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Kiki Smith's Photography and Temporary Services Projects at Block

Contemporary spring art exhibitions also feature work of Northwestern MFA students

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March 24, 2011 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- An unparalleled examination of the way renowned artist Kiki Smith thinks and articulates her ideas visually; an interactive installation by Chicago-based artist group Temporary Services; and a Northwestern University MFA student art exhibition are highlights of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art’s spring and summer exploration of provocative trends in contemporary visual media.

Free and open to the public, all three will be on view at the Block Museum, 40 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus.

KIKI SMITH AND PHOTOGRAPHY

A major figure in contemporary art, Kiki Smith is best known for her sculpture, prints and drawings exploring the human body and nature. “I Myself Have Seen It: Photography and Kiki Smith,” runs from April 8 to Aug. 14 in the Main Gallery. It features images the artist has used as source material, photographs of her work that suggest new meanings for her art, and her explorations of the medium as an independent art form. The exhibition was organized by the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle and curated by Elizabeth Brown, with support from Steven Johnson and Walter Sudol, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and ArtsFund.

TEMPORARY SERVICES

The Chicago-based artist group Temporary Services has gained attention for its experimental methods of 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. “Social Mobility: Collaborative Projects with Temporary Services,“ runs from April 8 to Aug. 14 in the Ellen Philips Katz and Howard C. Katz Gallery. It includes the new work “Designated Drivers,” an installation in which visitors can view and download art work by 20 artists; “Self-Reliance Library,” which includes many of Temporary Services’ own publications on creativity and alternative living; and “Personal Plastic,” which explores the presence of plastic shopping bags in our lives.

MFA THESIS EXHIBITION

The annual “MFA Thesis Exhibition from the Department of Art Theory and Practice,” runs from May 6 to June 19 in the Block’s Alsdorf Gallery. The exhibition represents the culmination of the course of study for the master of fine arts degree from Northwestern University. The works by MFA students Haig Aivazian, Cameron Crawford, Crystal Heiden, Eric May and Chris Naka vary in style and conceptual approach.

PROGRAMS

The following spring and summer 2011 programs will be at the Block Museum or elsewhere, as noted. Unless indicated, they are free and open to the public.

Block exhibition tours. Block Museum docents will lead free tours of the Kiki Smith and Temporary Services exhibitions at 1 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, April 9 through June 19. Summer tours of the exhibitions will be held on Saturdays only from June 25 to Aug. 13. To schedule a group or school tour, e-mail blockeducation@northwestern.edu or visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/visit/guided-tours.html.

“Educating the Eye: Seeing Kiki Smith’s Art Through Photography,” 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 27. Elizabeth Brown, chief curator of the Henry Art Gallery and curator of “I Myself Have Seen It: Photography and Kiki Smith,” will lead an exclusive tour of the exhibition. Free admission for Block members; $10 for nonmembers. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call (847) 491-7540.

“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 the exhibition “I Myself Have Seen It,” will discuss Smith’s use of photography to inform, develop and interpret her art and as a means of creative expression in itself.

“MFA Thesis Exhibition” opening reception, 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 6. Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences associate professor Steve Reinke, will talk about the Northwestern student artists and their work at 6 p.m.

Guided tours of Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Center, 1034 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7. These off-campus tours will be led by Northwestern University “MFA Thesis Exhibition” artist Eric May.

• “The Wolf at Your Doorstep,” 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 11. Northwestern University “MFA Thesis Exhibition” artist Haig Aivazian will present a multimedia lecture and performance about architecture, language and subjectivity.

“A Conversation with Kiki Smith,” 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12. Artist Kiki Smith will speak with Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, about her work.

• “E-Dogz Mobile Culinary Community Center,” 2 to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 14. Northwestern “MFA Thesis Exhibition” artist Eric May will set up a food truck outside the museum to offer cuisine and culinary education.

Block Cinema presents “Kiki Smith: Squatting the Palace” (Vivien Bittencourt and Vincent Katz, 2006, 45 minutes), 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21. This 2006 documentary film follows the New York-based artist from her East Village studio to a gallery in Venice, Italy, as Smith creates work and installs an exhibition.

BLOCK MUSEUM SPRING AND SUMMER HOURS

From April 8 to June 19, the Block Museum will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. From June 21 to Aug. 14, the museum will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. The museum is closed on Mondays. Admission to the galleries is free.

For more information, visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu or call (847) 491-4000.