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June 2008 Visual Arts Calendar

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May 6, 2008 | by Judy Moore
MARY AND LEIGH BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, is on Northwestern University's Evanston campus. The museum's 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 http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.

BLOCK MUSEUM SPRING AND SUMMER 2008 EXHIBITIONS

"Design in the Age of Darwin: From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright," May 9 through Aug. 24, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Main Gallery; Print, Drawing and Photography Study Center and Ellen Philips Katz and Howard C. Katz Gallery. With the publication of "The Origin of Species" in 1859, Charles Darwin challenged the foundations of both science and culture. His ideas about the transmutation of species and the mutability of nature provoked strong reactions among naturalists and theologians and continue to stir debate today. It is less well known that the influences of Darwinian and other modes of evolutionary thought extended into the realms of architecture, the decorative arts and design, as well, where biological terms like "adaptation," "fitness," "functionalism" and "type" were used by theorists and practitioners alike. During the 50 or so years following the publication of "The Origin of Species," biologists and designers wrestled with the question of whether the evolution of plants and animals, and the decorative forms derived from them, was the result of an internal dynamic presided over by a divine creator or external factors governed by mere contingency. The dispute, which may be called the "formalism/functionalism debate," was engaged by the English designers William Morris, Christopher Dresser, C.F.A. Voysey and C.R. Ashbee, as well as the American architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, whose works are included in the exhibition. This exhibition is guest curated by Northwestern art history professor Stephen F. Eisenman. A full-color catalogue ($36.95) and a May 17 daylong international symposium enrich the "Design in the Age of Darwin" exhibition. This program is part of American Art American City, a Chicago-wide art initiative sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

"The MFA Thesis Exhibition from the Department of Art Theory and Practice," May 9 through June 22, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Alsdorf Gallery.
This annual exhibition represents the culmination of the course of study for the master of fine arts degree from Northwestern. The works vary in style and conceptual approach, manifesting the individual vision of the artists. The artists in this year's exhibition are Curt Bozif, Lisa Majer and Tim Mazurek.

Theo Leffmann, "Weaving a Life into Art," through Aug. 24.
Theo Leffman is recognized as a rich contributor to the American fiber art movement in the late 20th century. For more than 30 years, Leffman liberated textiles from practical and decorative applications by using them as means of personal expression. Through the generous gift of the late Paul Leffmann, these works are part of the Block Museum's permanent collections.

BLOCK MUSEUM SPRING 2008 EXHIBITION TOURS

Weekend Guided Adult Tours of the exhibition "Design in the Age of Darwin: From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright," Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Main Gallery, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from May 10 through May 25 and 2 p.m. Saturdays only from May 31 through Aug. 23. Block Museum docents will lead free tours of the galleries that begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary.

Docent-Led Group, School and Summer Camp Tours by Appointment, May 9 through Aug. 24.
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. The Block also provides interactive tours and activities for school and summer camp groups. 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 http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/visit/guided-tours.html.

BLOCK MUSEUM APRIL 2008 PUBLIC EVENTS

Block Lecture, "Charles Darwin: Evolution and Influence," 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 5, at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art. Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences professors Stephen F. Eisenman (art history) and Teresa Horton (neurobiology and physiology) will explore the basic principles of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and its impact on design aesthetics. Horton will examine how evolutionary thought changed the way humans perceive their role in nature, and Eisenman will discuss the influence of Darwin on 19th and 20th century design. An extended question-and-answer period will follow their talks. The event is free and open to the public.

Gallery Talk, 6 p.m. Thursday, June 12, at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art. Join Northwestern art history professor Stephen F. Eisenman for an informative exploration of the exhibition "Design in the Age of Darwin." The event is free and open to the public.

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, including Barbara Hepworth, Jacques Lipchitz and Henry Moore.

In 1989, the Block Museum opened its Sculpture Garden with nine of the monumental bronzes donated by Leigh 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. For more information about the Sculpture Garden, visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/collections/sculpture.html/.

Guided Tours of the Sculpture Garden, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 2 p.m. Sunday, from June 1 through Aug. 24. Block Museum docents will lead free tours of the Block's outdoor Sculpture Garden. Tour groups meet at, and depart from, the Block Museum entrance. Pre-arranged tours of the Sculpture Garden for groups, schools and summer camps are also available by appointment only. To book a special tour call (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 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 the Dittmar Gallery at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit the Dittmar Web site at http://www.norris.northwestern.edu/dittmar.php.

DITTMAR MEMORIAL GALLERY SPRING EXHIBITIONS

"InsideOut: Art Theory and Practice Senior Exhibition, May 16 through June 20, Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Norris University Center. This annual exhibition features the artwork of the 2007-08 Northwestern department of art theory and practice majors. The show exemplifies the diverse ideas and styles of the artists in multiple media -- drawing, painting, photography and sculpture. Artwork by 14 students will be on display, including Rachel Aherin, Eddie Chavez, Megan Chiou, Emma Cuciurean-Zapan, Rebecca Horning-Fleming, Stephanie Llamas, Britt Lower, Margot McKirdy, Sarah Mumma, Anisha Nadkarni, Baley Phelps, Cate Smierciak, Vanessa Soberanis and Sang Zhang. An opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 16, is free and open to the public.