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March 2011 Visual Arts Calendar

February 23, 2011 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- An exhibition of artist Thomas Rowlandson’s satirical depictions of political and social life in the late 18th- and early 19th-century England, and a complementary exhibition of contemporary prints and graphics, will be on display at Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum through March 13.

Other Block Museum events include discussions, lectures and exhibition tours.

A March 10 gallery night to benefit the Block Museum will be held in a River North art gallery building in Chicago.

The Dittmar Memorial Gallery continues to host Stephen Flemister and Krista Franklin’s exhibition “Tech Noire,” through March 16. The gallery’s spring exhibition, Nnenna Okore’s “On the Edge,” opens March 30 and runs through May 8.



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 Mondays.

Admission to the museum and all programs is free, unless noted. For more information on exhibitions, programs or location, phone (847) 491-4000 or go to the Block Museum website at




“I Myself Have Seen it: Photography and Kiki Smith,” April 8 through Aug. 14, Main Gallery. Comprising loans from the artist’s archives and several private collections, this exhibition explores the distinct ways photographs play a central role in the development of Smith’s aesthetic. The exhibition was curated for the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle by Elizabeth Brown with support from Steve Johnson and Walter Sudol, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and ArtsFund.

“Social Mobility: Collaborative Projects with Temporary Services,” April 8 through Aug. 14, Ellen Phillips Katz and Howard C. Katz Gallery. The Chicago-based collaborative artists’ group Temporary Services has gained national and international attention for its experimental methods for making and displaying art. Through social actions, do-it-yourself projects, publications and public interventions, artists Brett Bloom, Marc Fischer and Salem Collo-Julin aim to raise awareness about social, economic, environmental and political issues. This interactive installation combines older and more recent works.


“Thomas Rowlandson: Pleasures and Pursuits in Georgian England,” through March 13, Main Gallery. One of the most popular satirists of his period, Rowlandson (1757-1827) applied his masterful drawing skills and keen sense of humor to colorful, detailed and sometimes bawdy depictions of everyday London life during the late 18th and early 19th- centuries. The first major exhibition of Rowlandson’s work in the United States in 20 years, “Pleasures and Pursuits” provides the opportunity for a reappraisal of the artist’s watercolors, drawings and prints and English life at a time of economic expansion and social change. The exhibition is organized by the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with support from the Evelyn Metzger Exhibition Fund, and Furthermore, a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

“The Satirical Edge in Contemporary Prints and Graphics,” through March 13, Alsdorf Gallery. Drawn primarily from the Block Museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition features works from the 1950s to the present by artists active in the United States who use printmaking to create commentary on warfare, greed and injustice. The show includes printmakers from the mid-20th century, including William Gropper, Warrington Colescott  and Sidney Chafetz. A later generation is represented by artists Tom Huck and Enrique Chagoya and contemporary artists, including R. Crumb, Sue Coe and the Guerrilla Girls, a feminist art collective.

“Theo Leffmann: Weaving a Life into Art,” through March 13, Theo Leffmann Gallery. Artist Theo Leffmann’s 40-year-career coincided with a revolution in textile art in the mid-20th century, as divisions between “high art” (painting and sculpture) and craft diminished. This display of her colorful, richly textured and playful weavings, wall hangings and sculptural objects is drawn from the Block Museum’s permanent collection.



Docent guided Adult Tours of the Winter 2011 exhibitions, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 13. Tours begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary.


Docent-led Group and School Tours by Appointment. The Block Museum offers free docent-led tours to groups of eight or more. The 45-minute-long tours are available each day the museum is open. The Block also provides hourlong interactive tours and activities for school groups. Arrangements for group or school tours should be made at least four weeks in advance by e-mailing blockeducation@northwestern.edu. Visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/education for more information.



“Ribald Antiquity: Bodies, Statues and the Lust for Classicism in Thomas Rowlandson’s Art,” 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2. English artist Rowlandson represents a strain of neoclassicism that reveled in the physical liberty (either in fact or imagination) associated with antiquity. Amelia Rauser, associate professor of art history at Franklin and Marshall College and a contributor to the Rowlandson exhibition catalogue, will discuss the eroticism of antique art that surfaces in Rowlandson’s oeuvre. Support for this program is provided by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Northwestern University.


Warnock Lecture Series, “Liner Notes for Lick Piece,” 4 p.m. Thursday, March 3. Fred Moten, associate professor of English at Duke University, will explore the relation between performance art and musical performance as enacted in the 1964 composition by Fluxus artist Benjamin Patterson’s “Lick Piece” and recent versions of “Carmen” and “Tristan and Isolde.” (Fluxus is an international network of 1960s artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines.) With some extended reference to Carolee Schneemann and Bertolt Brecht, this lecture will take its lead from Rebecca Schneider’s theory of “the explicit body in performance” to consider racial implications of this important feminist paradigm. The event is cosponsored by the Northwestern University department of art history. Admission is free.


“Building the Block: A Benefit in River North,” 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10, 230 West Superior St., Chicago. A special evening of art, drinks and hors d’oeuvres to benefit the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, this event will display and put up for sale art works in seven galleries within one River North building in Chicago. Tickets are $125 per person. A portion of all sales will support the Block Museum. To view featured artwork, visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/benefit/im/. Reservations should be made by Friday, March 4. E-mail h-hilken@northwestern.edu or call (847) 491-7969 for reservations.


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 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  --- Check this out with Megan Lee)

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 website at www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.

“Tech Noire: The Art of Stephen Flemister and Krista Franklin” exhibition, through March 16, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. In their 20 mixed medium collages, paintings and sketches, Chicago-based artists Stephen Flemister and Krista Franklin explore ideas of the black body and black identity through digital and futuristic landscapes. Flemister’s artwork encompasses surveillance culture, the “dark side” of the digital, and the collision of the public and the private spheres. Franklin’s mixed-media work repositions blackness through an “Afrofuturistic” lens, and plays on science fiction and speculative literature and cinema, as well as the iconography of film noir. For more information on Flemister, visit http://stephenflemister.com. For more on Franklin, visit  http://www.kristafranklin.com.

“On the Edge” exhibition, Nnenna Okore, March 30 through May 8, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. The exhibition features the work of Chicago-based and Nigerian-born artist Nnenna Okore. Most of the works are constructed from handmade paper layered with fibrous materials and dyes. Okore finds reusable value in discarded newspaper, rope, burlap and clay and transforms them into intricate sculptures and installations through labor-intensive techniques, including some that she learned by watching local Nigerians perform daily tasks. An opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 1, is free and open to the public. To view Okore’s works, visit the artist’s website at www.nnennaokore.com.
Topics: Campus Life