The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Metzger as Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts. A curator, writer, and educator, Metzger is joining the Block from Stanford University, where he is completing his Ph.D. study in the Department of Art and Art History.
The Block’s Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, Kathleen Bickford Berzock, said, “Michael has a genuine love of film and time-based media in its many forms, and an openness to practices and perspectives that stretches from the local to the global. He’s eager to develop partnership across Northwestern’s campuses, with our Evanston and Chicagoland communities, or with peers nationally and internationally. These qualities make him a great fit for the Block Museum.”
Metzger joins the museum during the first year of The Block Museum As Frame of Mind 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. Media arts and cinema feature strongly in the plan, which includes goals for campus-wide partnership in cinema programming, expanded Block Cinema communications, and the broadening of curricular use of Block Cinema in global education.
“Metzger’s passion for media arts has given him a breadth of knowledge across a wide variety of styles and genres and understanding of filmmakers working globally. He is committed to working closely with departments and programs across Northwestern to ensure that media arts become even more integrated into the Block Museum’s teaching and learning mission. In getting to know Michael, I have been impressed by his expansive ideas and openness to partnership, a frame of mind that will serve the Museum and our audiences well.”
-Lisa Corrin, the Block Museum’s Ellen Philips Katz Director.
Metzger’s enthusiasm for shaping the Block’s film program into a collaborative resource for both campus and community is evidenced by the Spring 2018 screening schedule, his first at the museum. The season features co-presentations not only with Northwestern’s Radio, Television, Film Department but also with Northwestern University’s Gender & Sexuality Studies, Image Lab, French and Italian Department, Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Center on Wrongful Convictions, Social Justice News Nexus, Integrated Marketing Communications Program and Middle East and North African Studies Program. Upcoming at the Block Museum, Metzger will join with Northwestern professor Jim Hodge to co-curate the exhibition Paul Chan: Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization running July 17 through November 4, 2018
“The Art Department at Stanford is proud that one of its own, Michael Metzger, was chosen as the new Curator of Media Arts at the Block Museum. Michael is not only a scholar of film and experimental media but also a tireless promoter of the arts’ educational mission. His understanding of image-based forms of knowledge and communication, and his passion for cinematic pedagogy will undoubtedly be immense assets to the Museum.” says Pavle Levi, Associate Professor, Film and Media Studies, Stanford University.
In 2017 Metzger curated Environmental Exposure: Photography and Ecology after 1970, an exhibition of photographs from the collection of the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford. His dissertation Zoom Epistemologies: Technology, Education, and Representation in the 1970s, focuses on the role of the zoom lens in American postwar experimental cinema, documentary and visual culture. As an educator, Metzger has taught classes on narrative strategies in film, the history of images and information, and experimental media production, leading digital arts workshops with high school students in Los Angeles.
Beyond his academic and curatorial work, he has spent time in film production and interning at legendary independent film distributor Canyon Cinema, while maintaining a creative practice encompassing music, video, and collage that dates back to his undergraduate studies at Brown University with artists Tony Cokes and Leslie Thornton. His writing has appeared in print and online in several publications, including Millennium Film Journal and In These Times.
“Michael Metzger’s brilliance and kindness made him a standout as a Ph.D. student at Stanford. His dissertation is a model of careful, subtle, mind-expanding scholarship. Audiences will learn from everything that he does at the Block,” states Alexander Nemerov, Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities, Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University