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September/October 2005 Visual Arts Calendar

September 19, 2005 | by Judy Moore

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. The museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed on Monday. Admission to the museum is free; unless noted, admission to all programs is also free.

For information regarding Block Museum exhibitions, programs or location, phone (847) 491-4000 or go to the Block Museum Web site at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.


 “Marion Mahony Griffin: Drawing in the Form of Nature,” Sept. 23 through Dec. 4, Alsdorf Gallery. Standard histories of early 20th century architects and architecture have not fully recognized the contributions of Marion Mahony Griffin. She is usually considered, along with her husband, Walter Burley Griffin, as a minor contributor to Prairie School architecture. This exhibition will be the first devoted entirely to Mahony Griffin’s graphic work and represents a new critical appreciation of her art as a largely independent and significant practice.

 Mahony Griffin’s graphic art is defined by her innovative representations of the natural landscape. Botanical forms are woven into her architectural presentation drawings and murals and are also influential to her architectural designs and the subject of her little-known series of Australian flora. This Block Museum-organized exhibition will interpret Mahony Griffin’s treatment of vegetation as seen in her American domestic architectural commissions and Australian botanical studies. A catalogue with critical essays and full-color images will accompany the exhibition.

 “Paths to the Press: Printmaking and American Women Artists, 1910-1960,” Sept. 23 through Dec. 11, Main Gallery. American women printmakers have always worked both independently and in tandem with their male counterparts creating innovative and arresting works, but they have been underrepresented in the history of printmaking. This exhibition surveys the graphic work of 80 women artists including Mary Cassatt, Elizabeth Catlett, Bertha Lum and June Wayne, who were active in the medium during the first half of the 20th century. The “Paths to the Press” exhibition is organized by the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.

 “Maybelle Stamper: Works on Paper,” Sept. 23 to Dec. 11, Print, Drawing and Photography Study Center. “Maybelle Stamper: Works on Paper” is the Block-organized companion exhibition to “Paths to the Press” exploring the personal and introspective work of Maybelle Stamper, who withdrew from the public eye at the height of her career in the 1940s. This exhibition presents a selection of her paintings, prints and drawings, which are sometimes aligned with Symbolist styles.

 “Steina Vasulka: Orbital Obsessions,” Sept. 23 through Dec. 11, Katz Gallery. After producing pioneering work with her husband Woody Vasulka in the 1970s, Steina Vasulka focused on the electronic interrelation and manipulation of sound and image. “Orbital Obsessions” includes excerpts from her groundbreaking videos “Signifying Nothing” (1975), “Sound and Fury” (1975), “Switch! Monitor! Drift!” (1976) and “Snowed Tapes” (1977), all made with an invented device called “Machine Vision.” In these pieces, Vasulka focuses on time, space and movement, and the means by which the mechanical can inform and engage with electronic media.


 “Theo Leffmann: Weaving a Life into Art,” ongoing exhibition, Sept. 23 through Dec. 11, Theo Leffmann Gallery. Theo Leffmann is recognized as a rich contributor to the American fiber art movement in the late 20th century. For more than 30 years, she liberated textiles from practical and decorative applications by using them as a means of personal expression. The Theo Leffmann Gallery highlights selections from the more than 75 fiber constructions by Leffmann in the Block Museum’s permanent collection through the generous gift of Paul Leffmann.


 Phyllis Weil Ellis Lecture, “Crossing Paths: American Women Artists as Printmakers, 1910-1960,” 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6. Elizabeth Seaton, assistant curator at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University, will address the relationships between the diverse female printmakers in the Block Museum’s “Paths to the Press” exhibition on view in the Main Gallery from Sept. 23 through Dec. 11.

 Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Eric R. Multhauf Lunchtime Lectures, “Marion Mahony Griffin Pattern and Design: Architectural Connections between America and Australia,” 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Block Museum Senior Curator Debora Wood and graduate Block fellow Alison Fisher will look at the relationship between Mahony Griffin’s independent architectural works in the United States and her later interior works at the Café Australia in Melbourne. This program will be held at the Chicago Architecture Foundation, 224 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Call (312) 922-3432, Ext. 266 or visit <www.architecture.org> for more information.

 Curator’s Lecture, “In Wright’s Office,” 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, Block Museum.Block Museum Senior Curator Debora Wood will trace the influence of Japanese artwork on Marion Mahony Griffin’s graphic art as expressed in her work for Frank Lloyd Wright. Cosponsored by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Cost is $20 for Block Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust members; $25 for the general public. For reservations, call (708) 848-1976.

 Guest Lecture, “A Century of Counterculture,” 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, Block Museum. Lisa Wainwright, dean of graduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, explores the demimonde of 1890s Paris and 1970s Chicago as seen through the works of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the late Ed Paschke. Complimentary refreshments will be served at 5 p.m.

Co-sponsored by the Northwestern University departments of art history and art theory and practice. Supported by Edith Eisner. Admission is free.


 Weekend Docent-Led Tours, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 through Dec. 11. Block Museum docents will lead free tours of the galleries that begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary.

Docent-Led Group Tours, by appointment. The Block Museum offers free docent-led tours to groups of eight or more. Guided tours are approximately 45 minutes to an hour and are available each day the museum is open. Scheduled tour requests should be made at least four weeks in advance by calling (847) 491-4852 or by completing the Group Visit Registration Form at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/welcome/tours.html.


The Sculpture Garden of the 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. They include Jean (Hans) Arp, Barbara Hepworth, Jacques Lipchitz, Joan Miró and Henry Moore.

In 1989, the Block Museum opened its Sculpture Garden with nine of the monumental bronzes donated by Block. The Sculpture Garden was designed by Chicago architect John Vinci and has grown to 22 pieces through donations and acquisitions. Profiles of the artists and their works, and a brochure detailing the sculpture collection, are available online on the Block Museum Web site at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/exhibitions/sculpture. It is open year-round. Sculpture Garden tours are available by appointment by calling (847) 491-4852.


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 Dittmar Memorial 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, or e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or go to the Norris Center Web site at www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.


 “Dark Comedy,” Illustrations by Steve Hamann and Mike Nordstrom, Sept. 8 to Oct. 16, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. Through their illustration-based work, artists Steve Hamann and Mike Nordstrom juxtapose the real and the improbable. The influence of graphic art and cartoons is evident in the narrative quality of each artist’s work. The occasional monster found in the identical frame charmingly counters Hamann’s acrylic paintings of everyday interactions. Vivid colors and detail infuse Nordstrom’s ink, digital, animation and sculptural works with a similar appeal. For more information call (847) 491-2348 or (847) 491-2300.

 “Telling Stories: Finding Home in Image and Verse,” Oct. 20 through Dec. 4, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. Rebecca Villarreal’s photographs and poems take the viewer on a journey through geography of emotion and intimate moments. Her verse evokes an instant in time: a glimpse of an old pair of barbershop clippers; the banter at the local Laundromat; or a niece’s quinceañera (a special celebration of a Hispanic girl’s 15th birthday. “Telling Stories” is a sensory ride through time and place, yet Villarreal’s universal themes and engaging narrative bring the viewer full circle. An opening reception scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct 27, is free and open to the public. Villarreal will give a poetry reading at 7:30 p.m.

Topics: Campus Life