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January 2011 Visual Arts Calendar

Winter 2011 exhibitions at the Block Museum and Dittmar Gallery

December 10, 2010 | by Judy Moore

Sidney Chafetz, Contemplation, 1970, two-plate color soft-ground etching with aquatint. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of Sidney Chafetz, 1998.7.20. Courtesy of the artist.
EVANSTON, Ill. --- An exhibition of artist Thomas Rowlandson’s satirical depictions of political and social life in the late 18th and early 19th century England, and a complementary exhibition of contemporary prints and graphics, will be on display at the Block Museum this winter. Both will be open to the public Jan. 14 through March 13.

A Jan. 29 “Printpalooza” program, featuring live demonstrations of printmaking techniques, and an affordable contemporary print market also is planned.

The Dittmar Memorial Gallery will host Korean-born and Chicago-based artist Soo Shin’s exhibition “Emotional DIY” (Jan. 5 to Feb. 6).


The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, is located on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The museum is closed on Monday. Admission to the museum and to all programs is free, unless noted. For more information regarding Block Museum exhibitions, programs or location, phone (847) 491-4000 or go to the Block Museum website at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu.


“Thomas Rowlandson: Pleasures and Pursuits in Georgian England,” Jan. 14 through March 13, Main Gallery. One of the most popular satirists of his period, Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) applied his masterful drawing skills and keen sense of humor to colorful, detailed and sometimes bawdy depictions of everyday life in and around London during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. As the first major exhibition of Rowlandson’s work in the United States in 20 years, “Pleasures and Pursuits” provides the opportunity for a reappraisal of the artist’s watercolors, drawings and prints while examining the mixing of classes in London’s gathering spaces and leisure activities during a time of remarkable economic expansion and social change. The exhibition is organized by the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with support from the Evelyn Metzger Exhibition Fund, and Furthermore, a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

“The Satirical Edge in Contemporary Prints and Graphics,” Jan. 14 through March 13, Alsdorf Gallery. “The Satirical Edge in Contemporary Prints and Graphics” is an exhibition drawn primarily from the Block Museum’s permanent collection. It features works from the 1950s to the present by artists active in the United States who use the power of printmaking to create outrageous scenes and narratives of warfare, greed and injustice. The show begins with printmakers from the mid-20th century, including William Gropper, Warrington Colescott  and Sidney Chafetz. A newer generation is represented by artists Tom Huck and Enrique Chagoya. Other contemporary artists in the exhibition include R. Crumb, Sue Coe and the Guerrilla Girls, a feminist art collective.


Docent guided Adult Tours of the Winter 2011 exhibitions, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Jan. 15 to March 13. Tours begin in the museum lobby. Reservations are not necessary.

Docent-led Group and School Tours by Appointment. The Block Museum offers free docent-led tours to groups of eight or more. The 45-minute-long tours are available each day the museum is open. The Block also provides hourlong interactive tours and activities for school groups. Arrangements for group or school tours should be made at least four weeks in advance by e-mailing blockeducation@northwestern.edu. Visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/education for more information.


“Printpalooza” print fair, Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, Block Museum. Drive By Press, a design duo known for “guerrilla-style” print and apparel creation at concerts and festivals, will demonstrate the printmaking process and offer attendees the opportunity to select designs, purchase and watch the inking and pressing of T-shirts. Artist Eric Fuertes will create prints with a custom-made “Dumbo Press” while Brooklyn’s Cannonball Press, organizers of the Prints Gone Wild! events in New York, will display large-scale print canvases. Chicago’s Spudnik Press and other participating artists will have original prints for sale, with some prices at $20 or less.


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, 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 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 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 website at www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.

“Emotional DIY” by Soo Shin exhibition, Jan. 5 through Feb. 6, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. Chicago-based artist Soo Shin rummages through junkyards and scouts city streets in search of discarded building materials and household furnishings. The wood, metal, concrete and sundry materials she salvages and transforms into art are key components of her do-it-yourself (DIY) “emotional functioning sculptures,” on display in her exhibition “Emotional DIY.” Her precarious sculptures reflect the uncertainty of human emotion; they are meant to console those who have experienced rejection and loneliness by replacing unfulfilled human relationships with inanimate objects and soothing words. While fully aware that objects cannot replace the role of human bonds, Shin believes that her artwork can trigger a conversation about the true language in people’s relationships. An opening reception at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, is free and open to the public. To view Shin’s works, visit the artist’s website at www.soooshin.com.

Topics: Campus Life