Iranian artist and filmmaker Mania Akbari brings personal new work to Block Cinema

Block Museum hosts Chicago premiere of A Moon for My Father (2019) At age 30, acclaimed artist and filmmaker Mania Akbari was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy.  This experience became the core of the Iranian director’s personal new work A Moon for My Father (2019), an essay film made in collaboration with her partner, the British sculptor Douglas White. On...

“I invest in myself and I make my films”: Jessie Maple on breaking boundaries and filmmaking [Audio]

Director Jessie Maple is a true trailblazer: the first African-American woman to join the International Photographers of Motion Picture & Television union, she also established a long-running venue for independent Black filmmakers in her own home. New York Women in Film and Television called Maple’s work “a forerunner of the independent, minority filmmaking that would cultivate...

“Constantly in Translation”: Artists Vicko Alvarez Vega, Nicole Marroquin, and Diana Solís on identity, activism, and Pop [Video]

On October 30, 2019 the Block hosted an in-depth discussion with Chicago artists Vicko Alvarez Vega, Nicole Marroquin and Diana Solís. Convened and moderated by Sarita Hernández of the National Museum of Mexican Art the panel discussed how their practices are rooted in issues of identity and community, and how ideas and approaches from the exhibition Pop América remain relevant in our...

Yvonne Welbon on the “Hidden Figures” of Cinema History [Audio]

On October 16, 2019, to inaugurate a year of programming around the One Book One Northwestern 2019-2020 selection, Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women who Helped Launch Our Nation Into Space, Block Cinema welcomed Chicago-based filmmaker (and Northwestern Film Studies PhD) Yvonne Welbon to present her 2003 documentary Sisters in Cinema. In the film, Welbon...

“Dario is our Socrates”: Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and The Block team-up on a innovative Artist-At-Large Program [Video]

With science and engineering proceeding at a pace that far outruns known ethical standards, Artist-at-Large Dario Robleto returns to campus to continue conversations surrounding the intersection of the humanities and engineering. Launched three years ago, Northwestern Engineering’s unique Artist-at-Large program works in partnership with the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of...

Artist-at-Large Dario Robleto discusses ethics with experts across fields [Video]

Artist Dario Robleto returned to Evanston this spring to continue his ongoing collaboration as Northwestern's inaugural Artist-at-Large, hosted by the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and The Block Museum of Art. The Artist-at-Large Program brings contemporary artists to campus for in-depth exchanges with faculty and students; the Program joins other activities organized by...

Fred Wilson explores Afro Turk identities in “Afro Kismet” [Video]

Internationally acclaimed artist and MacArthur Fellow Fred Wilson addressed audiences at The Block on April 16, 2019. In his talk, Wilson shared insights into his work Afro Kismet— resonant with themes of migration and history explored in the exhibition Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa. Throughout his career, Wilson has challenged...

Ellen Lupton on design and innovation at the Goldsholl studio [Video]

This past October writer, curator, and graphic designer Ellen Lupton shared her perspective on design at the Goldsholl studio, the focus of the 2018 Block exhibition Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio.  In the 1950s and '60s, the Goldsholl design firm’s creative experiments with light and media found their ways to lucrative commercials and...

Artist Michael Rakowitz on counter-histories and drawing inspiration from fragments [Video]

Internationally acclaimed artist and Art, Theory, and Practice faculty member Michael Rakowitz explores culture as it is embodied in artifacts. In projects ranging from a recreation of the Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon to selling dates in an NYC storefront, he has used both food and material fragments to recreate and reimagine cultural and personal histories, particularly related to his...

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet brings stories of African-American creatives to life [Audio]

Tyehimba Jess's Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, Olio (2016), presents the sweat and story behind America’s blues, work songs, and church hymns. Part fact, part fiction, Jess’s much anticipated second book weaves sonnet, song, and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded African American performers. Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated,...