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Block Museum of Art announces Oppenheimer publication

Book release offers significant new scholarship on career of Chicago artist

  • ‘Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures’ documents Oppenheimer’s 2015 Block Museum exhibition
  • Book available for purchase online, by phone or at Block Museum
  • Publication marks Block’s commitment to artist commissions and advancing arts scholarship

EVANSTON - The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University has released “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures,” the first substantive publication on the work of Chicago-based artist Geof Oppenheimer.

Published in conjunction with his 2015 Block Museum exhibition by the same name, “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” documents the artist’s original commissions for the Block Museum and considers Oppenheimer’s practice, which asks questions of how economic, political and social value is produced in contemporary life.

The publication’s writings range from analytic and art historical to the poetic, contextualizing the newly commissioned works and Oppenheimer’s overall artistic practice. Essayists include Lisa Corrin, the Block Museum’s Ellen Philips Katz Director; Anthony Elms, chief curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; Dieter Roelstraete, curator and member of the curatorial team for “Documenta 14”; and cultural critic Brian Holmes. The publication was edited by Samantha Topol, Block curatorial associate, and designed by David Giordano and the artist.

The exhibition and publication of “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” inaugurated the Block Museum of Art’s new artist commissioning initiative.

“We are committed to offering artists opportunities to experiment, to intervene in the museum’s spaces and to mine the resources of a major research university as inspiration for their work,” Corrin noted. “We believe the artist’s voice should be central to the life of a university and that the Block has an important role to play in ensuring that students and members of the community have contact with the creative process as an essential part of their Block experience.”

In addition to its new commitment to artist commissions, the Block Museum will continue to undertake publications and catalogs, positioning an artist’s work within both the larger field of arts scholarship and the context of contemporary peers.

“Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” features more than 60 full-color images of Oppenheimer’s works. The 124-page publication is distributed by Distributed Art Publishers and is available for purchase online at The publication also can be purchased at the Block Museum in person or by calling 847-491-4002.

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