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December 2011 Visual Arts Calendar

Northwestern University exhibitions and events at Block Museum and Dittmar Gallery

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November 16, 2011 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- An exhibition of Soviet art posters and cartoons that is a vivid reminder of the Cold War era; a companion exhibition of pre-Russian Revolution book art; and displays of Russian and American World War II propaganda posters and memorabilia from a famous Russian composer’s 1973 Evanston campus visit will be open to the public through early December.

All are among the fall 2011 exhibitions at Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, and University Library, 1970 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. All five exhibitions are free and open to the public.

The Block Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday; and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The museum is closed on Monday. The Block also will be closed from Dec. 12 through Jan. 16, during winter break. It will re-open Jan. 17 through April 8, for the Winter 2012 exhibition, “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe.” For more information, visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu or call (847) 491-4000.

The University Library exhibits are open to the public daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Dec. 9. From Dec. 10 through Jan. 2, the library will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and closed on Sunday. For more information, visit www.library.northwestern.edu or call (847) 491-7658.

The exhibitions listed below are part of The Soviet Arts Experience, a 16-month long, Chicago-wide showcase of art created under and in response to the Politburo of the Soviet Union. Visit www.SovietArtsExperience.org for a full schedule of events.

BLOCK MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

“Views and Re-Views: Soviet Political Posters and Cartoons” through Dec. 4, Block Museum, Main Gallery. Two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, Views and Re-Views” provides a post-Cold War assessment of Soviet graphic arts with posters, cartoons, postcards and photomontages from six decades. It reconsiders the artistic merits and stylistic diversity of art created as state propaganda. The exhibition includes well-known Soviet graphic works by artists Viktor Deni, Dmitri Moor, El Lissitsky and Gustav Klutsis as well as lesser-known but equally compelling work by the Kukryniksy (a three-artist collaborative), Alexander Zhitomirsky and others. The exhibition was organized by the David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University.

“Tango with Cows: Book Art of the Russian Avant-Garde, 1910–1917,” through Dec. 11, Block Museum, Alsdorf Gallery. The exhibition chronicles the dramatic transformation of book art during the tumultuous years before the Russian Revolution when visual artists and writers collaborated on hand-lithographed publications to convey intense ambivalence about their country’s past, present and future. The exhibition title comes from a book and poem by Russian avant-garde poet Vasily Kamensky. It is organized by the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

ONGOING BLOCK EXHIBITION

“Theo Leffmann: Weaving A Life into Art,” through Dec. 4, Block Museum, Theo Leffman Gallery. The fiber art of Chicago artist Theo Leffmann (1911-96) evokes the ancient and the exotic, echoing pre-Columbian and non-Western processes and forms with a distinct personal vision. Her 40-year career coincided with a revolution in textile art as the division between “high art” and “craft” diminished. The display of Leffmann’s colorful, richly textured and playful weavings, wall hangings and sculptural objects is drawn from the Block Museum’s permanent collection. The works are generous gifts from her husband Paul Leffmann.

UNIVERSITY LIBRARY EXHIBITIONS 2011/12

“They Were Fighting for Our Freedom: American and Soviet Propaganda Posters of World War II,” through March 19, University Library. “They Were Fighting for Our Freedom” examines the portrayal of war themes -- courage, strength in numbers, the home front, heroic military traditions, the vile foe -- in the different artistic languages of the United States and the U.S.S.R. The exhibition is a collaboration of University Library and the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography/Kunstkamera, St. Petersburg.

“Dmitri Shostakovich at Northwestern,” through March 19, University Library. In June 1973, Northwestern gave Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich an honorary degree. Organized by the Northwestern Music Library and University Archives, this exhibition recalls Shostakovich’s visit to campus through original documents and materials, including rare Shostakovich scores published in the Soviet Union.

“Papering Over Tough Times: Soviet Propaganda Posters of the 1930s,” through June 15. Drawn from the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, the exhibition documents attempts by the Soviet government to inspire, placate, inform and frighten its citizens during an era of social engineering.

BLOCK MUSEUM EXHIBITION TOURS

Block exhibition tours. Block Museum docents will lead free tours of “Views and Re-Views” and “Tango with Cows” at 1 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, through Dec. 4. To schedule a group or school tour, e-mail blockeducation@northwestern.edu or visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/visit/guided-tours.html.

DITTMAR MEMORIAL GALLERY

The Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston

campus is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The Dittmar Gallery is closed from Dec. 12 through Jan. 3. The gallery will reopen Jan. 4 to Feb. 5, with the Winter 2012 exhibition, “When the Body Speaks,” featuring the works of Chicago artist Marci Rubin. Admission is free. The gallery focuses 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.

Norris Center will be closed from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1, 2012, for winter break. 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 www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.

DECEMBER EXHIBITION

Ryan Hogan and Jaime Raybin, “Suspension,” through Dec. 11, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. Material-driven installation artists Ryan Hogan and Jaime Raybin work with ambiguous specimen-like forms. Because of the similarities of their work, they decided to show their works together. “Suspension” fuses art and biology and features exclusively self-illuminating work. For more on the artists and their work, visit www.suspensionexhibition.com. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
Topics: Campus Life