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April 2008 Visual Arts Calendar

March 11, 2008 | by Judy Moore

Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, is on Northwestern University's Evanston campus. The museum's 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 also is free. For more information regarding Block Museum exhibitions, programs or location, phone (847) 491-4000 or go to the Block Museum Web site at http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.


"Design in the Age of Darwin: From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright," May 9 to Aug. 24, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Main Gallery. The "Design in the Age of Darwin" exhibition explores the previously unrecognized relationship between evolutionism and English and American decorative arts during the half-century following the publication of Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" (1859). During that time, a debate raged among both biologists and designers concerning the question of whether the evolution of species and decorative forms was the result of an internal dynamic presided over by God or external factors governed by mere contingency. The dispute was engaged by two of the most important and achieved English designers of the 19th century, William Morris and Christopher Dresser, and a little later by Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, C.F.A. Voysey and C.R. Ashbee. It set the stage for the subsequent, epochal development of 20th century Modernism when the next generation of great masters and designers sought to discover new rules of form and development, based upon unchanging types, or the idea of functionalism. Guest curated by Northwestern University art history professor Stephen F. Eisenman, the exhibition contains outstanding works of design by Darwin, Dresser, Morris, Voysey, Ashbee, Sullivan and Wright. A full-color catalogue and an international symposium accompany the "Design in the Age of Darwin" exhibition. This program is part of American Art American City, a Chicago-wide art initiative sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


"Imaging by Numbers: A Historical View of the Computer Print," through April 6, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Main Gallery. This groundbreaking exhibition examines the intersection of digital technology and the graphic arts. "Imaging by Numbers" surveys the use of computers in printmaking and drawing through approximately 60 works created by nearly 40 North American and European artists from the 1950s to the present. The exhibition focuses on artists who wrote their own computer code or collaborated with computer engineers. Beginning with photographs of electronic waveforms by Ben F. Laposky and Herbert Franke, "Imaging by Numbers" includes drawings made with plotter printers by the likes of Manfred Mohr and Edward Zajec, explorations of virtual worlds composed with 3-D imaging software by David Em and works created with inventive modifications and combinations of traditional and digital printing techniques by such artists as Lane Hall and Roman Verostko. Contemporary artists writing their own computer programs or altering existing software -- Joshua Davis and C.E.B. Reas, for example -- are also represented. "Imaging by Numbers" is curated by Block Museum senior curator Debora Wood and artist Paul Hertz. The exhibition and related programming are supported by C. Richard Kramlich; Flashpoint, The Academy of Media Arts and Sciences; ACM Siggraph; American Airlines; Hewlett Packard; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the Myers Foundations.

"Space, Color and Motion," through April 6, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Alsdorf Gallery. Mounted to complement the Block Museum's Main Gallery exhibition, "Space, Color and Motion" presents time-based artworks by four artists -- computer-generated animations by Manfred Mohr, James Paterson and C.E.B. Reas and a computer-driven sand tracing installation by Jean-Pierre Hébert.

"The MFA Thesis Exhibition from the Department of Art Theory and Practice," April 25 through June 22, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Alsdorf Gallery. This annual exhibition represents the culmination of the course of study for the Master of Fine Arts degree from Northwestern University. The works vary in style and conceptual approach, manifesting the individual vision of the artists. The artists in this year's exhibition are Curt Bozif, Lisa Majer, Tim Mazurek and Ryan Shultz.


Weekend Guided Adult Tours of the "Imaging by Numbers: A Historical View of the Computer Print" exhibition, 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, through April 6.
Block Museum docents will lead free tours of the galleries that begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary.

Docent-Led Group and School Tours by Appointment, through April 6. The Block Museum offers free docent-led tours to groups of eight or more. The 45-minute to hour-long tours are available each day the museum is open. The Block also provides interactive tours
and activities for school groups. Arrangements for group or school tours should be made at least four weeks in advance by calling (847) 491-4852 or by completing the group visit registration form at http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/visit/guided-tours.html.


Gallery Conversation, 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 3. Join "Imaging by Numbers" curator Debora Wood and artist Lane Hall in the Block Museum's Main Gallery for a discussion of computer-generated prints and drawings. Call (847) 491-4000 for more information.

Outdoor Sculpture Garden Tour, 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 12. Weather permitting, the Block will offer a free docent-led tour of its Sculpture Garden. The tour is part of Northwestern's Communiversity Day, a diverse program of events and activities to showcase all that Northwestern has to share with its Evanston and greater metro-area neighbors. For more information visit http://www.northwestern.edu/communityrelations.

Exhibition Opening, "The MFA Thesis Exhibition from the Department of Art Theory and Practice," 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 24. A reception marks the opening of the annual exhibition showcasing the culmination of study by MFA students at Northwestern.


The Sculpture Garden of Northwestern University'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 of the monumental bronzes donated by Block. The Sculpture Garden was designed by Chicago architect John Vinci and through donations and acquisitions has grown to 22 pieces. Located on the University's Evanston campus, it is open year-round.


Free Block Sculpture Garden Tours are available by appointment. The Block Museum Sculpture Garden features monumental works by Hans Arp, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Joan Miro and others. For more information about the Sculpture Garden, visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/collections/sculpture.html/. For more information or to pre-arrange a tour of the Sculpture Garden, call (847) 491-4852.


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 (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or visit the Dittmar Web site at http://www.norris.northwestern.edu/dittmar.php.

"Domestic Sunshine," the works of artists Brandy Pudzis and Marcy Sperry, April 4 to May 11, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. Chicago artists Brandy Pudzis and Marcy Sperry exemplify the diversity of contemporary art, by inviting viewers to engage not only in the aesthetic qualities of their pieces, but also the dark and uncomfortable questions they raise. Each of Pudzis' works conveys an intimate and complex story that is emotionally, if not literally, observed. Isolation, sexuality and social interaction play prominent roles, as does blood, apples and decapitation. Societal expectations and ideals, which create an imbalance of equality, are questioned and their effects on interaction observed. Sperry juxtaposes the traditional decorative function of domestic needlework and alternate cultural meanings to create elaborate pieces of craft that, at the same time, raises vital questions about the world. Exploring themes such as body modifications, fetishes of body parts and gender identification, Sperry invites viewers to reflect on the disparate consumer culture of America. The exhibition is free and open to the public, as is a reception for both artists, from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 10.
Topics: Campus Life