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New Documentaries Unearth Two Sides of the Art World

Block Cinema presents new films and discussions as part of the Art on Screen series

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s Block Cinema provides a glimpse into the compelling and diverse world of art and artists of the 20th century with special film screenings.

“Hunting Hitler’s Stolen Treasures: The Monuments Men” and “Hairy Who & the Chicago Imagists” are two new documentaries that will be screened at Northwestern as part of Art on Screen, an ongoing series that presents new films about the art world this spring at the Block Cinema.

“Hunting Hitler’s Stolen Treasures: The Monuments Men” (Rebecca Hayman and Paul Nelson, 2014, United Kingdom, video, 45 minutes), 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8. The Northwestern University Library and Block Cinema present a short documentary and panel discussion about an unlikely World War II band of brothers: academics, historians and architects who were called to the front lines of the bloodiest war in history to rescue centuries worth of priceless artworks and cultural artifacts from Nazi-occupied Europe. Their story also was made into a feature film this year, based on a book by Robert Edsel and directed by George Clooney. In contrast, the documentary utilizes extensive archival sources and photographs, journals and letter excerpts, along with personal accounts from surviving family members to shed light on this remarkable story.

Following the screening, art scholar and curator Anne Rorimer (and daughter of one of the primary “monuments men,” James Rorimer) will participate in a panel discussion with Jason Nargis, manuscript librarian for special collections, Northwestern University Library, and Howard Trienens, attorney, author and repatriation expert. Block Museum director, Lisa Corrin will moderate the discussion.

“Hairy Who & the Chicago Imagists” (Leslie Buchbinder, 2014, United States, video, 105 minutes), 7 p.m. Friday, June 6. This new documentary provides an important look at the history of the artists’ group, the Hairy Who, which broke new ground in the 1960s and ‘70s and came to be known as the Chicago Imagists. Buchbinder’s film includes delightful animated sequences and eye-opening interviews with many of the movement’s participants (including Jim Nutt, Karl Wirsum, Gladys Nilsson and many more), plus interviews with curators, collectors, critics and the movement’s admirers (including Chris Ware and Jeff Koons). With a rich variety of perspectives, the film gives a detailed and visually dazzling portrait of this unique group of artists and their strange, surreal and darkly comic imagery.

Following the screening, director Leslie Buchbinder, producer John Corbett and artist Gladys Nelson will be present for a discussion moderated by Block Museum director Lisa Corrin.

The Art on Screen series also includes a May 16 screening of  “Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq,” a portrait of renowned dancer Le Clercq by director Nancy Buirski.

Block Cinema films are screened in the Block Museum’s Pick-Laudati Auditorium. Unless otherwise noted, admission is $4 for Block members and University faculty, staff and students with valid WildCARD IDs, students from other schools with valid college/university IDs and seniors 65 and older; or $6 for the general public. A quarterly pass is $20. Parking is free in the Evanston campus lot south of the Block Museum after 4 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends. For a full schedule of films, visit Block Museum


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 Block Museum.

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