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Visual Arts and Block Cinema Screenings In October

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

  • Block hosting Chicago artist Geof Oppenheimer’s first solo museum show in Midwest
  • Dittmar Gallery presenting Native American artists’ response to Sand Creek massacre
  • Deering and Main libraries showcasing “Making Faces” cartoon exhibition through Dec. 30
  • Video and performance artist Joan Jonas to discuss her work at the 2015 Venice Biennale 

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Two new works by a prominent Chicago multimedia artist are among the visual arts highlights at Northwestern University this fall.

They 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 on-going investigations into the rational, regulating forces of human society, from political and economic systems to the proliferation of visual and textual rhetoric.

In a series of free public programs Oppenheimer’s work will be featured in gallery talks by scholars, critics and artists. The cornerstone event is an Oct. 24 lecture by eminent sociologist and Chicago native, Richard Sennett, during the Chicago Humanities Festival. In addition, Block Cinema, the museum’s in-house cinema program, will present a series of four films selected by the artist.

Block Cinema also will screen two new documentaries in October, as well as a work by pioneering video and performance artist Joan Jonas during her visit to Northwestern this fall. Block Cinema will screen “Joan Jonas: Myths, Mirros & Monitors” on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. the day prior to Jonas’ Oct. 10 lecture, presented by Weinberg College’s department of art theory and practice, at the Block. Jonas represented the United States at this year’s Venice Biennale and will discuss her current work, including her Biennale project. Jonas’ lecture and the screening of her film are free and open to the public. 

Northwestern’s Dittmar Gallery is hosting “One November Morning – the Sand Creek Massacre” through Oct. 25, a traveling contemporary art exhibition that captures the visual history of a tragic event that took place on Nov. 29, 1864, in Sand Creek, Colorado. It features

Interpretations of the day of the massacre by three Oklahoma-based Cheyenne and Arapaho artists and memorializes and honors the artists’ ancestors and former tribal elders. 

The Dittmar also will host its second fall exhibition, “School Works” by Jerry Truong, Oct. 29 to Dec. 8, which examines the political implications of the American educational system.

University Library and Deering Library are 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. 

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 video installation, 10 minutes in length, 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. It is commonly perceived that photographs can provide an objective window on reality. This exhibition asks: In what ways 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. 

BLOCK MUSEUM OCTOBER 2015 EVENTS

The following public events are free, unless noted otherwise. 

Block Cinema: Conversation: Artist Geof Oppenheimer and Guest Film Curator Will Schmenner, 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, Block Museum. In conjunction with his exhibition, artist Geof Oppenheimer has curated a special film series for Block Cinema. Oppenheimer’s own films operate within a long history of artists turning to the moving image to engage questions of politics, aesthetics and mass culture. In curating this film series (which includes Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”), the artist takes that engagement a step further, asking what it means to watch movies today. Oppenheimer and London-based guest film curator Will Schmenner will discuss key clips from the series. The discussion will be followed by an 8 p.m. screening of Lars von Trier’s “Boss of It All.” Read more on the film series. 

Lecture: Emilie E.S. Gordenker, director, Mauritshuis Museum Royal Picture Gallery, The Hague, Netherland, 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, Block Museum. Renowned for its collection of extraordinary Dutch paintings of the Golden Age, which includes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” the Mauritshuis -- located in the spectacular setting of a 17th-century residence in the heart of The Hague -- is one of Europe’s most beloved jewel-box museums. Its current director, Emilie Gordenker, will share her experiences transforming it into a museum for our time in her lecture, “Mauritshuis: Past, Present and Future.” She will chart the history of the museum’s collection, reveal secrets behind its recent building project, and inspire the audience with the museum’s ambitious plans for the future. Gordenker will be introduced by Claudia Swan, an associate professor in the department of art history and an expert on Dutch art. This program is co-sponsored by Northwestern’s department of art history.

Conversation: Richard Sennett and Artist Geof Oppenheimer, noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, Block Museum. For nearly 50 years, Richard Sennett has been one of the most respected thinkers about cities, labor and culture. Author of such classics of sociology as “The Fall of Public Man” and “The Hidden Injuries of Class,” Sennett has more recently meditated on what it means to really make something in our automated, consumerist world. Sennett will take a bird's-eye view of citizenship today and will be joined in conversation by artist Geof Oppenheimer. This program is generously underwritten by Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross and is presented in partnership with the Chicago Humanities Festival as part of its “Evanston Day.”

Gallery Talk: Art Historian David Getsy, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, Block Museum. Join David Getsy, Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History and Interim Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in the exhibition “Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures,” for a gallery talk about Oppenheimer’s current works commissioned by the Block.

OCTOBER 2015 BLOCK MUSEUM EXHIBITION TOURS

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 blockeducation@northwestern.edu.

BLOCK CINEMA - OCTOBER 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, Block Cinema is presenting several new film series:

“Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” series, Oct. 15 to Oct. 30, is being held in conjunction with the Block Museum’s fall 2015 exhibition “Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures,” which runs through Nov. 30. Oppenheimer, a Chicago-based artist, has programmed a series of four films. Each grapples with the slickness of capitalism through black comedy (Oct. 15, “The Boss of It All”), paranoia and suspense (Oct. 22, “The Conversation”), social realism (Oct. 23, “La Promesse”) and the psychology of mass culture (Oct. 30 “The Dark Knight”).

Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation, Nov. 5 to Nov. 7, is an invitational festival focused on abstract animation and unconventional character animation. Festival programs showcase outstanding experimental animation, and include classic films and new works. Films will include: Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. “Tribute to Experimental Animation”; Nov. 6 at 7 p.m., “Melter: Films by Takeshi Murata”; Nov. 7 at 1 p.m., Shorts Program 1; and Nov. 7 at 3:30 p.m., Shorts Program 2. The Nov. 6 screening will feature an introduction and post-screening Q&A with visiting artist Takeshi Murata, sponsored by the department of art theory and practice.

Tribute to Gabriel Figueroa, Nov. 12 to 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: Nov. 12 at 7 p.m., “María Candelaria; Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., “Enamorada”; Nov. 20 at 7 p.m., “Los olvidados”; and Dec. 3 at 7 p.m., “Nazarín.”

The New Documentaries series, Oct. 8 to Dec. 4, continues this fall with the screenings of Oct. 8, “(T)ERROR,” Lyric Cabal and David Felix Sutcliffe’s 2015 documentary that provides unprecedented access to an active FBI counterterrorism informant and former Black Panther Saeed “Shariff” Torres; Oct. 29, “The Iron Ministry,” 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 “Dec. 4, “Count Me In,” 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. A quarterly pass is $20.

Read more information on the Block Cinema series and complete film descriptions.

BLOCK CINEMA OCTOBER SCREENINGS

Block Cinema, “Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” series, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct 15, “The Boss of it All + Conversation with Geof Oppenheimer” FREE; 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, “The Conversation”; 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, “La Promesse”; and 7 p.m.  Friday, Oct. 30, “The Dark Knight.” In conjunction with the Block Museum’s fall exhibition “Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures,” Chicago-based artist Geof Oppenheimer has programmed a series of four films. Each grapples with the slickness of capitalism: through paranoia and suspense (“The Conversation”), black comedy (“The Boss of It All”), social realism (“La Promesse”) and the psychology of mass culture (“The Dark Knight”). “The Boss of It All” satirizes our love-hate relationship with authority -- something the characters crave and rail against in the same breath. “The Conversation” directs its unflinching gaze at the ambiguity of human communication in a world where life and death decisions must be made. In “La Promesse,” a 15-year-old’s emerging sense of morality comes up against the need for economic stability. In “The Dark Knight,” the Joker overturns the rules of law and order and organized crime, reveling in a destructive anarchy that is as essential as the aspects of modernity that shaped Bruce Wayne: industrialization, Freudian fears and the urban metropolis. Together these films paint a picture of a world where order can only exist within a greater and more dangerous disorder -- a world prone to misunderstanding, exploitation, destruction, misanthropy and disturbing beauty. Join Oppenheimer and London-based film curator Will Schmenner for a 7 p.m. discussion of the series on Thursday, Oct. 15, followed by a screening at 8 p.m. of the art house satire “Boss of It All.”

Block Cinema, New Documentaries series, “(T)ERROR” 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, (Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe, 2015, United States, DCP, 93 minutes), FREE FOR NU STUDENTS.“(T)ERROR” provides unprecedented access to an active FBI counterterrorism informant, 63-year-old former Black Panther Saeed “Shariff” Torres. As the filmmakers document a live sting operation, viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government's counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them. A faceless character throughout, the FBI is an omnipresent force, pushing hard for results as “Shariff” slowly closes in on his target. Taut, stark and controversial, “(T)ERROR” illuminates the fragile relationship between individuals and the surveillance state of modern America, and asks, “who is watching the watchers?” The screening will be preceded by a brief reception in the Block Museum lobby. In person: Director Lyric Cabral will attend the screening.

Special Block Cinema Program, “Joan Jonas: Myths, Mirrors & Monitors,” 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. FREE In conjunction with Jonas’ visit to Northwestern University, Block Cinema presents a screening of work by the pioneering artist. Jonas, who represented the United States at this year’s Venice Biennale, is a central figure in the history of video and performance art. Her works from the late 1960s and early 1970s continue to be crucial to the development of contemporary art across media including performance, video, conceptual art and theater. Jonas’ practice explores ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual and the authority of objects and gestures.

Block Cinema, New Documentaries series, “The Iron Ministry,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 (J.P. Sniadecki, 2014, United States, DCP, 82 minutes), FREE FOR NU STUDENTS. Filmed over three years on China’s railways, “The Iron Ministry” traces the vast interiors of a country on the move: flesh and metal, clangs and squeals, light and dark, language and gesture. Scores of rail journeys come together into one, capturing the thrills and anxieties of social and technological transformation. “The Iron Ministry” immerses audiences in fleeting relationships and uneasy encounters between humans and machines on what will soon be the world's largest railway network. Director Sniadecki is a member of Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, which has produced the films “Sweetgrass” (2009), “Foreign Parts” (2010) and “Leviathan” (2012). The screening will be preceded by a brief reception in the Block Museum lobby. In person: Director J.P. Sniadecki will attend the screening.

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: Joan Jonas, 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, McCormick Auditorium, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. The department of art theory and practice presents pioneering video and performance artist Joan Jonas. Jonas, who represented the United States at the 2015 Venice Biennale, will discuss her current work, including her Biennale project. Trained in art history and sculpture, Joan Jonas is a central figure in the history of performance art. Her experiments and productions created in the late 1960s and early 1970s continue to be crucial to the development of many contemporary art genres, from performance and video to conceptual art and theater. Since 1968, her practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual, and the authority of objects and gestures. She will be introduced by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the Edith Kreeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor in Northwestern’s department of art theory and practice. Christov-Bakargiev is the curator of the 14th Istanbul Biennial and the director of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art and the Galleria Civica D’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Turin, Italy. A reception to follow at the Block Museum. This program is sponsored by Northwestern’s department of art theory and practice's Visiting Artist Program with support from the Kreeger Wolf Endowment, and in collaboration with the Block Museum. Admission is free and open to the public.

DITTMAR GALLERY FALL 2015 EXHIBITION 

“One November Morning – the Sand Creek Massacre,” through Oct. 25, Dittmar Memorial Gallery, first floor, Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. This traveling contemporary art exhibition captures the visual history of a tragic event that took place on Nov. 29, 1864, in Sand Creek, Colorado. The show features the work of three Oklahoma-based Cheyenne and Arapaho artists who work in different mediums in remembrance of their Sand Creek ancestors. Their colorful paintings and ledger art (narrative drawings or paintings on paper or cloth) depict the artists’ interpretations of the day of the massacre and memorialize and honor the artists’ ancestors and former tribal elders. For more information, contact the Dittmar Gallery at 847-491-2348 or dittmargallery@northwestern.edu,

“School Works” by Jerry Truong, Oct. 29 to Dec. 8, 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.

ONE BOOK ONE NORTHWESTERN 

“One November Morning – The Sand Creek Massacre” at the Dittmar Gallery is one of the many 2015-16 scheduled programs supporting the theme of this year’s One Book One Northwestern selection, Thomas King’s “The Inconvenient Indian.” King’s book, an engaging history, is a thorough account of Indian-White relations in North America.

One Book One Northwestern is a community-wide reading program hosted by the Office of the President. Launched in 2005, the One Book program engages the Northwestern campus in a common conversation centered on a carefully chosen, thought-provoking book involving students, faculty and staff from all majors and departments. For a complete list of this year’s One Book events, visit www.northwestern.edu/onebook.

UNIVERSITY LIBRARY

Making Faces: Cartoons and Cartoonists from Northwestern Library Collections,” through Dec. 30 in Northwestern University Library, 1970 Campus Drive, and 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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