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Summer 2008 Visual Arts Calendar

June 11, 2008 | by Judy Moore


Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, is located 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.


"Design in the Age of Darwin: From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright," 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 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) enriches 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.

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 a means of personal expression. Through the generous gift of the late Paul Leffmann, these works are part of the Block Museum's permanent collections.


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. every Saturday 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, 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.


Family Day, 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 12, Block Museum. Families are invited to visit the Block Museum for collaborative art activities including clay sculpting and paper art, an outdoor scavenger hunt in the Sculpture Garden and more. Recommended for families with children five to 12 years old. Admission is free.

Gallery Talk, 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, Block Museum. Block Museum curator Corinne Granof will present an informative talk about the exhibition "Design in the Age of Darwin."


Adult Studio Class, Ceramics, 1 to 4 p.m. every Saturday from July 12 through Aug. 9, ARTica Studios, Norris Center, 1999 Campus Drive. The Block Museum and ARTica Studios present a hands-on studio class for adults. Taught by ARTica artist-in-residence Wendy Miller, this five-week class focuses on sculpting with clay, from hand building to wheel work. The class includes visits to the "Design in the Age of Darwin" exhibition. The class meets in the ARTica Studios in the underground level of Northwestern's Norris University Center. Cost is $140 for Block Museum members; $150 for nonmembers. Price includes all materials, glazing and firing and studio time outside of class. Recommended for beginners. Advance registration required. Call (847) 491-4852 or e-mail block-museum@northwestern.edu.


The Sculpture Garden of Northwestern'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. every Sunday, 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.


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.


Laurie Rubin photography exhibition, June 26 through Aug. 10, Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. Chicago photographer Laurie Rubin's newest work transforms common, everyday objects that are often overlooked or discarded into striking images that border on the sculptural and architectural. The large-format photographs in Rubin's "Book Series" are an exploration of relationships between books from her collection of other people's diaries, scrapbooks, sketchbooks and photo albums. Her "Box Series" photographs evolved from her collection of discarded packaging, and include arrangements of vividly colored and empty jewelry, scarf and tie boxes from international luxury retail outlets. An opening reception at the gallery, from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 27, is free and open to the public.

Topics: Campus Life