The Block Docent Diaries: Works that Stay with You

The Block Museum Student Docent Program is made up of students from across Northwestern University that serve as the museum’s tour guides and ambassadors. In Spring 2020, the program continues online as students connect, research, and plan in support of the Museum’s mission. We reached out to this team to learn more about their current inspiration at this time.

We asked: What is a work of art you have encountered at the Block that continues to resonate with you?

I am always thinking about Caravans of Gold, particularly the fragment of Qingbai porcelain. This small object showed how interconnected the world was, despite the common idea that the world didn’t globalize until much later. Especially right now when we are all craving connectivity, it makes me happy to think about all that the world has seen and shared and hopeful for what is to come.

Erin Claeys (Theater 2021)

Millie Goldsholl and Morton Goldsholl, Night Driving, 1957 from Up is Down! I was initially drawn to this piece because I played its background music in my high school jazz band. Then to hear the music and feel the projection across the gallery, I fell in love with sitting down in front of the screen to look at the lighting design and slowly zone out until the piece ends. (Listen to Dave Brubeck, Take Five)

-Janet Lee (Journalism and International Studies, 2020)

I am still thinking about the beautiful conversations happening between works in Experiments in Form: Sam Gilliam, Alan Shields, Frank Stella. I always respond to the exhibitions in the Katz Gallery, I love how such a small gallery space can lead to really intimate and dynamic experiences. During “Tales of Art at the Block” I danced with young people to music from the 60s and 70s, the music we imagined was playing in these artists’ studios, as we experimented with cut paper and tried to replicate how these artists were also pushing the boundaries of their respective media. I remember leaving that afternoon feeling exhilarated by the fact that such young people showed me new things about these artworks I had studied and I thought I knew so well, and that we made those discoveries through play.  

-Meghan Considine (Art History and Performance Studies 2020)

A work that deeply resonates with me within the Block’s collection is Carrie Mae Weems’ Ritual and RevolutionI was able to encounter this work and the overall brilliance of Carrie Mae Weems through conducting research for curator Janet Dees’ exhibit during the Block’s summer internship, which I did with fellow docent, friend, and colleague Nicholas Liou. The experience of researching the work was really memorable for me. Furthermore, I love the poeticism of the piece and the way Weems brings together language, sound, photography, architecture/installation, and physical movement. I find myself frequently thinking back to her powerful photographic practice.

Isabella Ko (Art History and French 2020)

The first time I visited the Block Museum was during the summer of 2015, when Julie Green’s The Last Supper was on display. Five years later, that exhibit continues to resonate with me, and I don’t think I will ever forget it. For me, The Last Supper was so powerful because it took a politically-fraught topic and looked at it through the lens of something anyone can understand and connect with—food. The exhibit made me think about the issues surrounding the death penalty, but also the individuals who ordered each of those final meals.

-Kristine Liao (Journalism and International Studies 2020)

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