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December 2008 Visual Arts Calendar

November 4, 2008 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- The 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. Note: The Block Museum will be closed from Dec. 15 to Jan. 12, for winter break; it will reopen Jan. 13 with two new Winter 2009 exhibitions (see details below).

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.


"Magdalena Abakanowicz: Reality of Dreams" exhibition, through Dec. 14, Block Museum's Alsdorf Gallery.
Renowned artist Magdalena Abakanowicz (born 1930) is one of the most potent voices in the art world today. Her creations, based primarily on human and animal forms, express a spiritual and philosophical quest. Abakanowicz is best known for large-scale installations in cities across the world, including the colossal "Agora," installed in Chicago's Grant Park in 2006. Growing up in Poland in the 20th century, Abakanowicz overcame traumatic events in European history, personal challenges and political oppression through dogged resourcefulness. Her art is informed by these experiences, and the theme of individuality within an anonymous multitude is repeated in her sculpture installation "Flock" and selected drawings made during some 25 years. The exhibition has been organized by the Block Museum of Art with the cooperation of Marlborough Gallery, New York.


Docent-Guided Adult Tours of the Fall 2008 exhibition, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art. Block Museum docents will lead free guided tours of Abakanowicz's "Reality of Dreams" exhibition at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 6 through Dec. 14. Tours of the galleries begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary.


"Polaroids: Mapplethorpe" exhibition, Jan. 13 through April 5, Bock Museum's Alsdorf Gallery. This exhibition traces Robert Mapplethorpe's use of instant photography from 1970 to 1975. The show brings together 100 works, including self-portraits, figure studies, still-lifes and portraits of friends and lovers such as Patti Smith and Sam Wagstaff. "Polaroids: Mapplethorpe" is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation in New York. Some material may be inappropriate for younger or more sensitive audiences.

"From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci: A Century of Italian Drawings from the Prado" exhibition, Jan. 23 through April 5, Block Museum's Main Gallery. This exhibition of 70 drawings explores the working methods of the most important artists active in Italy during a time of unprecedented artistic patronage. Focusing on the period form Mannerism to the early Baroque (1520-1620), the exhibition features detailed studies for commissioned work as well as intimate "primi pensieri" -- quick sketches that captured the "heat" of a creative moment. "From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci" is organized and circulated by Art Services International in Alexandria, Va., in association with The Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Support for the exhibition has been provided by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, The Chisholm Foundation, and an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.


Docent-Guided Adult Tours of the Winter 2009 exhibitions, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art. Block Museum docents will lead free guided tours of the "Polaroids: Mapplethorpe" and "From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci: A Century of Italian Drawings from the Prado" exhibitions at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Jan. 24 through April 5. Tours of the galleries begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary.


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, bequeathed 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/.


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. (Note: Norris Center will be closed from Dec. 24 through Jan. 1, for winter break.) 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


"Focus on Africa: Celebrating 60 Years of the Program of African Studies," Nov. 7 through Dec. 17, Dittmar Memorial Gallery.
In 1948, Professor Melville J. Herskovits was granted the funding to launch the Program of African Studies (PAS) at Northwestern University. The Program of African Studies will hold a fall exhibition of art and archival materials as part of its 60th anniversary yearlong celebration. The mixed-media exhibition was curated by department of anthropology and PAS alumna Justine Cordwell. It will bring together many stunning and priceless art objects commissioned by or donated to the Program of African Studies. The exhibition includes materials from the archives of Northwestern's Herskovits Library of African Studies -- the largest separate collection of Africana anywhere in the world -- and photographs donated by many of the Program's early alumni. "Focus on Africa" will provide a picture of what African studies was like at the discipline's onset and will trace Herskovits' early travels as well as highlight his efforts to create an interdisciplinary center for the study of Africa at Northwestern. The exhibition will also take visitors to the Dittmar on an audio and visual "walk" through PAS today by allowing visitors to experience the sounds of Africa and the words of many of its most famous academics. The exhibition is presented with support from the Herskovits Library of African Studies, the Northwestern University Library Archives, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum, the Dittmar Memorial Gallery and alumni of the Program of African Studies.

The "Focus on Africa" exhibition is part of a yearlong series of events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Program of African Studies. For a complete listing of PAS events -- which include conferences, films, plays and lectures -- visit http://www.northwestern.edu/pasanniversary/.


"Petra Kralickova: Silent Longing," Jan. 5 through Feb. 8, Dittmar Memorial Gallery.
"Silent Longing" is a site-specific installation by Czechoslovakian-born and Ohio-based artist Petra Kralickova. Works in "Silent Longing" speak quietly of yearning, a persistent ache for what is unattainable and out-of-reach. The act of longing itself interests Kralickova rather than the reason behind such a feeling. Uninhabited cages, idle archways, slumped cord lines, string and sand form the installation. Sand was added as filler to pull the material to its boundaries. For more information on the artist visit http://www.petrakralickova.com. An opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, is free and open to the public.
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