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Block Museum Director Asks Artist Michael Rakowitz -- Why Make Art?

Conversation and prints by Sara Sze part of April 21 evening benefit for Block Museum

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Michael Rakowitz, an artist known internationally for provocative political and community-based art, will discuss the question “Why Make Art?” with Lisa Corrin, the Ellen Philips Katz Director of Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art. The discussion will take place during a special fundraising event supporting the museum on Saturday, April 21. 

The benefit program, Block in Motion, begins at 7 p.m. with drinks and a buffet in the Block Museum’s main gallery and concludes after a 9 p.m. conversation between Rakowitz and Corrin. Block in Motion attendees will have the opportunity to help the museum purchase two monumental prints by artist Sarah Sze, a MacArthur Fellow recently chosen to represent the United States at next year’s Venice Biennale.

The benefit is organized by the Block Leadership Circle Committee. Attendance is $125 per person. Advance registration by April 13 is requested. To register, call (847) 491-7969. Free parking is available. Visit for more information.

Rakowitz, associate professor of art theory and practice, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, is currently deploying a mobile version of his Enemy Kitchen project, in which a food truck serving Iraqi cuisine and staffed by American veterans of the Iraq War visits locations around Chicago. The artist made international news in late 2011 when federal marshals seized china plates, which had come from the palace of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and Rakowitz used for an art installation in a New York City restaurant. Rakowitz has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Tate Modern in London and Istanbul Biennial. At the Block Museum he curated the exhibition “Social Mobility: Collaborative Projects with Temporary Services” in 2011. 

Corrin became the Ellen Philips Katz Director of the Block Museum in February 2012. After serving as chief curator at the Serpentine Gallery in London and the Seattle Art Museum, Corrin most recently directed the Williams College Museum of Art. She has worked with an extensive list of internationally exhibited artists, including Fred Wilson, Richard Serra and Louise Bourgeois. She is currently curating a project with Mark Dion for the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute that will open this spring in New York.

Block in Motion guests will be able to view and donate funds for the acquisition of “Day” and “Night,” two 6-feet-wide lithograph and screen prints created by Sze, an artist who constructs intricate architectural sculptures and installations from everyday objects. Sze has exhibited at the Asia Society Museum, New York’s High Line Park and Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. “Day” and “Night” will be displayed in the Block’s upcoming spring exhibition, “Art on Paper: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from the Block Museum,” which will run from May 11 to Aug. 26. 

“I am looking forward to my conversation with Michael Rakowitz, an artist whose interventionist strategies challenge us to reconsider and change our relationship with the world around us,” said Corrin. “I am also excited about adding Sarah Sze’s work to the Block’s collection of prints by sculptors like Claes Oldenburg, Alice Aycock, Alexander Calder and Henry Moore.” 

Food served at Block in Motion will come from the kitchen of Chicago-based chef Daniel Herskovic

The Block Museum is the visual arts museum of Northwestern University. It serves the academic and cultural needs of the University and surrounding communities through thought-provoking exhibitions, a permanent collection of more than 4,000 original works of art, dynamic educational and cultural programs, and screenings of contemporary and classic films. Visit for more information.

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