Announcing Spring 2017 Program Lineup

We are thrilled to continue our year with a series of events that highlight urgent art and conversations resonating with contemporary life.  Mark your calendar now for Block spring 2017 programs including conversations, lectures, screenings, and gatherings.



Adrián Villar Rojas

Monday, April 3, 6PM

“The Argentinean artist Adrián Villar Rojas offers his audience a mash-up of the adolescent iconographies that have fascinated him since he was a teenager: that of sci-fi, with its robots and spaceships; that of the post-apocalyptic, derived from graphic novels and video games; and that of the prehistoric, with its dinosaurs and primitive tools.” –Arforum

This program is organized by the Department of Art Theory and Practice

fe776006-ee43-4f6b-951b-b771fd950b77VISUAL VANGUARD SERIES: GLOBAL LEADERS AT THE BLOCK

Bisi Silva, Director Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos

Wednesday, April 5, 6PM

The Visual Vanguard series presents conversations with a new generation of innovative arts leaders working internationally and transforming how we experience art today. Bisi Silva will discuss her work as artistic director for the 10th Bamako Photography Biennial and as the founder and director of CCA, Lagos, and its Asiko Arts School. Silva’s presentation will be followed by a conversation with Block Museum curator, Kathleen Bickford Berzock.

Presented in partnership with the Northwestern Libraries and the Department of Art History with the support of the Program of African Studies, Buffett Institute for Global Studies and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.


The Cinema of Chantal Akerman: Time, Borders Politics

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
Thursday, April 6, 7PM

No Home Movie (2015) and Saute ma ville (1968)
Thursday, April 13, 7PM

D’Est (From the East) (1993)
Thursday April 20, 7PM

De l’autre côte (From the Other Side) (2002)
Thursday April 27, 7PM

Presented in partnership with Northwestern Image Lab and the Department of French and Italian


Los Muertos 
(Lisandro Alonso, 2004, Argentina, 78 min.)
with director in person
Friday, April 7, 7PM

Acclaimed filmmaker Lisandro Alonso’s first feature is a key film of the New Argentine Cinema, a loose movement of filmmakers that directly and obliquely deal with Argentina’s troubled history and its place in the modern world. Los Muertos is a haunting, quiet film about the physical and psychic journey of a man recently released from prison.

Sponsored by Northwestern University Department of Radio/Television/Film, The Alumnae of Northwestern University, Northwestern University – Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Northwestern University MFA in Documentary Media



RE… AFRICA: Knowledges, Archives, and Approaches – Keynote: Cajetan Iheka

Friday, April 14, 4PM

What does Africa signify in the current moment, and how does it resonate with and trouble notions of African-ness? Join AfriSem for a a dynamic conversation on contemporary modes of thinking on “Africa” and “Africanity.” Keynote speaker Cajetan Iheka (University of Alabama) is author of Naturalizing Africa: Ecological Violence, Agency, and Postcolonial Resistance in African Literature.

More on the conference

219af0cb-c668-46b1-8b1e-b0ab9fef4877INSTALLATION UNVEILING

Marie Watt: Sewing Community

Thursday, April 20, 6PM

This winter, community members from Northwestern, Evanston, and beyond joined together with artist Marie Watt to lend their hands to sewing circles, embroidering words of equity, maternity, and empowerment. These stitches and conversations have become part of a new work for the exhibition “If You Remember, I’ll Remember.” Drop in for the unveiling of this project and to speak with Watt about her community-based and participatory practice.


Open Engagement Open House

Friday, April 21, 10AM – 2PM

The Block Museum throws open its doors to artists, scholars, practitioners, and advocates of socially engaged art from around the world visiting for the free Open Engagement national conference. Join us as curator Janet Dees introduces “If You Remember, I’ll Remember,” artist Samantha Hill shares her work on the American South, curator Susy Bielak describes the partnerships involved in community-based practice, and professor Rebecca Zorach goes behind-the-scenes with the exhibition “We Are Revolutionaries” Free lunch with RSVP.

The program is presented in conjunction with the conference Open Engagement 2017 – JUSTICE.

16700605_10155070135158493_8746887192365811054_o (1)THE DEBT DIALOGUES

Reparations in the Native American and Japanese American Context

Wednesday, April 26, 6PM

What does it mean to be indebted—politically, economically, artistically, or ethically? Artist Kristine Aono, whose work is featured in the exhibition “If You Remember, I’ll Remember,” will be joined by Smith University’s Laura Fugikawa (Women and Gender Studies) as well as Northwestern’s Kelly Wisecup (English) and Ji-Yeon Yuh (History) to discuss the theory and complexity of reparations in American history.

Co-presented by the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and made possible in part by the support of the Harris Lecture Fund.

30cedd23-ba00-4a50-a137-49290b420226CROWE SYMPOSIUM

Art, Publics, Politics: Legacies of the Wall of Respect

Friday, April 28 10AM

Saturday, April 29 9:30AM

Chicago’s 1967 Wall of Respect helped set off a multiracial, national and international community mural movement. But it’s not only murals that have affinities with this assertive, pro-Black, grass-roots, collaborative project, which intervened and made its messages visible without authorization in public space. This symposium explores how contemporary art and activist projects both engage with and diverge from this legacy.

Presented in partnership with the Department of Art History

e18351ce-b424-4a13-9b2f-23ce43d3aeb9OPENING & RECEPTION

Everything is Fine: Department of Art Theory and Practice MFA Thesis Exhibition

Thursday, May 4, 6-9PM

Join us to celebrate the opening of Northwestern University’s Art Theory and Practice MFA Thesis Exhibition. This exhibition marks the culmination of the course of study leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Candidates engage in intensive research during their tenure in the Department of Art Theory and Practice as they develop their individual art-making practices in a climate of rigorous critical thinking. The MFA Thesis Exhibition is the place in which they turn their research, as manifest in the works of art they have made, over to the public.

This event is co-organized by the Department of Art Theory and Practice.

15eb439c-2b96-4154-8a26-eb4ee2484e22 (1)HOFFMAN VISITING ARTIST FOR DOCUMENTARY MEDIA

(Kirsten Johnson, 2016, USA 102 min.)
with director in person

Friday, May 5, 6:30PM

AA boxing match in Brooklyn; life in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina; the daily routine of a Nigerian midwife; an intimate family moment at home: these scenes and others are woven into Cameraperson, a tapestry of footage captured over the twenty-five-year career of documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. The film will be followed by a talkback with the director moderated by associate professor Debra Tolchinsky.

Kristen Johnson is the School of Communication’s 2017 Hoffman Visiting Artist for Documentary Media, a short-term filmmaker residency funded by a generous gift from Jane Steiner Hoffman and Michael Hoffman.

21d110af-8dfb-498c-bd51-b0a0f47e089cART + ENGINEERING

Dario Robleto – The Pulse Armed with a Pen: An Unknown History of the Human Heartbeat

Wednesday, May 10, 7PM

Segal Visitors Center (1841 Sheridan Road)

Transdisciplinary artist and “citizen-scientist” Dario Robleto is featured in the exhibition “If You Remember, I’ll Remember” and serves as Artist in Residence in Neuroaesthetics at the University of Houston. In a performative lecture that is part storytelling, part original research, and part rare-sound archive, Robleto will expand on his research into the human heartbeat.

Presented in partnership with the McCormick School of Engineering

d7d46431-2de1-4866-a2c0-8d1372f7d94fBLOCK CINEMA
The Loving Story
(Nancy Buirski, 2011)
Thursday May 11, 6PM

Janet Dees, curator of If You Remember, I’ll Remember, selected Nancy Buirski’s film The Loving Story to screen in conjunction with the exhibition. The exhibition features McCallum & Tarry’s “Exchange” (2007) which references this film’s subjects, Richard and Mildred Loving. This documentary, through interviews and historical documentation, illuminates the story of The Lovings who were taken into custody and imprisoned in 1958 for illegally co-habitating as a mixed race couple- their miscegenation represented a violation of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act. The documentary served as inspiration for the Hollywood adaptation, 2016’s Loving.

4e443d2b-bbb2-477f-a6ec-bb8e7dc67151ART + ENGINEERING

Pedro Reyes

Wednesday, May 17, 6PM

Pedro Reyes’s works integrate elements of theater, psychology and activism and take on a variety of forms, from penetrable sculptures to puppet productions. Reyes will discuss his work as MIT’s inaugural Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist, including the project Disarm (2012), where 6,700 destroyed weapons were transformed into musical instruments.

Presented in partnership with the McCormick School of Engineering


Ordinary Media: Always-On Formats, Genres, Aesthetics

Thursday, May 18

Ordinary Media is a research workshop that investigates the ways in which digital technologies come to suffuse and saturate everyday experience. Join a day of new media screenings and talks, culminating in a keynote from Shaka Mcglotten (SUNY Purchase), author of Virtual Intimacies: Media, Affect, and Queer Sociality.

More on the symposium


Alessandra Russo

Wednesday, May 24, 5PM

Alessandra Russo (Columbia University) is a leading scholar of Latin American colonial art, visual culture, and literary studies. She is author of the books The Untranslatable Image (2014) and El realismo circular (2005), and co-editor of Images Take Flight (2015; best book award in “theory of art” and Grand Prix du Jury at FILAF, 2016), an exhibition catalog on Mexican indigenous feather painting.

This program is organized by the Department of Art History

4ff784e4-5e70-42bd-98ad-0a929db13905 (1)BLOCK CINEMA
MFA Documentary Media Showcase 
Wednesday, June 7, 7PM
Thursday June 8, 7PM
Friday June 9, 7PM

Northwestern University’s MFA in Documentary Media program is proud to present the thesis films of its second graduating class. Please join us to watch a great selection of new short documentaries, engage in dialogue with the filmmakers, and celebrate their accomplishments. This free three-night event will give audience members a chance to discover the next generation of filmmakers who tackle topics ranging from taxidermy to homelessness to autism. Diverse in subject matter and style, the eleven thesis films were directed by: Ashley Brandon, Luther Clement, Hasan Demirtas, Mina Fitzpatrick, Tim Fryett, Iyabo Kwayana, Philippine Merolle, Julio Molica, Sebastian Pinzon, Nevo Shinaar, and Weichao Xu. Each program will include different films.

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