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Northwestern Visual Arts And Films In July And August

Block Museum, Dittmar Gallery and University Library events open to public

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Beginning in July, the Block Museum will open its galleries with the work of internationally renowned Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based artist and sculptor Wangechi Mutu. Mutu is considered by many as one of world’s most important contemporary artists.

On Tuesday, July 8, the Block Museum will begin screening Mutu’s first-ever animated video, “The End of eating Everything,” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Starring singer/songwriter Santigold, who bills herself as “the master of make-believe,” the 8-minute, 10-second video will be shown on-loop in the Block’s Alsdorf Gallery throughout the summer and into the fall exhibition -- the touring retrospective of the artists’ work. “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey” opens to the public Sept. 19 and runs through Dec. 7.

Coming attractions at Block Cinema this fall include a cinematic celebration of the centennial of Henri Langlois (1914-1977), one of the most important figures in the history of cinema. Langlois was a founder, director and curator of the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, one of the world’s most celebrated film archives. Block Cinema also will present films that inspired Mutu, as well as host an in-person appearance by British experimental filmmaker John Smith, and more.

Through July 2, Northwestern’s Dittmar Memorial Gallery will continue hosting “The Beat Goes On: The Evolution of House Music,” an exhibition that honors the pioneers of Chicago’s house music and explores its origins. Dittmar’s summer exhibition, “Sculptures and Preparatory Works,” July 10 through Aug. 12, features the work of New York-based artist Michael Ferris Jr.

“From Apartheid to Democracy,” an exhibition marking 20 years of democracy in South Africa and the end of apartheid, runs through Aug. 29 at Northwestern University Library and the Deering Library.


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 after 4 p.m. in the lot directly south of the museum. For directions and additional parking information, visit the Block Museum.


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

The following Evanston campus programs are free and open to the public:

The Block Spot, the museum’s Wi-Fi lounge, will remain open to the public Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., throughout the summer.


Screening of “Wangechi Mutu: The End of eating Everything,” 8-minute, 10-second on-loop animated video (color and sound), edition of six, courtesy of the artist, Gladstone Gallery, and Victoria Miro Gallery, will be screened from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, starting Tuesday, July 8 and continuing throughout the summer, at the Block Museum’s Alsdorf Gallery, first floor. The animated video was commissioned by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University as part of “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey,” the first survey in the United States for this internationally renowned, multidisciplinary artist, and her most comprehensive and innovative show yet.

Expanding on the drawing practice that underlies all her work, Mutu’s first-ever animated video features a magical, destructive creature played by the like-minded musical performer and recording artist Santigold. For this film, Santigold takes on the role of an insatiable planet-like creature, covered with flailing arms, tentacles and spores that emit polluting smoke. Reflecting on overindulgence and consumption, the video closes with a message that is at once apocalyptic and hopeful. Support for the presentation at the Block Museum has been provided by the Diane and Craig Solomon Contemporary Art Fund.


“Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey,” Sept. 19 through Dec. 7, Main Gallery and Alsdorf Gallery. Spanning the mid-1990s to the present, the Mutu exhibition will include more than 50 pieces ranging from the artist’s most iconic collages to rarely-seen early works and new creations. The artist also will transform parts of the Block’s main gallery into an environmental installation during her campus visit. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Mutu is best known for large-scale collages depicting mythic female figures in lush, otherworldly landscapes. Her work explores issues of colonialism, gender, globalization, race, war, and the exoticization of the black female body. She often combines found materials and magazine cutouts with sculpture and painted imagery, sampling from sources as diverse as African traditions, international politics, the fashion industry and science fiction. The retrospective was organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. For more information, visit the Block Museum


Free guided tours of the Block Museum’s Sculpture Garden will be available by advance appointment only through July 7. While there are no formal tour dates, group tours and/or visitors may be accommodated upon advance request by contacting Maggie Borowitz, the Block’s education coordinator, at (847) 467-6046 or email, or click here for more information.


2014 marks the centennial of Henri Langlois (1914-1977), a founder, director and curator of the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, one of the world’s most celebrated film archives. Langlois was responsible for saving countless films from destruction by the Nazis or decay due to indifference and neglect.

Block Cinema will pay homage to Langlois and his heroic efforts through an eclectic selection of works showcasing the filmmakers he championed and the films he restored or rediscovered. As a curator, Langlois introduced the best of world cinema to future critics and filmmakers (Godard, Truffaut, Rensais and countless others) and inspired a generation of writers, scholars, curators and directors through his legendary screenings and cinema museum.

Block Cinema also will present films that inspired Kenyan-born artist Wangechi Mutu whose work will be exhibited in the museum’s Main and Alsdorf galleries this fall in a show titled  “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey.” An in-person appearance by British experimental filmmaker John Smith also is planned.

Block Cinema’s fall schedule begins on Sept. 26. Check the Block website in September for a complete list of programs.


Northwestern’s department of art theory and practice at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences offers visual arts–related events throughout the academic year. Information on newly listed events and updated information is available online. For more information, email


The Dittmar Memorial Gallery, first floor, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, 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, contact the Dittmar Gallery at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, email or visit the Dittmar Gallery.


“The Beat Goes On: The Evolution of House Music,” through July 2, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. “House Music” is a music art form that combines electronic sounds, vocals and samples from genres that include jazz, blues, disco and gospel, added to the foundation of the drum beat and synthesizer bass line. This spiritual force began in Chicago’s underground music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the iconic club The Warehouse. It brought together cultures, races, ages and alternative orientations like no other medium of that day. The proliferation of digital and emerging electronic media has catapulted House Music from its Chicago roots into a global power influencing dance, fashion and media. “The Beat Goes On” honors the pioneers of House Music, explores its origins, displays original artifacts and critiques the future of House Music and its evolution. It was curated by Head Archivist Lauren Lowery and Executive Director Charles Matlock of the Modern Dance Music Research and Archiving Foundation, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation based in Chicago. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

“Sculptures and Preparatory Works” by Michael Ferris Jr., July 10 through Aug. 12, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. The exhibition explores the space between process and product, revealing the work that goes into creating art. Ferris will exhibit his completed sculptures alongside the drawing and schematics that led to their making and create a dialogue between the sculpture’s form and complex patterned surface. The exhibition and a 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, July 11, opening reception, are free and open to the public.


Exhibitions at Northwestern University Library, 1970 Campus Drive, Evanston campus, are open to the public daily.  Summer hours through Aug. 16 are from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. 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.

“From Apartheid to Democracy,” through Aug. 29, Northwestern University Library and Deering Library. Marking 20 years of democracy in South Africa, this exhibition explores South Africa’s first democratic election, 20 years of democracy and Northwestern’s role in the global Anti-Apartheid Movement. The exhibit includes anti-apartheid posters, an app of humorous South African political cartoons and the first 1994 election ballot. For more information about related film presentations and lectures, visit Northwestern University Library.

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