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December 2009 Visual Arts Calendar

Exhibits and events at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and Dittmar Gallery

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November 16, 2009 | by Judy Moore
Blue And White-2 - artist unknown

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, is located on Northwestern University's Evanston campus. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed on Monday. The museum also will close between exhibitions, from Dec. 14 through Jan. 14.

Admission to the museum and to all programs is free, unless noted. 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.

Winter 2010 Exhibition Preview

Block Museum's Winter 2010 exhibition, "A Room of Their Own: The Bloomsbury Artists in American Collections," Jan. 15 through March 14, will explore the connections between visual art, literature and social reform during the Bloomsbury era. It will feature more than 150 objects that reflect the creative vision and collaborations of the Bloomsbury group, a collective of British artists and writers active during the first half of the 20th century. Included in the range of visual arts will be oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, books, decorative art objects and designs by Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, Dora Carrington, and others. The winter exhibition is organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., in connection with the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, and N.C.

BLOCK MUSEUM DECEMBER 2009 EXHIBITIONS

"Henry Moore: Elephant Skull," through Dec. 13, Alsdorf Gallery. In the 1960s British sculptor Henry Moore became intrigued by the skull of an African elephant. He examined the object's internal and external spaces in a series of etchings printed as an album in 1970. At the time of publishing, Moore called the works "a mixture of observation and imagination," noting that while studying and drawing the skull up close he "could begin to see in it great deserts and rocky landscapes, big caves in the sides of hills, great pieces of architecture, columns and dungeons." The exhibition includes all 28 prints Moore produced for the portfolio, along with a rare original vellum cover. The album on display is a recent acquisition by the Block Museum. The exhibition includes the skull of an elephant on loan from Chicago's Field Museum.

"Robert Motherwell: An Attitude Toward Reality, From the Collection of the Walker Art Center," through Dec. 6, Main Gallery. The art and rhetoric of Robert Motherwell helped define the New York School, a group of abstract painters active in the 1940s and 1950s that also included Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning. With an extensive academic background, Motherwell acted as the movement's unofficial spokesperson. Influenced in his artwork by surrealism and psychology, Motherwell employed techniques designed to release the creative process from rational control and express the subconscious, as seen, for example, in his "Lyric Suite" drawings. His art explored themes both intimate, such as a series of collages incorporating cigarette packets and pieces of mail, and international, like "Elegy to the Spanish Republic," a subject he reworked in various formats throughout his life. "Robert Motherwell: An Attitude Toward Reality" offers an overview and introduction to the artist, spanning more than four decades of his career with more than 40 drawings, collages, prints and paintings. The exhibition is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

"Theo Leffman: Weaving a Life Into Art," through Dec. 6, Theo Leffman Gallery. 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 practice and decorative applications by using them as a means of personal expression. Through the generous gift of the late Paul Leffman, these works are part of the Block Museum's permanent collections.

BLOCK MUSEUM FALL 2009 EXHIBITION TOURS

Docent guided adult tours of the Fall 2009 exhibitions, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 2 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 6. Block Museum docents will lead free guided tours of "Henry Moore: Elephant Skull" and "Robert Motherwell: An Attitude Toward Reality, From the Collection of the Walker Art Center" exhibitions at 2 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 6. Tours of the galleries begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary.

BLOCK SCULPTURE GARDEN

The Sculpture Garden of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art constitutes one of the most significant groupings of modern sculpture in the Midwest 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 best known European and American sculptors, including Barbara Hepworth, Jacques Lipchitz and Henry Moore.

In 1989, the Block Museum opened its Sculpture Garden with nine 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 www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/collections/sculpture.html.

DITTMAR MEMORIAL GALLERY

The Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and admission-free, the gallery places emphasis on ethnic cultural art, art by emerging artists, art by or about women, artwork by Northwestern 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 www.norris.northwestern.edu/dittmar.php. The Dittmar Gallery will be closed from Dec. 7 through Jan. 5.

DECEMBER 2009 EXHIBITION

"5 Plus Genres of Chinese Art: Traditional and Contemporary," 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Nov. 4 through Dec. 6, 2009, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. The exhibition is part of China Festival 2009, organized by the Chicago chapter of the U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association (US-CPFA) and hosted by Northwestern University's Program of Asian and Middle East Studies. The festival, which takes place on Northwestern's Evanston campus, celebrates the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China and the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and China. Featuring works by contemporary master artists, the exhibition includes traditional paintings on themes of nature; 10 ink paintings of fish by Zhu Mingde; folk arts, kites, snuff bottle paintings and dough figurine sculptures; 40 photographs by more than 20 prominent Beijing photographers, on the theme, "Beijing at Night"; and photographs of contemporary artworks by professors from the prestigious China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. The exhibition, co-sponsored by the Northwestern University Asian and Middle East Studies Program, is free and open to the public. For information, call the gallery at (847) 491-2348, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit the Dittmar Web site at www.dittmar.northwestern.edu. Additional information about China Festival 2009 is available at www.uscpfa.org/chicago.