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March 2007 Visual Arts Calendar

February 12, 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>.


“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.


“Block Book Club: Art and Literature in Weimar Germany,” 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1. Rainer Rumold, professor of German, Northwestern University's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Debbie Lewer, lecturer, history of art, University of Glasgow, Scotland, will lead a discussion of important artwork and literature from Weimar-era Germany, including the classic novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” and selections from artist George Grosz's autobiography. Cost is $10 for Block Museum members or $15 for nonmembers and includes a reading packet, which will be sent upon registration. Advance registration is required. Call (847) 491-4852 or e-mail <block-museum@northwestern.edu>. This program is organized in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Chicago.

“Out of Sight: New World Slavery and the Visual Imagination,” 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 3. On the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, this conference will gather an international roster of art historians, artists and theorists to examine the relationship between slavery and visual representations from the 16th century to the present. Renowned artist Fred Wilson will deliver the keynote address at 4:30 p.m. on March 1. Visit <www.wcas.northwestern.edu/arthistory> for details on registration, speakers, sponsors and related events.


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>.


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 are available by appointment by calling (847) 491-4852.


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>.


“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.

Clark Everett photography exhibition, “Seeking Higher Ground: Life in the Shadow of the Three Gorges Dam,” March 28 through May 7, Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Norris University Center. The Three Gorges Dam in central China will create the largest hydroelectric dam in the world. Scheduled for completion in 2009, the dam will span 1.3 miles across the Yangtze River near Yichang, Hubei province. This ambitious and controversial project boggles the mind with its scale and creates tremendous upheaval on various fronts. It attempts to remedy both catastrophic flooding as well as the increased demands for electricity in a rapidly developing society. The 400-mile-long reservoir created by the dam will require the resettlement of -- by Chinese government statistics -- 1.3 million people, sometimes far from their ancestral homes. Chicagoan Clark Everett's photographs examine the doomed or rapidly changing areas as well as the Chinese residents who are struggling with, to Western eyes, nearly inconceivable changes. “It is my hope that these photographs capture their dignity as they deal with the shifting landscapes, while at the same time preserve a record of a life the future will not know,” said Everett, who spent 14 months in China. He taught English at the Three Gorges University in Yichang. An opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 5, is free and open to the public.

Topics: Campus Life