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Northwestern Visual Arts in March

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northern Renaissance art fans have through April 8 to visit the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art’s Winter 2012 exhibition, “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe.” The exhibition examines the role of celebrated artists in scientific explorations and discoveries. The free exhibition is on view to the public in two of the Northwestern University museum’s galleries.

The Block Museum, at 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday; and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The museum is closed on Monday. For more information, visit or call (847) 491-4000.

Dittmar Memorial Gallery’s second Winter 2012 exhibition, “Consumption,” featuring the colorful paintings of Alisa Henriquez, runs through March 15. The Dittmar’s Spring 2012 exhibition, “Coalescence/Diaspora,” featuring installations by artist Meredith Setser, opens March 29 and runs through May 13.

Four exhibitions at University Library at 1970 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus are open to the public daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. “Hidden Treasures at Northwestern University Library” runs through March 15. “They Were Fighting for Our Freedom: American and Soviet Propaganda Posters of World War II” and “Dmitri Shostakovich at Northwestern” are both open through March 19. “Papering Over Tough Times: Soviet Propaganda Posters of the 1930s” runs through June 15. For more information, visit or call (847) 491-7658.


“Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe,” through April 8, 2012, Main Gallery and Alsdorf Gallery. Organized by the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Mass., in collaboration with the Block, this exhibition examines how celebrated Northern Renaissance artists contributed to the scientific inquiries of the 16th century. Rare and treasured prints, drawings, books, maps and scientific instruments demonstrate that artists were not just illustrators in the service of scientists. Their work also played an active role in facilitating the understanding of new concepts in astronomy, geography, natural history and anatomy. In-gallery digital displays, video and audio segments, an iPhone/iPad app, and replicas of sundials, globes and other tools add an interactive component to the exhibition. An illustrated catalogue available for $60 features contributions from Northwestern art history Associate Professor Claudia Swan and graduate student Kathleen Tahk. The exhibition can be explored through an interactive tool and videos or by downloading the iPhone/iPad app linked on the Block Museum website.

The exhibition and its catalogue are made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mrs. Arthur K. Solomon, Lionel and Vivian Spiro, Walter and Virgilia Klein, Julian and Hope Edison, Novartis on behalf of Dr. Steven F. Hyman, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Barbara and the late Robert Wheaton, the Goldman Sachs Foundation and an anonymous donor. Support for the exhibition at the Block is provided by the Myers Foundations; Lyrica Endowment; Netherland-America Foundation; Samuel H. Kress Foundation; Alumnae of Northwestern University; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; IFPDA (International Fine Print Dealers Association) Foundation; Robert Lehman Foundation; Alsdorf Endowment; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the Evanston Arts Council.


“Theo Leffmann: Weaving a Life into Art,” from through April 8, Block Museum, Theo Leffman Gallery. The fiber art of Chicago artist Theo Leffmann (1911-96) evokes the ancient and the exotic, echoing pre-Columbian and non-Western processes and forms with a distinct personal vision. Her 40-year career coincided with a revolution in textile art as the division between “high art” and “craft” diminished. The display of Leffmann’s colorful, richly textured and playful weavings, wall hangings and sculptural objects is drawn from the Block Museum’s permanent collection. The works are generous gifts from her husband Paul Leffmann.


Gallery Talk, Exhibition Overview and Highlights, 6 p.m. Thursday, March 29. Debora Wood,Block Museum senior curator, will lead an informative hourlong exploration of the exhibition “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe.”


Self-Guided Family Tours, Compass Quest, through April 8. Families are encouraged to discover navigational tools, maps and prints in “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge” by using Block Museum’s explorers kit, available for free checkout during public hours.

Block Museum docents will lead guided tours of “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge” at 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, through April 8. Tours for classes or groups of eight or more people are also available with advance notice. Contact or visit

Northwestern Student Docent Exhibition Tours, 6 p.m. Thursdays, through April 5. How can you tell time in multiple countries using a folded piece of paper? Find out the answer to this and other questions during informal and interactive 45-minute tours of “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge,” hosted by Northwestern student docents. New topics will be introduced every week.


The Elizabeth and Todd Warnock Lecture Series, “Seeing Global,” 4 p.m. Thursday, March 1. Susan Buck-Morss, professor of political philosophy and social theory at Cornell University, will examine aspects of global transformation in collective imagination, in regard to recent practices and histories of art. Sponsored by the Northwestern University department of art history.


“Hidden Treasures at Northwestern University Library,” through March 15. Many of the library’s most treasured materials are stored where visitors aren’t likely to encounter them. Visitors can see a selection of the library’s quirkiest materials from collections across the library. An original sketch by James Joyce, a spyglass used by 19th-century Alaskan explorers Robert Kennicott and Henry M. Bannister and a selection of unusually large batons once wielded by world-renowned conductor Fritz Reiner are but a few of the rare treasures.

“They Were Fighting for Our Freedom: American and Soviet Propaganda Posters of World War II,” through March 19, University Library. “They Were Fighting for Our Freedom” examines the portrayal of war themes -- courage, strength in numbers, the home front, heroic military traditions, the vile foe -- in the different artistic languages of the United States and the U.S.S.R. The exhibition is a collaboration of University Library and the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography/Kunstkamera, St. Petersburg.

“Dmitri Shostakovich at Northwestern,” through March 19, University Library. In June 1973, Northwestern gave Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich an honorary degree. Organized by the Northwestern Music Library and University Archives, this exhibition recalls Shostakovich’s visit to campus through original documents and materials, including rare Shostakovich scores published in the Soviet Union.

“Papering Over Tough Times: Soviet Propaganda Posters of the 1930s,” through June 15. Drawn from the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, the exhibition documents attempts by the Soviet government to inspire, placate, inform and frighten its citizens during an era of social engineering.


The Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston campus, is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Admission is free. The gallery focuses 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, email or visit


Alisa Henriquez, “Consumption,” through March 15, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. Henriquez’s paintings aim to directly engage prevalent images of consumption drawn from today’s popular media culture, especially as they relate to gender, beauty and material desire. Her complex compositions and reconfigurations create an experience that calls into question the messages media images perpetuate. For more on Henriquez, who is an associate professor in Michigan State University’s department of art and art history, visit The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Meredith Setser, “Coalescence/Diaspora,” from March 29 through May 13, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. Printmaker and textile artist Meredith Setser’s felt installations are typically composed of small fragments of printed information and patterns derived from many different sources, including biology and geology, and melded into larger, unified pieces. Her works suggest biological commonalities shared by plants, animals and humans, such as dispersion, migration and displacement. Setser is assistant professor of printmaking at Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. The exhibition and an opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 29, are free and open to the public. For more on Setser, visit
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