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May 2009 Visual Arts Calendar

April 10, 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. The museum is 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.


"Bare Witness: Photographs by Gordon Parks," 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 the "Bare Witness" exhibition, 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. Its presentation at the Block Museum has been generously supported by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, New York. Additional funding has been provided by the Myers Foundations and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

"The MFA Thesis Exhibition from the Department of Art Theory and Practice," May 8 through June 21, 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, each manifesting the individual visions of the artists. The artists in this year's exhibition are John Henderson, Aaron Hughes, Casey Lurie and Jessie Mott. The exhibition is sponsored in part by the Myers Foundations. A reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 8, is free and open to the public.

Theo Leffmann, "Weaving a Life into Art,"
ongoing exhibition, April 24 through June 28.
Theo Leffman is recognized as a rich contributor to the American fiber art movement in the late 20th century. For more than 30 years, Leffman liberated textiles from practical and decorative applications by using them as means of personal expression. Through the generous gift of the late Paul Leffmann, these works are part of the Block Museum's permanent collection.


Free guided adult tours of the spring 2009 exhibition, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, April 25 through June 28. Block Museum docents will lead guided tours of the spring 2009 exhibition: "Bare Witness: Photographs by Gordon Parks." Gallery tours begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary. Note: There will be no exhibition tour Saturday, June 6.

Group and school tours by appointment only, April 24 through June 28. 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.

Block Sculpture Garden Tours for groups or schools, by appointment only, April 24 through Sept. 6. Pre-arranged docent tours of the Block Museum's Sculpture Garden begin May 1 and continue through Labor Day weekend.


Northwestern University Alumnae Continuing Education Course, "Behind the Lens of Gordon Parks: Cultural Expressions of the African American Experience in the 20th Century," 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays, April 28 through June 2. The work and life of Gordon Parks provide compelling narratives of the social forces that shaped the African American experience in the 20th century. Northwestern faculty members teach this noncredit 6-week course, which is open to all adult learners. Cost is $100 for the full course; $20 for one session. For more information of to register, visit http://alumnae.northwestern.edu or call (847) 604-3569.

Three American Photographers: In Depth series, "Gordon Parks and His Artistic Process: Photography, Film and Writing," 6 p.m. Thursday, May 7. Photographer, author and filmmaker David Parks speaks about his late father's contributions to the fields of photography, film and writing. Visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/podcasts for an audio podcast of this event later in May. Admission is free.

M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition Opening Reception, 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 8, Block Museum. The Block Museum and Northwestern's department of art theory and practice will celebrate the opening of the annual "MFA Thesis Exhibition" with a reception. At 6:30 p.m. Lane Relyea, assistant professor of art theory and practice at Northwestern's Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will talk about the program and the work of this year's student artists. Admission is free and open to the public.

Three American Photographers: In Depth series Panel Discussion, "Gordon Parks: A Renaissance Man," 2 p.m. Saturday, May 16. This two-hour panel discussion will focus on Gordon Parks' influence on 20th century photography and film, considering both his artistic and social contributions. Participants include Bob Black, cofounder and vice president of the Chicago Association of African American Photographers; Philip Brookman, director of curatorial affairs, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Darlene Clark Hine, chair and professor, department of African American studies, and professor of history, Northwestern University; Maren Stange, professor, American studies and visual culture, The Cooper Union, New York; and Deborah Willis, chair and professor, department of photography and imaging, New York University. Visit http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/podcasts for an audio podcast of this event later in May.

Family Day, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 17. Family Day is presented in partnership with the Chicago Humanities Festival. The public is invited to visit the Block Museum to watch animated films or participate in improvisation games with the comedy troupe Barrel of Monkeys. Youngsters will have the opportunity to make a thumbprint portrait or attend a printmaking workshop. The family event is presented with Danielle Klinenberg, founder and director of Art Party Play Dates, a company that plans custom art making events for groups of all sizes.

"Bare Witness" Gallery Talk, 6 p.m. Thursday, May 28. Tour the Block Museum exhibition "Bare Witness: Photographs by Gordon Parks" with Block Museum senior curator Debora Wood.


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," 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 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," through May 6, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. The "missed places" exhibition features three-dimensional steel, glass and concrete constructions by Canadian-born architect and St. Louis-based artist Iain Fraser. 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.

Northwestern University Senior Undergraduate Art Majors Exhibition, "Progression," May 14 through June 19, Dittmar Memorial Gallery.
This annual exhibition features the paintings, prints, photography, drawings, sculpture and video of undergraduate students enrolled in Northwestern University's department of art theory and practice. During their undergraduate years, department of art theory and practice majors contribute to a collective body of work. The range of work in the exhibition reflects the varied approaches to contemporary art-making techniques. Artwork by 14 students will be on display, including Renee Calvert, Jasmin Chang, Karinna Gomez, Andrew Karas, Joyce Kim, Sarah-Richelle Lemas, Mary Jo Madda, Yana Myaskovskaya, Debi Nafis, Rachele O'Hare, Lauren Pond, Jillian Putnam, Lauren Redding and Tiffany Wells. An opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 14, is free and open to the public.
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