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Visual Arts in May

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

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Artist Julie Green’s compelling installation, “The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates,” opens May 9 at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

It will feature 600 hand-painted plates depicting death row inmates’ last meal requests and will be on view to the public through Aug. 9. Green, an art professor at Oregon State University, has been painting plates for 15 years and is committed to creating 50 each year until capital punishment is abolished in the United States.

Also opening at the Block Museum’s Katz Gallery on May 9 is “Compression: Recent Gifts to the Block from Bill and Sheila Lambert,” which runs through Aug. 9.  It is a group of works that compress time, space, memory and knowledge. Using photography, printmaking, publishing, computer-generated art, collage and drawing, these works represent each of the key areas of the Block’s extensive holdings of art on paper, a cornerstone of the collection.

The Block also will co-host the MFA Thesis Exhibition, “Age of Consent,” April 30 through June 21 in the Alsdorf Gallery This annual show of graduate works marks the end of the course of study leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree for the department of art theory and practice at Northwestern.

“Surface Tension” closes May 8 at the Dittmar Gallery. It features color photographs by guest artist Terri Warpinski, focusing on the politically and geographically separated border zones of Israel-Palestine, U.S.-Mexico and the Berlin Wall.

University Library and Deering Library will unveil several new exhibitions. “Critical Mass: Using Archival Sources and Data to Track Change at Northwestern” debuts April 27 and runs through June 21 in University Library’s New Book Alcove. “Art & Science: Traversing the Creative Spectrum,” opens May 18 and runs through Sept. 4, at University Library (Main Library). And “The History of Deering Library,” will be on view in the lobby of Deering Library from May 26 through Sept. 6.  

All of the following Northwestern events will take place on the Evanston campus. All are free, unless otherwise noted.


Northwestern’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art is located at 40 Arts Circle Drive on the University’s Evanston campus. Admission to Block Museum exhibitions is always free. Parking in the garage and lot directly south of the museum is free all day on weekends and after 4 p.m. on weekdays. For more information on Block exhibitions, visit or call 847-491-4000.


• “The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates,” by Julie Green, May 9 through Aug. 9. An installation by artist Julie Green features 600 white ceramic plates decorated with cobalt blue mineral paint to depict the last meal requests of U.S. death row inmates. Every plate in “The Last Supper” is accompanied by a description of the meal request, date and state -- but no more. Without naming the inmate or crime, the meals highlight the human dimension of capital punishment. The plates function as anonymous portraits that when grouped together suggest a memorial to lost life on a mass scale. Green, a professor of art at Oregon State University, has been painting plates for 15 years and is committed to creating 50 each year until capital punishment is abolished. Green’s Block Museum exhibition has particular salience at Northwestern, as the Northwestern University School of Law was influential in the eradication of the death penalty in Illinois. The Block is partnering with the School of Law, among others, to address issues raised by the exhibition. The Block also will host a variety of related programs that are free and open to the public, including wide-ranging discussions on capital punishment and criminal and social justice. Funding for the project has been generously provided by Chicago artist Angela Lustig and Northwestern alumnus Dale E. Taylor. Taylor is the president and CEO of AbelsonTaylor.

In addition, Block Cinema has scheduled five films during May and June 2015 that complement themes in the “The Last Supper.” General admission is $6; admission is $4 with a Northwestern WildCARD, Block Museum membership, student ID, and for seniors. A quarterly pass is $20. For more information related to Block Cinema series and complete film descriptions, visit:

• “Compression: Recent Gifts to the Block from Bill and Sheila Lambert,” May 9 through Aug. 9, Katz Gallery. Drawn from recent gifts to the Block Museum from Bill and Sheila Lambert, “Compression” traces the contemporary use of technologies to reduce the work of art to its essential forms and functions, including photography, printmaking, publishing, computer-generated art, collage and drawing. These works represent each of the key areas of the Block’s extensive holdings of art on paper, a cornerstone of the collection.

• MFA Thesis Exhibition, “Age of Consent,” April 30 through June 21, Alsdorf Gallery. This exhibition presents the work of Angela Lopez, Laura McGinn, Emily Cruz Nowell, William Schweigert and Rambod Vala and is the culmination of the Master of Fine Arts

(MFA) studies in Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences department of art theory and practice. Support for the MFA Thesis Exhibition is provided by The Myers Foundations, The Cary Lane Art Supply Fund courtesy of Dr. Madeleine Wing Adler, Norton S. Walbridge Fund, the Mary and Leigh Block Endowment Fund, and The Alsdorf Endowment.


• Block Museum Spring 2015 Opening Day Program, 2 p.m. Saturday, May 9, Fisk Hall, 1845 Sheridan Road, room 217, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. The Block Museum will welcome artist Julie Green, who will present her installation “The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates.” Green will discuss her process and how the project relates to her larger artistic concerns. Following this talk, Green, professor of art at Oregon State University, will be joined in conversation by Robert C. Owen, clinical professor of law at Northwestern, and Elliot Reichert, curator of special projects at the Block, to discuss issues of representation, the criminal justice system and social justice. The program begins at 2 p.m. at Fisk Hall, with a reception to follow at the Block Museum, 40 Arts Circle Drive, with the opportunity to meet the artist. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and parking is free. There will be docents and signage leading the way from the free parking lot to Fisk Hall.

• Inside Northwestern University in Qatar: Celebrating Global Innovation, 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, Block Museum. This special program highlights the innovative work and significant cross-disciplinary achievements of the students and faculty based at Northwestern University’s campus in Qatar. Through a series of presentations featuring short films and other digital media, panelists will offer a faceted view of Northwestern’s global emphasis from within the Gulf region, as well as discuss points of intersection within Evanston. A reception will follow.

• “Seen from Inside: Perspectives on Capital Punishment” discussion, 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, Block Museum’s Pick-Laudati Auditorium. In partnership with the Center for Capital Defense and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, the Block will host a series of acts exploring various perspectives on capital punishment -- an exhibition overview by Elliot Reichert, Block Curator of Special Projects, followed by a capital case closing argument enacted by a death penalty defense attorney, a conversation with a former prisoner exonerated from death row, and insights from a family member of a homicide victim.

• Department of Art History’s Elizabeth and Todd Warnock Lecture Series: “The Whisperers,” 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, Block Museum. Christopher S. Wood, professor of German at New York University, will deliver a lecture focused on tensions between the Holy Family and the religious community. Late medieval Italian depictions of the Presentations of Mary and Christ in the Temple of Jerusalem make visible for the first time the gossip of the community, and hint at the protagonists’ inner psychic life, sexual and familial. Wood’s lecture will interpret the gaze of the onlookers as a secularizing counter-mode to perspectival and devotional seeing.

• “When You CAN’T Shake It Off” discussion, 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, Block Museum, Pick-Laudati AuditoriumA cell phone camera captures the death of Eric Garner. White men toting assault rifles film confrontations with police officers over their right to openly carry firearms. A video of a cop lip-synching to Taylor Swift goes viral. Join Will Schmenner, Block Cinema interim curator, and Harvey Young, Northwestern University associate professor, as they discuss the role and use of social media in creating a national conversation about race, law and the limits of police power. How does civil resistance operate in the Internet era?

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


Block Cinema, “Race, Class and Justice on Screen” series. Each of the films in this series will be screened at 7 p.m. and will include: May 1, “Caché” (“Hidden”); May 15, “The Thin Blue Line”May 21 “The People vs. Paul Crump”May 28, “A Man Escapes” and June 4, “The Passion of Joan of Arc.” General admission is $6, or $4 with a Northwestern WildCARD, Block Museum membership or student ID. A quarterly pass is $20. To view Block Cinema’s complete spring screening schedule online, visit


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

• Free tours for groups of five or more 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.


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. For information on upcoming events, visit

• MFA Thesis Exhibition, “Age of Consent,” April 30 through June 21, Alsdorf Gallery. The artists featured in “Age of Consent” take full responsibility for their actions and decisions. The exhibition presents the work of Angela Lopez, Laura McGinn, Emily Cruz Nowell, William Schweigert and Rambod Vala in the culmination of their MFA studies in Northwestern’s department of art theory and practice. The exhibition is co-organized by Northwestern’s department of art theory and practice and the Block Museum. Support for the MFA Thesis Exhibition is provided by The Myers Foundations, The Cary Lane Art Supply Fund courtesy of Dr. Madeleine Wing Adler, Norton S. Walbridge Fund, the Mary and Leigh Block Endowment Fund, and The Alsdorf Endowment.


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


• “Surface Tension,” Terri Warpinski exhibition, through May 8, Dittmar Memorial Gallery. Warpinski’s exhibit explores the multiple and conflicted perspectives that complicate three well-known zones that have -- or had -- special restrictions to movement: the Israel-Palestine border, the U.S.-Mexico border and the former Berlin Wall, which once separated communist East Berlin from the free city of West Berlin. The exhibition features more than 50 color photographs that reflect Warpinski’s deep respect for the natural environment and her interest in the traces of human connections embedded in the landscape. It also incorporates various methods of digital photography and juxtaposes diptychs, triptychs and sequential configurations of singular images. For more on Warpinski, visit

• Department of Art Theory and Practice Senior Show, “Gorge,” May 15-June 11, Dittmar Gallery. Our culture depends upon and even celebrates dichotomous thinking. What happens to people and ideas that lie within the valley of this gorge? What happens when we create a bridge? “Gorge” features the artwork of six graduating seniors from Northwestern University’s department of art theory and practice: Dulcinée Deguere, Hope Hellmann, Lynn Lochlynn, Tanner Maxwell, Ben Podell and Lucero Segundo. The “Gorge” exhibition and an opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, May 15, are free and open to the public.


Northwestern’s University Library is located at 1970 Campus Drive. Deering Library is located at 1935 Sheridan Road. 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.

• (NEW) “Art & Science: Traversing the Creative Spectrum,” May 18 through Sept. 4, University Library (Main Library). Why do we tend to think of art and science as opposites? They may seem at odds, but both are born from creativity, both employ process and both push boundaries. In truth, they are complementary fields, not contrary, and they rely on one another. Whether it is astronomers pushing the limits of photography, or illustrators experimenting with printmaking technology, art and science often converge in a place where they become inextricable. This University Library exhibit, opening May 18, examines the historical interconnectedness of art and science, two disciplines forever linked on the same spectrum of creativity.

• (NEW) “The History of Deering Library,” May 26 through Sept. 6, in the lobby of Deering Library. From its dramatic barrel vaults to its reading room often equated to Hogwarts, Deering Library has been a campus icon for more than 80 years. This exhibit is a remount of a display last seen in 2012. It re-creates the history of the Collegiate Gothic building, including the initial Georgian designs proposed by architect James Gamble Rogers. The exhibit also commemorates the 45th anniversary of the dramatic 1970 student strike on campus in protest of the Vietnam War and Kent State shootings -- an era when Deering was often a central meeting point for protesters during the weeklong campus shutdown.

• (NEW) “Critical Mass: Using Archival Sources and Data to Track Change at Northwestern,” April 27 through June 21, in University’s Library’s New Book Alcove (near Periodicals). Inspired by the University’s 2014-15 One Book, One Northwestern selection of preeminent social psychologist Claude M. Steele’s “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We can Do,” this Library installation illustrates the University Archives’ widely varied sources of information -- from yearbooks to course catalogs to faculty minutes -- that can help researchers understand changing student demographics throughout Northwestern history. Curators pay particular attention to how geospatial analysis tools, available through the Library, can plot that information to arrive at meaningful conclusions about the history of race on campus. For more information on Northwestern’s One Book community reading program, visit and


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

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