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Block Museum announces summer 2018 programming lineup

Evanston’s free art museum open throughout the summer with exhibitions, screenings, talks and tours

Children looking at statue
Campers with Evanston’s Mudlark Theater Company explore the Block Museum Campus Art Walk

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University has announced a full summer season of exhibitions and programming.  Located just steps from Evanston’s popular lakefront path, the Block Museum will remain open to the public throughout the summer with groundbreaking exhibitions and free events for art lovers, families and lifelong learners.

Summer offerings include two exhibitions of nationally recognized contemporary artists and related gallery talks, a summer learning series that delves into the mysteries of Picasso’s materials, timely cinema programming, lunchtime art walks and an all-ages story time program.

The museum’s main gallery exhibition, “Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded,” will run through Aug. 5. Recently recognized as an Artforum “Critic’s Pick,” the exhibition brings together selections from two bodies of work by renowned American artist Hank Willis Thomas (b.1976): “Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America 1968-2008” and “Unbranded: A Century of White Women 1915-2015.” Thomas removes slogans and product names from historical and contemporary advertisements, asking us to confront the impact of images on the popular imagination.

A new exhibition, “Paul Chan: Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization,” will open July 17 and continue through Nov. 4 in the downstairs Alsdorf Gallery. Paul Chan (b. Hong Kong, 1973) is an American artist, writer and publisher. His first major video work, “Happiness (finally)…,”was created from 1999 to 2003 and takes inspiration from the surrealistic drawings of American artist Henry Darger to examine concepts of utopianism, war and political philosophy.

The Block Museum is located at 40 Arts Circle Drive on the Evanston campus. Admission is always free and open to all.

Summer event schedule:

‘Tales of Art at the Block’

  • Tuesday, July 10, 3 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 3, 11 a.m.

Museums are full of stories. Join Block Museum staff for story time and family-friendly activities to help children look closer and think deeper about art at the Block. The program is recommended for children 3 to 8 years old, but all are welcome. Space is limited and online registration is required. 

‘The Art and Science of Picasso’s Blues’

  • Wednesday, July 11, 6 p.m.

Earlier this year, Northwestern scientists, in partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago, made a major discovery. An interdisciplinary team used tools originally developed for medicine, manufacturing and geology to discover hidden details in Picasso’s paintings and sculptures. This fascinating story offers new perspective on the art and science of Picasso’s work. Allison Langley, head of paintings conservation at the Art Institute of Chicago, will discuss how the findings shape our historical understanding of Picasso’s life and working methods, while Emeline Pouyet, postdoctoral fellow in materials science at Northwestern, will address how she and others applied tools used by NASA to explore the rare materials and underdrawings within Picasso’s work. Online registration is requested. 

Gallery Talk with Michael Metzger, co-curator of the Paul Chan exhibition

  • Wednesday, July 18, 12 p.m.

Paul Chan (b. Hong Kong, 1973) is an American artist, activist, writer and publisher. His work reflects a strong commitment to the relations of politics and aesthetics, philosophy and popular culture and art and grassroots activism. His first major artwork, “Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization,” presents a 15-minute looped digital Flash animation, inspired as much by the history of utopian thought and the U.S. invasion of Iraq as by Web 1.0 banner ads. Exhibition co-curator Michael Metzger, the Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts, will lead a lunchtime tour and discussion of the exhibition. Online registration is requested.

Films and Videos by David Wojnarowicz and Collaborators

  • Sunday, July 22, 5 p.m.

David Wojnarowicz is arguably one of the most important artists to emerge from the New York art world of the 1980s. While his work spanned less than 20 years (his life was cut short at the age of 37 due to AIDS) from 1979 to 1992, he created a large body of work in collage, painting, performance, sculpture, writing and video. A series of short videos investigate Wojnarowicz’s aesthetics, iconography and his individualized, critical response to the political conditions of his time. Program details are available on the Block Museum website.

The screening is presented in partnership with Iceberg Projects and in conjunction with the Iceberg Projects exhibition “David Wojnarowicz: Flesh of My Flesh” (June 23 to Aug. 4).

Campus Art Walk

  • Wednesday, July 25, 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 8, 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 15, 12 p.m.

Sixteen extraordinary outdoor sculptures constitute a permanent public display maintained by the Block Museum of Art, which was named among the “Treasures of Chicago” by the Chicago Tribune in 2017. Situated in proximity to the museum, access to the artworks is free and open to all. Please join student docents and interns for lunchtime tours that kick off in the Block Museum lobby. Audio guides, maps and more information also are available on the Block Museum website.

Gallery Talk with Janet Dees, curator of ‘Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded’

  • Wednesday, Aug. 1, 12 p.m.

How do images in advertising campaigns perpetuate ideas about race, gender and class? The exhibition “Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded” brings together selections from two recent bodies of work by renowned American artist Hank Willis Thomas (b. 1976). Thomas removes slogans and product names from historical and contemporary advertisements, asking viewers to confront the impact of images on the popular imagination. Exhibition curator Janet Dees, the Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, leads a lunchtime tour and discussion of the exhibition. Online registration is requested.

Full Spectrum Features presents ‘Chicagoland Shorts’ vol. 4

  • Thursday, Aug. 16, 7 p.m.

Inspired by Chicago’s diversity and artistic excellence, Full Spectrum Features has curated some of the best recent film work of women, people of color and the LGBTQ+ community into “Chicagoland Shorts.” This traveling anthology and tribute to our city has screened across Cook County and nationally from Seattle to New York. The artists in this collection are diverse, prolific, genre-bending and quintessentially Chicago, with work spanning many disciplines including dance, documentary, experimental and science fiction. Program details are available on the Block Museum website.

Block Museum hours are Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays.  For the complete schedule and more information, visit the Block Museum website.

The Block Museum of Art is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts. Search for events across all artistic disciplines at Northwestern Arts Circle.

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