Block Museum announces the publication of “Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures” by artist Geof Oppenheimer

The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University celebrates the release of Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures, the first substantive publication on the work of the artist Geof Oppenheimer. Published in conjunction with his 2015 exhibition of the same name, the catalog documents the artist’s original commissions for the Block Museum and considers the artist’s practice, which asks questions of how economic, political and social value is produced in contemporary life. The exhibition marked Oppenheimer’s first solo museum exhibition in the city where he lives and works.

Ranging from analytic and art historical to the poetic, the publication’s writings by the Block Museum Ellen Phillips Katz Director, Lisa Corrin, along with Anthony Elms, Chief Curator at the ICA Philadelphia, Dieter Roelstraete, curator and member of the curatorial team for Documenta 14, and cultural critic Brian Holmes contextualize both the newly commissioned works and Oppenheimer’s overall body of work to date. The publication was edited by Samantha Topol, Block Curatorial Associate and designed by David Giordano and the artist.

The exhibition Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures inaugurated the Block Museum of Art’s new artist commissioning initiative. “We are committed to offering opportunities for artists to experiment, to intervene in the museum’s spaces and to mine the resources of a major research university as inspiration for their work,” notes Lisa Corrin. “We believe that 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 broader community we serve have contact with the creative process as an essential part of their Block experience.” Alongside its new commitment to artist commissions, the Block Museum will also undertake publications and catalogs, positioning an artist’s work within the larger field of arts scholarship and with the context of their contemporary peers.

The 124-page publication includes more than 60 full color images documenting Oppenheimer’s work to date. Distributed by D.A.P [ISBN 9780692555866], the book is available for purchase online at or from the Block Museum in person or by phone at 847.491.4002.

Cover of exhibition catalog, Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures (2016), Northwestern University Block Museum of Art



The Block is grateful for the vision of supporters of its artist commission initiative who funded Geof Oppenheimer’s project and the publication: the Diane and Craig Solomon Contemporary Art Fund, the Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Top Image:  Interior page view of exhibition catalog, Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures (2016), Northwestern University Block Museum of Art


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