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Northwestern Visual Arts in April

Block exhibits rare 16th-century prints and Dittmar displays installations by Meredith Setser

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March 19, 2012 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- With an April 8 closing date, time is running out to visit the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art’s Winter 2012 exhibition, “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe.” The exhibition examines the role of celebrated artists in scientific explorations and discoveries. The free exhibition is on view to the public in two of the Northwestern University museum’s galleries.

The Block’s spring 2012 exhibition, “Art on Paper: Prints, Drawings and Photographs from the Block Museum,” opens May 11 and will run though Aug. 26, 2012. “Art on Paper” celebrates the depth and diversity of the Block’s permanent collection and its role within Northwestern’s intellectual and cultural life, with compelling works by artists like Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Mary Cassatt and Ed Paschke.

The Block Museum, at 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus, 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. www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu or call (847) 491-4000.

Dittmar Memorial Gallery’ Spring 2012 exhibition, “Coalescence/Diaspora,” featuring installations by artist Meredith Setser, opens March 29 and runs through May 13.

Exhibitions at University Library at 1970 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus are open to the public daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The newest Northwestern University Library exhibition, “Step by Step: The History of Dance at Northwestern,” opens March 26 and runs through May 12. Another exhibition, “Papering Over Tough Times: Soviet Propaganda Posters of the 1930s,” runs through June 15. For more information, visit www.library.northwestern.edu or call (847) 491-7658.

BLOCK MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

“Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe,” through April 8, 2012, Main Gallery and Alsdorf Gallery. Organized by the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Mass., in collaboration with the Block, this exhibition examines how celebrated Northern Renaissance artists contributed to the scientific inquiries of the 16th century. Rare and treasured prints, drawings, books, maps and scientific instruments demonstrate that artists were not just illustrators in the service of scientists. Their work also played an active role in facilitating the understanding of new concepts in astronomy, geography, natural history and anatomy. In-gallery digital displays, video and a smart phone audio tour, an iPhone/iPad app, and replicas of sundials, globes and other tools add an interactive component to the exhibition. An illustrated catalogue available for $60 features contributions from Northwestern art history Associate Professor Claudia Swan and graduate student Kathleen Tahk. The exhibition can be explored through an interactive tool and videos or by downloading the iPhone/iPad app linked on the Block Museum website.

The exhibition and its catalogue are made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mrs. Arthur K. Solomon, Lionel and Vivian Spiro, Walter and Virgilia Klein, Julian and Hope Edison, Novartis on behalf of Dr. Steven F. Hyman, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Barbara and the late Robert Wheaton, the Goldman Sachs Foundation and an anonymous donor. Support for the exhibition at the Block is provided by the Myers Foundations; Lyrica Endowment; Netherland-America Foundation; Samuel H. Kress Foundation; Alumnae of Northwestern University; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; IFPDA (International Fine Print Dealers Association) Foundation; Robert Lehman Foundation; Alsdorf Endowment; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the Evanston Arts Council.

ONGOING BLOCK EXHIBITION

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

SPECIAL EVENT/A DAY WITH NORTHWESTERN IN EVANSTON

“Art Now! The Global Explosion,” 9 a.m. Saturday, April 14, Northwestern University’s Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. Lisa Corrin, the Block Museum’s Ellen Philips Katz Director and senior lecturer in the department of art history, will speak as part of A Day with Northwestern in Evanston, an annual program of lectures and presentations on a variety of timely topics from some of the University’s most distinguished alumni and faculty. Corrin will provide an inside look at the evolving global landscape of art and how it will shape the future of the Block and other art museums. A Day with Northwestern is organized by the Northwestern Alumni Association. Registration by March 30 is required. The daylong event is open to the public. Visit alumni.northwestern.edu/adwn for information on registration, admission costs and more. Discounts are available for students and young Northwestern alumni.

BLOCK MUSEUM EXHIBITION TOURS

Compass Quest Self-Guided Family Tours, through April 8. Families are encouraged to discover navigational tools, maps and prints in “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge” by using Block Museum’s explorers kit, available for free checkout during public hours.

Block Museum docents will lead guided tours of “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge” at 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through April 8. Tours for classes or groups of eight or more people are also available with advance notice. Contact blockeducation@northwestern.edu or visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/visit/gallery-tours.html.

Northwestern Student Docent Exhibition Tours, 6 p.m. Thursday, April 5. How can you tell time in multiple countries using a folded piece of paper? Find out the answer to this and other questions during informal and interactive 45-minute tours of “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge,” hosted by Northwestern student docents.

BLOCK BENEFIT

Block Museum benefit, “Block in Motion,” 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 21, Block Museum. The Block Museum galleries will be transformed for a special evening to benefit the Block Museum. Guests will view two monumental prints by artist Sarah Sze to be added to the museum’s permanent collection. At 9 p.m. Block Museum Director Lisa Corrin and artist Michael Rakowitz will discuss, “Why Make Art?” Cocktails and a buffet will be served. Tickets are $125 per person. For tickets, call (847) 491-7969. For more information, visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/support/block-in-motion.html.

UNIVERSITY LIBRARY EXHIBITIONS 2011-12

Exhibitions at University Library at 1970 Campus Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, are open to the public daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.library.northwestern.edu or call (847) 491-7658.

(NEW) “Step by Step: The History of Dance at Northwestern” opens March 26 and runs through May 11, at University Library. As early as 1866, the Northwestern Female College (eventually absorbed into Northwestern University) offered calisthenics to its students “for a small extra charge." As Northwestern grew, dance and movement continued to have several homes across the campus. In 1979, Northwestern Professor Susan A. Lee created a program in dance in the department of theatre that would honor dance as a distinct discipline and support the artistic nature of the field, while encouraging the emerging scholarly activity. The “Step by Step” exhibition traces the way dance came of age on Northwestern’s Evanston campus with a selection of archival materials as well as dance-related figurines from Lee’s private collection. Lee will give a curator’s talk at noon Monday, April 9, at the exhibit on the main floor of the library. Admission is free.

“Papering Over Tough Times: Soviet Propaganda Posters of the 1930s,” through June 15, University Library. 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.

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. dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.

DITTMAR EXHIBITIONS

Meredith Setser, “Coalescence/Diaspora” exhibition, March 29 through May 13, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. Printmaker and textile artist Meredith Setser’s felt installations are typically composed of small fragments of printed information and patterns derived from many different sources, including biology and geology, and melded into larger, unified pieces. Her works suggest biological commonalities shared by plants, animals and humans, such as dispersion, migration and displacement. Setser is assistant professor of printmaking at Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. The exhibition and an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 29, are free and open to the public. For more on Setser, visit www.meredithsetser.com.