Walls Turned Sideways: Artists Confront the Justice System [Audio]

In October 2018, the Block Museum hosted a panel discussion with Chicago artists committed to prison reform and to using art as a mechanism for change. In recognition of the 2020-2021 One Book One Northwestern reading selection Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption we are happy to make audio and transcript of this […]

“At the center, a kind of care”: PJ Raval on intersectional storytelling

In November 2018 the Block Museum of Art welcomed documentarian PJ Raval for a conversation on his award-winning feature documentary Call Her Ganda.  The film following the 2014 murder of Jennifer Laude, a transgender Filipina woman killed by an American Marine, and the struggle for justice waged by her family, friends, lawyers, and investigative journalist […]

“They said you can’t make a film like this”: Lizzie Borden on revolution, race, and radical action in”Born in Flames” [Audio]

Set in an alternate-reality socialist democratic United States, Lizzie Borden’s speculative fiction Born in Flames (1983) finds the country still plagued by social injustice. This feminist classic is a low-budget, grassroots production, documentary-like in its reflection of a long-gone grungy yet vibrant downtown New York City. Made at the height of the Reagan years, it […]

“The Picture Is the Window”: Lynn Gumpert and Lisa Corrin on Abby Grey and intrepid art collecting [Audio]

Consisting of more than 700 artworks, the Abby Weed Grey Collection of Modern Asian and Middle Eastern Art at New York University comprises the largest institutional holdings of Iranian, Turkish and Indian modern art in any American university museum.  This unparalleled historical resource was amassed by Abby Weed Grey (1902-1983), a self-described “dyed-in-the-wool Midwesterner” from St. Paul, […]

“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 directors […]

“Histories that we’ve missed”: Jesse Lerner on Ism, Ism, Ism [Audio]

Throughout its Fall 2019 season Block Cinema screened selected programs from Ism, Ism, Ism, a groundbreaking touring film series that offers the first comprehensive survey of Latin America’s vibrant experimental film history. Organized by filmmakers and curators Jesse Lerner and Luciano Piazza as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time II: LA/LA initiative, these programs featured […]

“Something unexpected underneath the surface”: Sound Designer Gary Rydstrom on “The Elephant Man” [Audio]

On October 10, 2019 Block Cinema joined with Northwestern’s MA in Sound Arts and Industries to welcome Academy-Award-Winning Sound Designer Gary Rydstrom for a discussion of David ‘s Lynch’s 1980 classic The Elephant Man. Although noted for its evocative black and white cinematography and for John Hurt’s sensitive and powerful performance as Merrick, the film’s […]