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April 2011 Visual Arts Calendar

Spring exhibitions at the Block Museum and Dittmar Gallery

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March 14, 2011 | by Judy Moore
Nnenna Okore, “On the Edge,” from March 30 through May 8, Dittmar Memorial Gallery.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- An exhibition of the role of photography in Kiki Smith’s art and an interactive installation of art works by Chicago-based art collective Temporary Services will be on display at Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum this spring.

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

The Dittmar Memorial Gallery will host Nigerian-born and Chicago-based artist Nnenna Okore’s exhibition, “On the Edge,” from March 28 through May 8.

MARY AND LEIGH BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART

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

www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.

BLOCK MUSEUM SPRING/SUMMER 2011 EXHIBITIONS

“I Myself Have Seen it: Photography and Kiki Smith,” April 8 through Aug. 14, Main Gallery. A major figure in contemporary art, Kiki Smith is best known for her sculpture, prints and drawings exploring corporeal (both human and animal) realms and, more recently, the world of fairy tales. The exhibition examines the ways Smith thinks and articulates her ideas visually, through the camera. The more than 200 objects in the exhibition include photographs Smith has used as source material for her art, photos she has taken that evoke fresh responses to and suggest new meanings for her other works as well as her explorations of photography as an independent art form -- from single images to manipulated and collaged pictures. The exhibition, which also features two video works and examples of Smith’s sculptures, was organized by the Henry Art Gallery and curated by the Henry’s chief curator, Elizabeth Brown, with support from Steven 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 artist group Temporary Services has gained attention for its experimental methods and strategies for making and displaying art. Through social actions, do-it-yourself projects, publications and public interventions, the artists Brett Bloom, Marc Fischer and Salem Collo-Julin aim to raise awareness about social, economic, environmental and political issues. The exhibition showcases recent endeavors such as “Designated Drivers,” an installation in which visitors can view and download art work by 20 artists as well as older projects, like “Self-Reliance Library,” which includes many of Temporary Services’ own publications on creativity and alternative living, and “Personal Plastic,” an exploration of plastic shopping bags and their presence in our lives.

“Theo Leffmann: Weaving a Life into Art,” April 8 through Aug. 14, 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.

BLOCK MUSEUM SPRING 2011 EXHIBITION TOURS

Docent-led Adult Tours of the Spring 2011 exhibitions, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays April 9 through June 19. Tours of the exhibitions will be held on Saturdays only from June 25 to Aug. 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 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.

BLOCK MUSEUM APRIL 2011 PROGRAMS

“Educating the Eye: Seeing Kiki Smith’s Art Through Photography,” 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 27. Elizabeth Brown, chief curator of the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery and curator of “I Myself Have Seen It: Photography and Kiki Smith,” the Block Museum’s Main Gallery spring and summer exhibition, leads an exclusive tour. The tour is free for Block members and $10 for nonmembers. Space is limited and reservations are required; call (847) 491-7540 for reservations.

“Curator’s Lecture: Photography and Kiki Smith,” 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27. Elizabeth Brown, chief curator at the Henry Art Gallery and curator of “I Myself Have Seen It” will discuss how Smith uses photography to inform, develop and interpret her art and as a means of creative expression.

BLOCK SCULPTURE GARDEN

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

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.

Nnenna Okore, “On the Edge,” from 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 transforms discarded newspaper, rope, burlap and clay into intricate sculptures and installations. 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.

Nathalie Rayter, a senior in the School of Education and Social Policy, contributed to this story.