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April 2009 Visual Arts Calendar

March 3, 2009 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, is located 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. Closed Mondays.

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.


"Polaroids: Mapplethorpe" exhibition, through April 5, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Alsdorf Gallery. This exhibition traces Robert Mapplethorpe's creative development through his use of instant photography from 1970 to 1975. Mapplethorpe (1946-89) emerged in the late 1970s as one of the most celebrated and controversial photographers of his time. The artist had not shown an interest in photography prior to 1970, when he began to take Polaroids for use in collages. Enthralled by the medium, Mapplethorpe took some 1,500 Polaroids during the next six years. The show features more than 90 photographs, including self-portraits, figure studies, still lifes and portraits of friends and lovers such as Patti Smith and Sam Wagstaff. The Polaroids in this exhibition anticipate the themes and subjects of Mapplethorpe's later work -- portraiture, sexuality and the classical beauty of the human body -- with spontaneity and immediacy that is inherent to instant photography. To see images of works in the exhibition, visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/exhibitions/current/mapplethorpe.html.
Some of the works in this exhibition may not be suitable for younger or more sensitive audiences. "Polaroids: Mapplethorpe" is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York. Its presentation at the Block Museum is generously supported by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Northwestern University; Alsdorf Endowment; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Myers Foundations; and Terra Foundation for American Art.

"From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci: A Century of Italian Drawings from the Prado" exhibition, through April 5, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Main Gallery. This exhibition of 70 drawings explores the working methods of the most important artists active in Italy during a time of unprecedented artistic patronage. Focusing on the period from 1520 to 1620, this exhibition highlights the exceptional technical proficiency achieved by artists of the time while demonstrating the importance of drawing in the creation of multiple types of art, including ceramics, frescos, prints, tapestries and stained glass. Scholar Nicholas Turner's extensive research in identifying and documenting these drawings has led to the first exhibition of most of these works outside the Prado since the institution acquired them more than 75 years ago. Turner's work also revealed two of the drawings as Michelangelo figure studies for the Sistine Chapel's "Last Judgment." "From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci" is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Va., in association with The Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Support for the exhibition has been provided by The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, The Chisholm Foundation and an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. Support for its presentation at the Block Museum is provided by the Alumnae of Northwestern University; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C.; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Chicago; and Myers Foundations.

Theo Leffmann, "Weaving a Life into Art" ongoing exhibition, through April 5, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 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, Leffmann liberated textiles from practical and decorative applications by using them as a means of personal expression. Through the generous gift of the late Paul Leffmann, these works are part of the Block Museum's permanent collection.

"Bare Witness: Photographs by Gordon Parks" exhibition, April 24 through June 28, Block Museum's Main Gallery.
Gordon Parks (1912–2006) began working as a professional photographer in the 1940s, documenting the urban and rural poor in the United States for the Farm Security Administration and other organizations. Parks served as a staff photographer for Life magazine from 1945 to 1975, capturing images from all walks of American society, from the struggle for civil rights to the glamour of Hollywood stars. The 73 photographs featured in "Bare Witness," organized by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, were personally selected by Parks before his death in 2006 as his most powerful imagery. "Bare Witness" and its accompanying catalogue are made possible by the generous support of The Capital Group Foundation, the Cantor Arts Center's Hohbach Family Fund and Cantor Arts Center's members.


Free guided adult tours of the winter 2009 exhibitions, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through April 5. Block Museum docents will lead guided tours of the two winter 2009 exhibitions: "Polaroids: Mapplethorpe" and "From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci: A Century of Italian Drawings from the Prado." Gallery tours begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary.

Group and school winter 2009 tours by appointment only, through April 5. The Block Museum offers free guided tours to groups or schools. Group or school tours may be arranged by contacting blockeducation@northwestern.edu. For more information, visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/visit/guided-tours.html.


Communiversity Family Day, 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 26, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art. The Block Museum will offer free art-making activities for families with children aged 6 and older. The exhibition "Bare Witness: Photographs by Gordon Parks," featuring historic images by the pioneering African American photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks, will also be open to the public. A free guided tour of the Gordon Parks exhibition will be available at 2 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu or call (847) 491-4000.


The Sculpture Garden of Northwestern'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, bequeathed 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 Leigh Block. The Sculpture Garden was designed by Chicago architect John Vinci and through donations and acquisitions has grown to 22 pieces. Located on the Evanston campus, it is open year-round. For more information about the Sculpture Garden, visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/collections/sculpture.html/.


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 the Dittmar Gallery at (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.


Robert Logan, "Constructivists Chicago," March 30 through May 6, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. This exhibition celebrates the strengths of a great city, as expressed in a variety of its structures. It features abstract large-scale photographs of man-made structures in and around Chicago's Loop by Robert Logan, a 90-year-old Highland Park-based photographer. The works chosen for display are expressed in the forms of buildings and bridges. Logan was inspired to capture these images three years ago, after he was caught in traffic on a Chicago River bridge. Upon looking west to the industrial structures of the Material Service Corporation, the view expressed to him "a beautiful symphony of black and white forms."

Iain Fraser, "missed places" exhibition, March 30 through May 6, Dittmar Memorial Gallery.
Canadian-born architect and St. Louis-based artist Iain Fraser will exhibit his three-dimensional steel, glass and concrete constructions during his "missed places" exhibition. Fraser, a practicing architect for nearly 30 years and a professor of architecture at Washington University in Missouri, has created the architectural-looking structures by referencing the legacy of infrastructure and exploring the machineries and mechanisms that support today's cities. His work develops the expressive potential of the rough use of materials that are often encountered behind, between, under or even above buildings. Bringing the distinctive weight and textures, durability and delicacy of these materials in contact with his reservoir of architecture and sculpture form memories and the results capture moments of imaginative speculation that blur the boundaries between the familiar and the new. For more information on Fraser and his work visit: iainfraserart.com. A reception for photographer Robert Logan and artist Iain Fraser from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 3, is free and open to the public.
Topics: Campus Life