Weimar Republic, with topics ranging from the use of war photographs in artistic practices to the creation of art for political purposes. Participants include Dora Apel, associate professor of art history, Wayne State University, Detroit; Reinhold Heller, professor of art history and Germanic studies, University of Chicago; Kent Hooper, professor of German, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Wash.; Paul Jaskot, associate professor of art and architectural history, DePaul University; Debbie Lewer, lecturer, history of art, University of Glasgow; and Northwestern's Rainer Rumold, professor of German, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Held in conjunction with the Block Museum's Winter 2007 exhibition “From the Trenches to the Street: Art from Germany, 1910s to 1920s,” this program is organized in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Chicago and with support from American Airlines.

ADULT TOURS AT THE BLOCK MUSEUM

Weekend Docent-Led Tours, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, from Jan. 30 through March 18. 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. Arrangements for group or school tours 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 Northwestern University's 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 through donations and acquisitions has grown to 22 pieces. Located on the Evanston campus, it is open year-round.

BLOCK SCULPTURE GARDEN TOURS

Block Sculpture Garden Tours are available by appointment by calling (847) 491-4852.

DITTMAR MEMORIAL GALLERY

The 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>.

DITTMAR MEMORIAL GALLERY WINTER 2007 EXHIBITIONS

Mary Jo Bowers and Donna June Katz, “Forms and Formations,” through Feb. 11, Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Norris University Center. Mary Jo Bowers and Donna June Katz break the traditional patterns of quilt making to create flowing organic images. Katz's work combines art and nature into maps that catalogue the flora and fauna of a specific location. Bowers creates work that seems harmonious and yet has elements of tension by manipulating the emotional impact of color, shape and line.

“Stories of the City” by the Sixth Street Photography Workshop, Feb. 14 through March 16, Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Norris University Center. Sixth Street Photography Workshop began in 1993 at various temporary photography studios set up in the community along “Sixth Street,” San Francisco's  “Skid Row,” as well as the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods. Members of these communities took the stunning portraits in this exhibition. They illustrate the creative style and the story of those surviving the city's impoverished conditions. An opening reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, is free and open to the public.

DITTMAR MEMORIAL GALLERY EVENT

“The Art of UTRIBE, Mask Making Workshop, 4 to 6:15 p.m. and 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, ARTica Studios, Norris University Center, underground level. Mitch Melson Jr., founder of UTRIBE, “an artistic approach to remembering the past, knowing the present and implying the future,” will conduct two identical workshops to teach the craft of African mask-making using 21st century concepts and recyclable materials. Each workshop is an enjoyable learning opportunity in a relaxed atmosphere. The workshops are sponsored by Dittmar Memorial Gallery in celebration of Black History Month. Course fee is $5 per workshop and includes all materials and light refreshments. To register, call the Norris Mini Course Office at (847) 467-7112.