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December Visual Arts at Northwestern

Events at the Block Museum, Dittmar Gallery, University Library and more

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Although closed in December, preparations are underway for the re-opening of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art’s galleries in mid-January and the unveiling of two new winter 2014 exhibitions and related programs that will be open to the public.

“The Left Front: Radical Art in the ‘Red Decade,’ 1929-1940,” in the Block’s Main Gallery, Jan. 17 through June 22, 2014, will revisit a moment in American history when a group of artists embraced the idea of “art as a social weapon,” dedicating their work and practice to activism. “Steichen| Warhol: Picturing Fame,” in the Alsdorf Gallery, Jan. 17 through April 6, will examine the photographic legacies of Edward Steichen (1879-1973) and Andy Warhol (1928-1987), artists who shaped the way we envision celebrity, fame and glamour. For more information on these and other events, visit the Block Museum or call (847) 491-4000.

Northwestern’s Dittmar Memorial Gallery continues to host J. Thomas Pallas’ “The Institute for Encyclopedic Amalgamation,” through Dec. 10. The interactive exhibition invites visitors to engage with the collection. The Dittmar will re-open Jan. 10 through Feb. 9 with Baltimore-based artist Amanda Burnham’s “HUB.” Burnham’s wall-size drawing installations, created on-site, are inspired by her encounters with American city landscapes. For more information, contact the Dittmar Gallery at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, email dittmargallery@northwestern.edu.

Northwestern University Library’s current exhibitions run through Jan. 3, 2014. “Past, Paper, Scissors: Scrapbooks from the Northwestern University Library Collections” explores the history of Northwestern and beyond as revealed in scrapbooks of a bygone era. “Alexander Hesler’s Picturesque Evanston,” located in the corridor linking the Main and Deering libraries, showcases historic photos of 19th century Evanston by the prominent photographer. For more information, visit the Northwestern University Library or call (847) 491-7658.

DEPARTMENT OF ART THEORY AND PRACTICE

The department of art theory and practice at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences offers free public lectures by visiting artists throughout the academic year. Some will take place at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art. For more, visit the Block Museum's calendar

ONE BOOK ONE NORTHWESTERN

One Book One Northwestern has scheduled film screenings, themed dinner/panel discussions and more during the 2013-14 academic year. All are free and open to the public. For information on January 2013 events, visit the One Book One website. 

MARY AND LEIGH BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART

Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum is located at 40 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus. Admission to the Block Museum programs listed below is free, unless noted. The museum is closed on Monday. For more information, call (847) 491-4000.

BLOCK MUSEUM ART WINTER 2014 EXHIBITIONS

“The Left Front: Radical Art in the ‘Red Decade,’ 1929-1940,” in the Block Museum’s Main Gallery, Jan. 17 through June 22, 2014, revisits a moment in American history when visual artists, through their membership in the progressive John Reed Club (JRC), joined forces to form a “left front” with writers and intellectuals dedicated to making socially-conscious art. Artists who belonged to or exhibited with the JRC -- including Rockwell Kent, William Gropper, Stuart Davis and Morris Topchevsky -- embraced the motto “art as a social weapon.” “The Left Front” is the first exhibition to examine the artistic legacy of the JRC and its successor organization, the American Artists’ Congress (AAC). The exhibition considers specific conditions of Chicago -- its industrial legacy, its massive immigration, its ethnic neighborhoods, its historical associations with anarchism and labor unrest, and its commitment to social reform through institutions like Hull House -- as the backdrop against which works by Chicago’s JRC and AAC evolved. Support for the “Left Front: Radical Art in the “Red Decade, 1929-1940,” is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art, as well as the Terra Foundation on behalf of William Osborn and David Kabiller, and the Myers Foundations. Additional funding comes from the Carlyle Anderson Endowment, the Louise E. Drangsholt Fund, the Kessel Fund at the Block Museum and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. To view a slideshow, visit the Block Museum online. 

“Steichen| Warhol: Picturing Fame,” in the Block Museum’s Alsdorf Gallery, Jan. 17 through April 6, will examine the photographic legacies of Edward Steichen (1879-1973) and Andy Warhol (1928-1987), artists who shaped the way we envision celebrity, fame and glamour. In the 1920s and 1930s, Steichen’s portraits of actors, writers, musicians, politicians, models and socialites for Vanity Fair and Vogue elevated his subjects (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eugene O’Neill, Ethel and John Barrymore, and others) to iconic status. Fifty years later, Warhol borrowed from and subverted that language of celebrity for his photographs of friends and patrons. Organized by the Block Museum, this is the first exhibition to compare the work of Steichen and Warhol side by side. “Steichen ǀ Warhol” is drawn primarily from the Block’s collection and highlights two major gifts to the museum -- 49 vintage Steichen prints from Richard and Jackie Hollander donated in honor of Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and his wife Mimi Schapiro and more than 150 Warhol photographs from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Support for the exhibition is provided by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. To view a slideshow, visit the Block Museum online.

CONSTRUCTION ALERT

A long-term construction project on Northwestern’s south campus has limited access to the Block Museum and Arts Circle Drive. Free parking is available in the lot directly south of the museum. For directions and parking information, visit the Block Museum.

DITTMAR MEMORIAL GALLERY

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 art students and traveling art shows. For more information, visit the Dittmar Gallery online.

DITTMAR GALLERY DECEMBER 2013 EXHIBITION

J. Thomas Pallas, “The Institute for Encyclopedic Amalgamation,” through Dec. 10, Dittmar Gallery. J. Thomas Pallas is the editor-in-chief of The Institute for Encyclopedic Amalgamation (IEA), a repository and sanctuary for abandoned encyclopedia sets. In this exhibition, visitors have a chance to interact with tomes of knowledge that, once ubiquitous, are now often considered obsolete. Throughout the show, visitors will get to participate in making a new IEA volume by contributing source material culled from the sets on display in the gallery. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

DITTMAR GALLERY JANUARY 2014 EXHIBITION

“HUB” by Amanda Burnham, Jan. 10 through Feb. 9, Dittmar Gallery. Burnham’s site-specific creations juxtapose the gallery walls with the vibrancy of modern American urban landscapes. Using paper and ink, her “wall drawings” call attention to the ephemeral composition of cityscapes and call attention to their simultaneously beautiful and discordant nature. The exhibition and an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, are free and open to the public.

UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

Exhibitions at Northwestern University Library, 1970 Campus Drive, Evanston campus, are open to the public daily from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Members of the Northwestern community with a valid WildCARD can visit during all open library hours. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Northwestern University Library or call (847) 491-7658.

UNIVERSITY LIBRARY FALL 2013 EXHIBITIONS

“Past, Paper, Scissors: Scrapbooks from the Northwestern University Library Collections,” through Jan. 3, 2014, Main Library. In an era of Facebook and Instagram, it’s important to recall that once we collected our own histories by pasting them into scrapbooks. ”Past, Paper, Scissors” explores history at Northwestern and beyond through the photos, clippings, ticket stubs, faded flowers and dance cards in scrapbooks of a bygone era. The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Northwestern University Library or call (847) 491-7658.

“Alexander Hesler’s Picturesque Evanston,” through Jan. 3, 2014, corridor linking Northwestern University’s Main and Deering Libraries, Evanston campus. The digitized exhibit showcases historic photos of Evanston by 19th century regional photographer Alexander Hesler (1823-1895). The exhibit celebrates Evanston’s 150th anniversary with a selection of 40 images from “Picturesque Evanston.” Each plasma screen highlights an aspect of Evanston’s past, including gracious homes, tree-lined streets, schools and churches, and the early Northwestern campus. Many of the buildings pictured are now gone, but a few remain, including University Hall, the Frances Willard House and the Methodist Church. The exhibit was curated by librarian Janet Olson and the staff of the Northwestern University Archives. Images were digitized by the library’s digital collections department and installed by the library technology department. To view an online version, visit, "Take a Stroll through 1887 Evanston." For more information, visit the Northwestern University Library or call (847) 491-7658.

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