Publications

william blake pub

William Blake and the Age of Aquarius

Named one of the "Best Art Books of 2017" by The New York Times art critic Holland Cotter, this book is a stunningly illustrated look at how Blake's radical vision influenced artists of the Beat generation and 1960s counterculture.  William Blake and the Age of Aquarius shows how Blake’s myths, visions, and radicalism found new life among American artists who valued individualism and creativity, explored expanded consciousness, and celebrated youth, peace, and the power of love in a turbulent age. Written by Stephen F. Eisenman, professor of art history at Northwestern University. Contributors include Mark Crosby, Elizabeth Ferrell, Jacob Henry Leveton, W.J.T. Mitchell, and John P. Murphy.

ISBN: 978-0-691-17525-6 (hardcover)

248 pages; 137 color illustrations

big boss pub

Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures

Published by the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University. Text by Anthony Elms, Brian Holmes, Dieter Roelstraete. Geof Oppenheimer (born 1973) employs a variety of media, including video and photography, to consider how value—economic, political and social—is produced. This first substantive catalogue on his work is published for his exhibition at the Block Museum of Art (Fall 2015).

ISBN: 978-0-692-55586-6 (hardcover)

moorman publication

A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s

Charlotte Moorman was a bold, barrier-breaking musician and performance artist and a tireless champion of experimental art, whose avant-garde festivals in New York City brought new art forms to a broad public. The exhibition featured original sculptures, photographs, video, props and costumes, annotated music scores, archival materials, film clips, and audio recordings. The exhibition was a partnership between the Block Museum and the Northwestern University Libraries. This catalog was published by Northwestern University Press and the Block Museum of Art and edited by Lisa Graziose Corrin and Corinne Granof.

ISBN: 978-0-8101-3327-3 (softcover)
200 pages; 150 color illustrations

Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and Its Legacies

From the 7th to 11th centuries, Kashmir—a lush valley connected to the Silk Road—was a wealthy center of transcultural trade, culture and religion. Beginning in the 10th century, Buddhists in the Western Himalayas traveled to Kashmir to acquire, preserve and emulate its sophisticated art. Kashmiri artists also accepted invitations to travel to the Western Himalayas during this period to work with and teach local artists. The distinctive workmanship of the Kashmiri style became integrated into the identity of Tibetan Buddhism in this period and experienced a revival in the Western Himalayas in the 15th and 16th centuries. Centuries later, beginning in the 1900s, artworks from Kashmir and the Western Himalayas became prized acquisitions for collections in the U.S. and Europe. Western explorers, scholars and travelers removed these works -- often surreptitiously -- from their places of origin. Today many of these works reside in public and private collections. Collecting Paradise features Buddhist objects, including manuscripts, paintings, and sculptures in ivory, metal and wood, dating from the 7th to 17th centuries. With 44 objects, the exhibition presents an original and innovative look at art from the region of Kashmir and the Western Himalayas, as well as how it has been collected over time. The catalogue features essays by a leading scholar in the field, Robert Linrothe, associate professor of art history in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, with the support of Christian Luczanits, the David L. Snellgrove Senior Lecturer in Tibetan and Buddhist Art at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Published by Serindia Publications.

ISBN: 978-1932476729 (hardcover)
236 pages

Drawing the Future pub

Drawing the Future: Chicago Architecture on the International Stage, 19001925

Drawing the Future: Chicago Architecture on the International Stage, 1900–1925 explores the creative ferment among Chicago architects in the early twentieth century. The essays focus on the highlights of the exhibition. David Van Zanten profiles Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, Chicago architects who created an influential, prize-winning plan for Australia's new capital in Canberra. Ashley Dunn looks at exhibits at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, including one devoted to the Griffins in 1914. Leslie Coburn examines Chicago’s Neighborhood Center Competition of 1914–15, which sought to redress gaps in Daniel Burnham’s plan of 1909. The ambition and reach of Chicago architecture in this epoch would have lasting influence on cities of the future. Published by Northwestern University Press and the Block Museum of Art.

ISBN: 978-0-8101-2898-9 (softcover)

113 pages; 74 illustrations

Design in the Age of Darwin: From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright

Charles Darwin's monumental On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, forever changed the landscape of natural science. The scientific world of the time had already established the principle of the "intelligent design" of a Creator; the art world had spent centuries devoting itself to the celebration of such a Designer's creation. But the language of the book, and its implications, were stunning, and the ripples Darwin made when he rocked the boat spread outward: if he could question the Designer, what effect might there be on the art world, and on mortal designers' renderings of Creation?

This catalog of essays and more than fifty color exhibition plates invokes these two senses of "intelligent design"—one from the debates between science and theology and the other from the world of art, particularly architecture and the decorative arts. The extensive exhibition included furniture, metalware, glassware, textiles, and designs on loan from public and private collections in the United States and England. Among the artwork included are items from William Morris, C. R. Ashbee, Christopher Dresser, C. F. A. Voysey, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Sullivan. Through these pieces and the accompanying examinations, the book explores how popular conceptions of the theory of evolution were used or rejected by British and American artists in the years that followed Darwin's publication.

ISBN: 0-8101-5204-5 (softcover)

140 pages

Imagining by Numbers pub

Imaging by Numbers: A Historical View of the Computer Print

Published in conjunction with the Block Museum exhibition Imaging by Numbers: A Historical View of the Computer Print curated by artist Paul Hertz and Block senior curator Debora Wood, this book showcases the intersection of the graphic arts and digital technology. Included are more than twenty-five reproductions of computer-generated prints and drawings from the 1950s to the present. The book also includes a foreward by David Robertson, the Block’s Ellen Philips Katz Director, and an introduction to the topic by Wood.

ISBN: 0-8101-2505-6 (softcover)
54 pages; 34 illustrations

Marion Mahony Griffin: Drawing the Form of Nature

This is the first book devoted to Marion Mahony Griffin's graphic work and presents a new critical interpretation of her art. She was the second woman to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in architecture and the first woman licensed to practice architecture in Illinois. After years of freelance drafting and design—most famously for Frank Lloyd Wright—she and her husband, architect Walter Burley Griffin, embarked on a career that catapulted them from Chicago to Australia in 1914 after winning the international competition to design Canberra, Australia.
Marion Mahony Griffin's graphic art is defined by her innovative representations of nature. Her presentation drawings clearly illustrate that architectural design and forms of the natural landscape are inseparable. Botanical forms are also woven into her children's book illustrations and murals and are the subject of the series of Forest Portraits she made in Australia.


The many illustrations in this book include vintage photographs and commercial illustrations that have previously never been published, new photographs of her public murals, full-page color plates of her architectural renderings and Forest Portraits, and an exclusive color facsimile of the Forest Portraits and captions as found in the New York Historical Society's copy of Marion Mahony Griffin's unpublished memoir "The Magic of America."

ISBN: 978-0810123571 (softcover)
146 pages

Casting a Shadow

Casting a Shadow: Creating the Alfred Hitchcock Film

This book expands the investigation into Hitchcock's working methods begun in the exhibition Casting a Shadow: Creating the Alfred Hitchcock Film. The catalogue features an introduction by Block Museum Ellen Philips Katz Director David Alan Robertson and chapters by exhibition curator Will Schmenner, film scholars Scott Curtis of Northwestern University, Tom Gunning of the University of Chicago, Jan Olsson of Stockholm University, and film critic Bill Krohn. Edited by Schmenner and Block Museum associate curator Corinne Granof.

ISBN: 0-8101-2447-5 (softcover)
156 pages; 99 illustrations

The Last Expression: Art and Auschwitz

If cliché leads us to believe that art is made out of suffering, there are few circumstances in which the language of art could be more direct, more profound, or more moving than art made in the European concentration camps of World War II.

While Auschwitz itself has come to represent the evil that is often considered a paradigm and example of modern barbarity, art and culture played significant roles there. In the extreme and physically threatening circumstances that would seem to thwart creativity, art functioned as a survival strategy, catharsis, documentation, and, at times, a means of psychological escape.
Auschwitz functions as a symbolic and historical focus for this exhibition and catalog. It serves as a thematic focal point and a common thread that touched so many victims of various nationalities and disparate backgrounds. While the exhibition presents art that was created at Auschwitz, as well as art produced at other sites, including Theresienstadt, Buchenwald, Gurs, and the Lódz Ghetto, all of the artists in The Last Expression: Art and Auschwitz were ultimately victims at Auschwitz.

The catalog includes reproductions of some 300 artworks; each tells a piece of an incredible history. Each remnant of these personal journeys and individual travails contributes to our understanding of the victims of the Holocaust, their experiences, the nature and function of the camps, the strategies of the perpetrators, as well as the will and need to create art.

ISBN: 978-0810115484 (softcover)

320 pages

Prints by Sculptors pub

Prints by Sculptors

Winner of the 2002 American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition

Many of the most significant sculptors of the twentieth century were also printmakers, as exemplified by the exhibition and catalogue Prints by Sculptors: The Rudolph H. and Fannia Weingartner Collection at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art (September 22-December 9, 2001). Richly illustrated and featuring examples by leading twentieth-century artists, including Barlach, Christo, Giacometti, Hepworth, Maillol, Moore, Nadelman, Pepper, Serra, and Shapiro, Prints by Sculptors provides a unique opportunity for understanding the relationship between two- and three-dimensional art. With essays by Rudolph H. Weingartner, collector and former Dean of Northwestern University's College of Arts and Sciences, and Starr Figura, Assistant Curator, Prints and Illustrated Books, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

ISBN: 0-941680-22-3 (softcover)

105 pages: 60 color plates

publication

College Proofs: The Riverhouse Editions Collection at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art

Honorable Mention in the 2002 American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition

Riverhouse Editions, a unique printmaking studio that has published the works of leading contemporary artists since 1988, was founded by art dealers and publishers William and Jan van Straaten in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In 1992, they decided that one intaglio print of each Riverhouse edition would be set aside as a "college proof," so called because these works were to be given to a college or university for educational purposes. The Block Museum of Art has become the permanent home for the college proof archives. Selections from this rich body of work comprise the majority of this catalogue, which highlights the history of the studio, the importance of Riverhouse's setting, and the diverse possibilities of the intaglio technique.

ISBN: 0-941680-23-1 (softcover)
109 pages: 212 color plates

on european ground pub

On European Ground

Published by the University of Chicago Press and the Block Museum in conjunction with the exhibition On European Ground: The Photographs of Alan Cohen, this volume of photographs features over ninety high-quality reproductions drawn from Cohen's series on World War I battlefields, Nazi death camps, and the Berlin Wall. The book contains interpretive essays by Sander Gilman, noted cultural critic and Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and Jonathan Bordo, Professor of Cultural Studies at Trent University, Ontario, Canada. Cohen's own insights into the development of his oeuvre and the significance of his photographs are included in the form of an artist interview conducted by Roberta Smith, contemporary art critic for The New York Times.

ISBN: 0-226-11294-2 (hardcover)
128 pages: 94 b/w plates

illuminated manuscripts pub

Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age

This book examines attitudes toward and treatments of medieval manuscript illumination in France and England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and in early twentieth-century America. Each chapter takes as its title a word used in a particular period to define manuscript illumination: Curiosities, Specimens, Reproductions, Revivals, and Reconstructions. Trends and developments examined include the Enlightenment assessment of medieval miniatures as barbaric playthings, the nineteenth-century growth of a market for medieval art, the impact of reproductive technology on taste for illumination and the early twentieth-century importation of medieval manuscripts to the United States as a means through which to appropriate the history and culture of a European past. By Sandra Hindman, Michael Camille, Nina Rowe, and Rowan Watson.

ISBN: 0-941680-21-5 (softcover)
329 pages: 38 color plates, 159 b/w illustrations

Leffman pub

Theo Leffmann

Theo Leffmann was an important contemporary American fiber artist. This catalogue accompanies a retrospective exhibition presenting and critically examining her life's work. With insightful essays by Mary Jane Jacob and Mildred Constantine, this beautifully illustrated book addresses Leffmann's training, influences, and accomplishments. It also elucidates her role in bringing abstraction and avant-garde practices to fiber art and, at the same time, advancing this medium as a relevant category of avant-garde artistic production.

ISBN: 0-941680-19-3 (hardcover)
87 pages: 39 color, 21 b/w plates

Chinese Ceramics pub

Chinese Ceramics from Chicago Collections

This volume developed from a desire to explore porcelain and pottery collections of public and private Chicago collectors. The works contained in this volume have not been previously published or exhibited. Included are works from the Neolithic period to the early twentieth century.

ISBN 0-941680-01-0 (Softcover)
ISBN 0-941680-01-0 (Hardcover)
104 pages: 5 color, 82 b/w plates

Second Sight pub

Second Sight: Printmaking in Chicago, 1935–1995

This volume highlights the past sixty years of printmaking in Chicago, a period of substantial development in the visual arts. It includes works from the WPA to the Chicago Imagists to computer-generated art. Featured artists include Karl Wirsum, Tony Fitzpatrick, Bill Cass, and Vera Klement.

ISBN 0-941680-17-7 (Softcover)
224 pages: 110 color, 89 b/w plates

henry simon pub

Henry Simon, 1901–1995

This catalogue examines the life work of Henry Simon, a Chicago artist whose works reflect important cultural, social, and political developments of the twentieth century. Simon began his career designing posters and sets for Chicago movie houses and went on to work as a political cartoonist during the Depression and as a painter for the Illinois Art Project of the Works Progress Administration. The catalogue includes examples of social realist, folkloric, historical American Scene, and Surrealist works executed from the 1920s through 1980.

ISBN 0-941680-18-5 (Softcover)
76 pages: 16 color, 60 b/w plates

architect pine

Architects Drawings from the Collection of Barbara Pine

Architectural drawings are a window into the creative process and into an understanding of the design and building world. This volume presents conceptual drawings to illustrate how an architect translates an intangible idea into a solid reality. This collection, curated by Pine, focuses on working, presentation, and theoretical drawings by architects of different schools.

ISBN 0-941680-05-3 (Softcover)
48 pages: 7 color, 24 b/w plates

graven pub

Graven Images: The Rise of Printmakers

This volume explores prints and print production in workshops in Antwerp and Haarlem of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Within this period, radical changes took place in the methods of producing prints. This publication looks at the relatively unknown engravers and etchers who executed the designs of famous artists such as Pieter Bruegel, Hieronymus Bosch, and Peter Paul Rubens.

(Softcover)
175 pages: 114 b/w plates

master drawings pub

Master Drawings Rediscovered

This exhibition catalogue by James E. Mundy illustrates and analyzes Old Master drawings from the Block collection and the collection of Esther and Malcolm Bick. Focusing on Italian drawings from a range of artistic centers during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the catalogue is a testimony to artistic variety and regional style.

(Softcover)
93 pages: 45 b/w plates

stark impressions pub

Stark Impressions: Graphic Production in Germany, 1918–1933

This presentation of 143 works organized into six distinct themes provides an extensive view of the diversity, complexity, and cultural surroundings in which these artist thrived. It examines themes of war, religion, urban lifestyle, rural landscapes, struggle for existence, love and sexuality, and fantasy and abstraction.

ISBN 0-941680-12-6 (Softcover)
358 pages: 9 color, 144 b/w plates