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Visual Arts at Northwestern in November

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

  • Block hosting Chicago artist Geof Oppenheimer’s first Midwest solo museum show
  • “School Works” exhibit at Dittmar examines politics of U.S. educational system
  • Deering Library showcasing “Making Faces” cartoon exhibition through Dec. 30
  • Eyeworks Festival to feature Nov. 6 post-screening Q&A with visiting artist Takeshi Murata

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Don’t miss seeing the two new works by a prominent Chicago multimedia artist on view at Northwestern University this fall.

Both works are part of the University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art’s “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures,” through Nov. 30, the first solo museum exhibition by Geof Oppenheimer.           

“Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” features two new pieces by Oppenheimer commissioned by the Block, including “Civil/Evil,” a large sculpture occupying the museum’s entire main gallery, and a 10-minute video installation, “DRAMA,” on the museum’s first floor. With each of these new works, Oppenheimer deepens his ongoing investigations into the rational, regulating forces of human society, from political and economic systems to the proliferation of visual and textual rhetoric.

Block Cinema presents films in the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation series in November. The festival’s 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6 screening of “Melter: Films by Takeshi Murata,” will feature an introduction and post-screening Q&A with visiting artist Takeshi Murata, sponsored by Northwestern’s department of art theory and practice. Block Cinema also has scheduled two films that pay homage to the late Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa (1907-1997). For an added treat, a restored version of Leslie Stevens’ 1960 film “Private Property,” will be screened on Nov. 19. 

Dittmar Gallery’s second fall exhibition, “School Works” by Jerry Truong, Oct. 29 through Dec. 6, examines the political implications of the American educational system. The exhibition, and an opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, are free and open to the public. 

Northwestern’s Deering Library is presenting Making Faces: Cartoons and Cartoonists from Northwestern Library Collections,” through Dec. 30. In this exhibit, the long and colorful history of cartooning and illustration comes to life through Northwestern Library collections. The exhibit features talented alumni artists as well as rare illustrations of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, including prints from the father of political cartooning, James Gillray, and original works by Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune cartoonist John T. McCutcheon. 

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

MARY AND LEIGH BLOCK MUSEUM OF ART

Northwestern’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art is located at 40 Arts Circle Drive on the University’s Evanston campus. More information on Block exhibitions and events is available online, or by calling 847-491-4000.

BLOCK MUSEUM FALL 2015 EXHIBITIONS 

  • “Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures,” through Nov. 30, Main Gallery and Alsdorf Gallery, Block Museum. “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” features two new works by Oppenheimer commissioned by the Block, including a large sculpture, occupying the entirety of the museum’s main gallery, and a 10-minute video installation on the museum’s first floor. With each of these new works, Oppenheimer deepens his ongoing investigations into the rational, regulating forces of human society, from political and economic systems to the proliferation of visual and textual rhetoric.
    • The sculpture, “Civil/Evil,” probes structures of power and how they are communicated through material and image, pressure and release, upon the individual.
    • The video, “DRAMA,” invokes how our relations to one another are shaped and predetermined by systems of exchange and labor. Included in museum group exhibitions and biennials nationally and internationally, this is the first solo exhibition by Oppenheimer in the city where he lives and works.
    • “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” has been generously supported by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, The Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation, Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross, and the Diane and Craig Solomon Contemporary Art Fund.
  • “Exposure: Recent Gifts of Photography,” through Nov. 30, 2015, Block Museum, Katz Gallery. Photographs can provide an objective window on reality. This exhibition asks: How is the captured image of a photograph constructed? Can an image that is both captured and crafted expose truth? These photographs, all recent gifts to the Block Museum, were produced by artists from around the world from the mid-20th century to the present. The diverse selection of works assembled in “Exposure” invite viewers to consider the complexities of photographic “truth” in relation to their use in the media, the politics of representation, and the subjectivity inherent in the making and consumption of a photograph. For more information visit the Block website.

BLOCK MUSEUM NOVEMBER 2015 EVENTS 

The following public events are free, unless noted otherwise. For more information, visit  the Block events website.

  • Lecture: Cultural Critic Brian Holmes, The Cyborg in the Sphere, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4. Drawing on philosophy, literature and the visual arts, cultural critic Brian Holmes explores the contemporary construct of the financial sphere and its inhabitants, the "masters of the universe," as portrayed in the work of Geof Oppenheimer. Holmes will consider lightning-fast electronic signals, advanced mathematical representations, and the seductive sheen of cool glass that wreak havoc on our sublunary world.
  • Elizabeth and Todd Warnock Lecture Series: Art Historian Briony Fer, 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11. Briony Fer is professor of history of art at University College London. She has published several books on 20th century and contemporary art, including “On Abstract Art” (2000) and “The Infinite Line” (2004). Fer also has written essays on artists Eva Hesse, Gabriel Orozco, Roni Horn, Vija Celmins, Ed Ruscha, Rachel Whiteread and David Batchelor. A reception will follow her lecture. This program is co-sponsored by Northwestern’s department of art history.
  • Poetry Reading: “A Poem is a Sculpture,” 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18. Visitors are invited to join artist Geof Oppenheimer for an opportunity to read and reflect upon poems selected in conjunction with his solo exhibition “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures,” on view at the Block Museum through Nov. 30.

NOVEMBER 2015 BLOCK MUSEUM EXHIBITION TOURS

  • Free guided docent-led tours of the Block Museum’s exhibitions are held at 1 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday 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.

BLOCK CINEMA - NOVEMBER 2015 SCREENINGS

Block Cinema screens classic and contemporary films and is dedicated to providing the Northwestern campus, the North Shore and Chicago with a quality venue for cinema. Block Cinema is sponsored in part by a generous gift from James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati. 

This fall, several new film series will be screened in the Block Museum’s Pick-Laudati Auditorium.  The series include:

  • Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, Nov. 5 through Nov. 7, is an invitational festival that showcases outstanding experimental animation, and a few classic films and new works. Films will include: “Tribute to Experimental Animation” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5; and Shorts Program 1 at 1 p.m., and Shorts Program 2 at 3:30 p.m. Saturday Nov. 7. The Nov. 6 screening will feature an introduction and post-screening Q&A with visiting artist Takeshi Murata, sponsored by Northwestern’s department of art theory and practice. The Nov. 6 screening is made possible by the Myers Foundations.
  • Tribute to Gabriel Figueroa, Nov. 12 through Dec. 3, celebrates the films of cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa (1907–1997), who was instrumental in forging an evocative and enduring image of Mexico from the early 1930s through the 1980s. Figueroa worked with leading directors from Mexico, the U. S. and Europe, traversing a wide variety of genres while maintaining his distinctive and vivid visual style. His precise attention to framing, dramatic use of light and shadow, and signature deep focus compositions are the work of a truly exceptional artist. Screenings include: “María Candelaria at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12; “Enamorada” at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13; “Los olvidados” at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20; and  “Nazarín” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3.
  • The New Documentaries series, through Dec. 4, continues this fall with the following screenings: “The Iron Ministry” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, J.P. Sniadeck’s 2014 work that was filmed over three years on China’s railways and traces the vast interiors of a country on the move; and “Count Me In” at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4 (Free), Ines Sommer’s forthcoming film, which will be screened as a work-in-progress, and follows the stories of ordinary Chicagoans who are part of an innovative and empowering experiment in direct democracy in their neighborhoods. This series is co-sponsored by Northwestern University’s MFA in Documentary Media Program.

Block Cinema general admission is $6; $4 with a Northwestern WildCARD, student ID and for seniors, or are free, as noted. A quarterly pass is $20. More information available online.

DEPARTMENT OF ART THEORY AND PRACTICE 

Northwestern’s department of art theory and practice’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.

  • Visiting Artist Lecture: Mladen Dolar, 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, at the Gym, 640 Lincoln St., Evanston campus. Dolar is a philosopher, cultural theorist, film critic and expert in psychoanalysis. He was the co-founder, together with Slavoj Žižek and Rastko Močnik, of the Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis, whose main goal is to achieve a synthesis between Lacanian psychoanalysis and the philosophy of German idealism. In 2010 Dolar began his tenure as an advising researcher in theory at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, The Netherlands. His main fields of expertise are the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel (on which he has written several books, including a two-volume interpretation of Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind) and French structuralism. Dolar also is a music theoretician and film critic.
  • Visiting Artist Lecture: Asli Çavuşoğlu, 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, at the Gym, 640 Lincoln St., Evanston campus. Çavuşoğlu's work utilizes different media to investigate silenced histories. These investigations (articulated through various media forms) revisit key moments in an effort to locate the relationship between rupture and continuity as consciousness and how related identities are constructed, and reconstructed. She has composed rap songs using words censored in the Turkish media and made a video of residents from a Turkish town re-enacting key events from a local socialist struggle that was crushed by the 1980 military coup. In a recent work, “The Stones Talk” (2013), she delved into history to grant archaeological finds unearthed in excavations throughout Turkey and various forms of enhancement to remnants deemed too small or insignificant for museum display in order to lend them a new, decidedly more significant identity. Her recent solo shows include “Murder in Three Acts” at Delfina Foundation in London and Gallery NON in Istanbul (2013).

DITTMAR GALLERY FALL 2015 EXHIBITION

  • “School Works” by Jerry Truong, Oct. 29 to Dec. 6, Dittmar Memorial Gallery, first floor, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. “School Works” examines the political implications of the American educational system through blackboard-like large-scale paintings, sculptures that utilize objects, such as plastic chairs and overhead projectors, and signs displaying summaries of notable teaching philosophies. On one hand, the works function as a critique by pointing out the contradictions embedded in education, while simultaneously referencing philosophical, social and political ideas and art movements that challenge traditional modes of thinking. This exhibition strives to embody all we hope for out of school, a space that encourages learning and independence, but also the very thing that we fear it could become: a site of conflict as a political tool. The exhibition, and an opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, are free and open to the public.

UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

  • Making Faces: Cartoons and Cartoonists from Northwestern Library Collections,” through Dec. 30 in the Charles Deering Library, 1935 Sheridan Road. In the hands of a skilled artist, a pen can be the best tool for conveying the subtleties of a personality, a situation or an idea. All subjects are fair game to a cartoonist: politics, sports, entertainment and even campus life at a certain Midwestern university. In this exhibit, the long and colorful history of cartooning and illustration comes to life through Northwestern Library collections, featuring talented alumni artists like "Banderooge" creator Robert Leighton (‘82), Disney director John Musker (‘75), and sports caricaturist Murray Olderman (‘47), represented by the holdings of University Archives. Curators also highlight the rare illustrations of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, including prints from the father of political cartooning, James Gillray and original works by Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune cartoonist John T. McCutcheon. Admission is free and open to the public. 

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