Skip to main content

Visual Arts in March

Exhibitions at the Block Museum, Dittmar Gallery and University Library are open to public

  • Block Museum’s “Collecting Paradise” and Toulouse-Lautrec exhibitions a big draw
  • Director Brent Huffman to attend Block Cinema screening of his film “Saving Mes Aynak”
  • Dittmar Gallery hosts Dominic Sansone’s “American Dream” show 
  • Deering Library exhibit highlights books printed in English language between 1473 and 1800

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s winter 2015 exhibitions -- Buddhist art from Kashmir and Toulouse-Lautrec’s prints at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art -- continue to peak the interest of Chicagoans and suburbanites with a strong interest and admiration for fine art. 

The Block also will host a textile trade-related talk by a guest speaker who will explore the symbolic and commodity value of Kashmiri shawls across markets in India and Europe.

The Dittmar Gallery continues to host a winter exhibition featuring the sculptures of Chicago artist Dominic Sansone. Sansone’s “American Dream: God, Guns & Drones” runs through March 18. His show examines the dangers and peculiarities of living in a society that profits and thrives on violence and bloodshed.

Free and open to the general public, all of the following Northwestern events will take place on the Evanston campus.


• “Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and Its Legacies” through April 19 in the Block’s Main Gallery, was conceived and curated by Northwestern University professor Robert Linrothe in collaboration with Christian Lucanzits, the David L. Snellgrove Senior Lecturer in Tibetan and Buddhist Art at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. The exhibition features metalwork, paintings, ivories and woodwork from Kashmir and the Western Himalayas from the 7th to 17th centuries. “Collecting Paradise” presents an original and innovative look at Buddhist art from the region of Kashmir and the Western Himalayas, as well as the ways it has been “collected” throughout history. In bringing together 44 works from major collections across the U.S., this exhibition examines how Buddhist art from Kashmir and the Western Himalayas has traveled across centuries and borders -- first within the region and later to the U.S. and Europe -- raising questions about cultural impact and the varying motivations behind modes of collecting. For information on upcoming Block Museum related events, visit

• “Collecting Culture: Himalaya through the Lens” through April 12 in the Alsdorf Gallery, is a companion exhibit to the Block’s Main Gallery exhibition. It takes a critical look at U.S. and European engagement in the Himalayas, beginning in the mid-19th century. Through lenses, including photography, cartography, natural science and ethnography, it reflects on the ways Westerners have perceived, defined and acquired the Himalayas over time. It raises questions about what is gained and what is lost when one culture collects another.

“Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and Its Legacies” and “Collecting Culture: Himalaya through the Lens” were organized by the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University and the Rubin Museum of Art, New York.

Additional funding and support was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; Myers Foundations; Alumnae of Northwestern; Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; Illinois Arts Council Agency; Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly; and Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and department of art history.

• This winter the Block also is hosting the “Toulouse-Lautrec Prints: Art at the Edges of Modernity” exhibition through April 19 in the Katz Gallery. Curated by Northwestern students in Professor S. Hollis Clayson’s undergraduate art history course, “Museums: The Fin de Siécle Poster,” the exhibition explores the scope of Lautrec’s work in print media in the final decade of his life. Items on display range from public works such as posters, illustrated books and theater programs to privately circulated portfolios. The selection of works reveal a wide range of lithographs by one of the best known artists of the modern era. The Block Museum thanks Andra and Irwin Press for graciously lending from their collection, a significant group of which is bequeathed to the Block.

For more information on Block’s winter exhibitions, visit - sthash.doEPz2lx.dpuf

To view Block Cinema’s complete fall screening schedule online, visit


Northwestern’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art is located at 40 Arts Circle Drive on the University’s Evanston campus. For more information, visit or call 847-491-4000.


• Free guided tours of the Block Museum’s exhibitions are held every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. No reservation is necessary

• Free tours for groups of five or more people can be pre-arranged. Requests should be made at least four weeks in advance. For more information, email or visit - sthash.jLP1QlHj.dpuf.

• Gallery tours for higher education groups and kindergarten through high school classes also are available. For more information, visit - sthash.PsE49nv7.dpuf.


The following Block Museum events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

• Block Museum Lecture by Liza Oliver, “Luxury’s Labors: Kashmir in the South Asian Textile Trade with Europe,” 4:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 6, 1800 Sherman Ave., Room 4430, downtown Evanston. Liza Oliver, a postdoctoral fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and recent Northwestern art history PhD. recipient, will talk about the symbolic and commodity value of Kashmiri shawls across markets in India and Europe. With primary focus on the 19th century, she also will examine how Kashmiri trade with Europe altered the social standing and labor practices of Indian textile artisans. A light reception will follow.

• Block Cinema Screening, “Saving Mes Aynak,” 7 p.m. Friday, March 6, (Brent Huffman, 2014, United States, DCP, 60 minutes), Block Museum, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. The hourlong film follows an Afghan archaeologist as he races against time to save a 5,000-year-old archaeological site from imminent demolition by a Chinese mining company. Some believe that future discoveries at the site have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan and Buddhism itself. IN PERSON: Director Brent Huffman will attend the screening. General admission is free. For more information, visit: - sthash.IT2kFEgI.dpuf.


Northwestern’s Arts Circle Drive has reopened for vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The road, drive-up handicap access to Arts Circle Drive venues, the pedestrian path at the lakefront and all sidewalks are now open for public use. New improvements to the South Beach Garage have also eliminated the need to use the stairways since both levels of the two-story parking structure are now accessible to persons with disabilities for easy access to the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art. Free parking is available after 4 p.m. in the two-level lakeside lot directly south of the museum. Additional parking is also available in the new Segal Visitors Center at 1841 Sheridan Road. For directions and additional parking information, visit


Northwestern University’s department of art theory and practice has both an undergraduate program and a graduate program. The department sponsors student exhibitions in the Dittmar Memorial Gallery in Norris University Center, the student activities hub, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and other campus venues, including the department’s new home at 640 Lincoln St. The department’s Visiting Artists Program brings contemporary artists from around the world to campus to speak, visit classes and have one-on-one critiques with advanced students. 

• Northwestern MFA Open Studios, 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 1, Locy Hall, basement level, 1850 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. Ten Northwestern graduate student artists currently occupying a series of former geological laboratories in a brown brick building dating to the early 20th century will exhibit their works. Artists will include Lilli Carré, Emily Cruz Nowell, Max Guy, Erin Hayden, Angela Lopez, Laura McGinn, Daniel Stephen Miller, William Schweigert, David Sprecher and Rambod Vala. Admission is free and open to the public. Snacks and warm beverages will be served. A map and directions are available at

• Art Theory and Practice, Spring Showcase, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, March 6, 640 Lincoln Street, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. Explore the department of art theory and practice’s new home and view art by the department’s current graduate and undergraduate students. Student’s paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, videos, performances and sound pieces will be installed throughout the building. Admission is free. A map and directions are available at:


The Dittmar Memorial Gallery, first floor, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. The Dittmar Gallery 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


• Dominic Sansone, “American Dream: God, Guns & Drones,” Feb. 13 through March 18, Dittmar Gallery. Sansone’s exhibition investigates how fear and paranoia of violence has shaped the collective consciousness of the United States. Focusing on the overwhelming presence of violence, both domestic and abroad, “American Dream” questions how desensitization has given way to apathy and fascination with violence. Sansone’s sculptures call attention to the dangers and peculiarities of living in a society that profits and thrives on violence and bloodshed.


Northwestern’s University Library is located at 1970 Campus Drive. The following  exhibitions are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

• “Farm to Table: Government Information and Food” through May 1. During the last century, the way our country harvests, transports and consumes food has been influenced strongly by U.S. government agencies and policies. Using materials drawn from the Library’s Government Information Collection, the University Library exhibition will highlight a few of the myriad ways in which the U.S. government has directly encouraged healthy eating, promoted safe food production and educated the country about food science. Seven cases of educational posters, wartime pamphlets, production documentation and other government-produced materials are on display.

• “Beyond the Book: The Changing Nature of Library Collections” in the Charles Deering Library lobby through May 8. As a steward of our cultural heritage, University Library holds far more than just books. Whether art or textiles or even food, the Library’s more unique holdings require a team of conservators who employ their highly specialized skills to safely house and preserve these items for future scholarship. This exhibit features some of these objects, including items that range from ancient Mesopotamian tablets to Obama-themed lollipops. It also includes information on how the Library’s team of experts solves the preservation challenges posed by each.

 • “Midwest Renaissance: Printed Books at Northwestern from Shakespeare’s Time” through June 21 on the third floor of Deering Library. Tens of thousands of Renaissance-era books can be found in Midwestern libraries, arriving from half a world away via circuitous paths and the untraceable efforts of collectors and scholars. This exhibit displays more than two dozen such books held by the University’s Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections. It includes volumes of poetry and prose by eminent Renaissance writers, “used books” bearing traces of their owners, as well as educational treatises, Continental literature in translation and travel guides. These books are part of a 2014 effort begun at Northwestern entitled "Renaissance Books, Midwestern Libraries" (RBML) to boost awareness of books printed between 1473 and 1800 in the English language (or in England and its territories) that now reside much closer than libraries in Europe.


One Book One Northwestern is the University’s community-wide reading program hosted by the Office of the President. The selection for the 2014-15 academic year is Claude Steele’s book “Whistling Vivaldi” (W.W. Norton, 2010). One Book also has scheduled film screenings, lectures, themed dinner/panel discussions and more throughout the current academic year. All events are free and many are open to the public. For information, visit or email

Back to top