2014 News Coverage

Chicago Tribune: Seductive hells (November 26, 2014)

Wangechi Mutu is squatting on the forest floor, gorging on a three-tiered chocolate cake with bare, bejeweled hands. Chunks of dough lodge in long, curly acrylic nails, dark frosting smears across a flowing white dress and Plexiglas platform heels dig firmly into the soft earth. The Kenyan-born artist's audacious video "Eat Cake" appears as a floor projection in "Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey," a traveling survey of her work that originated at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, North Carolina, and is on view for one more week at the Block Museum of Art in Evanston.

Newcity: Review: Wangechi Mutu/Block Museum of Art (October 20, 2014)

Images are ideological constructions that serve the social function of representing political and global interactions. For Wangechi Mutu’s collages in her survey “A Fantastic Journey” the artist sources imagery from National Geographic, pornographic and fashion magazines to undercut disparaging assumptions about the black female body.

WTTW: 'Fantastic' Voyage: Globe-Trotting Artist Creates Otherwordly Creatures (September 30, 2014)

There is still a chance to catch the wondrous creations of an emerging artist with a growing international reputation. Wangechi Mutu was born in Nairboi, Kenya in 1972 and educated at a convent school. She then studied art and anthropology in Wales and moved to New York nearly 20 years ago. Her works are intricate and beautiful, grotesque and magnetic.

The New York Times: Fall Arts Preview – Art (September 4, 2014)

The Left Front: Radical Art in the “Red” Decade, 1929-1940. 1929-1940 Drawing on materials in N.Y.U.’s Tamiment Library, this exhibition organized by the Mary and Leigh Block Museum at Northwestern University explores the work of socially minded American artists and intellectuals in the aftermath of the Clutch Plague. Grey Art Gallery, New York University

Chicago Reader: Best of Arts & Culture: Best Act of Resurfacing (June 26, 2014)

Director Lisa Corrin assured the public that the Block would "sparkle" when it resurfaced, and in January the museum did just that, reopening with not only the Steichen/Warhol exhibit but a redesigned, more inviting lobby space (previously planned) and a second major show, "The Left Front: Radical Art in the 'Red Decade,' 1929-1940,".

Gapers Block: Hairy Who & the Chicago Imagists: A Film About the Chicago Art Movement That Offended Almost Everyone (June 18, 2014)

Do you remember your first look at the so-called Chicago Imagists in art galleries in the '60s and '70s? Whether you were on your own or in a stroller pushed by your parents, you surely found the art of the "Hairy Who" to be eye-popping, colorful, vulgar and fun.

Sun-Times: Arts Calendar-- June 9-14, 2014 (June 6, 2014)

Block Cinema documentary "Hairy Who & the Chicago Imagists" featured in Sun-Times weekly arts calendar. 

WSCR-AM 670 The Score interview Dave Filipi about "Rare Baseball Films: The Newsreels" at the Block (May 25, 2014)

News anchor Adam Harris of CBS Radio talks with Dave Filipi about the Rare Baseball Film series. Now in it's 10th year, The Newsreels are a crowd favorite among Cubs and Sox fans alike.

Truthout.org: Revolutionary Art is an Act of Uncompromising Passionate Resistance (May 18, 2014)

"The 'Left Front' is meant to initiate a dialogue about the nature of radical art through the exploration of a crucial historical period in the United States when capitalism was potentially on the ropes." 

WBEZ 91.5: Social and political renovation through art (May 15, 2014)

Block Museum's Director of Engagement Susy Bielak discusses An Artists' Congress on WBEZ's Afternoon Shift

Newcity: 5 Shows to See Now (May 15, 2014)

An Artists' Congress named #1 show to see now.

Chicago Reader: The Where and Why of the Hairy Who (May 14, 2014)

Block Cinema to screen a new documentary on the Chicago Imagists.

Audiofemme.com: Live Review: Sonic Celluloid's static & shimmer on Chicago's North Shore (May 13, 2014)

Well-attended by students and community members alike, Sonic Celluloid is now celebrating its twelfth year as one of the most exciting experimental music and film events put on by WNUR 89.3 FM’s Rock Show and the Block Museum Cinema. 

Chicago Tribune: Black Sox footage emerges, documented after decades (May 8, 2014)

Block Cinema to screen one of the most significan sports film discoveries in recent years. 

Examiner.com: Northwestern's Block Museum hosts Artists' Congress on Revolutionary Art (May 1, 2014)

"What is revolutionary art today?" That is the question of those who attend the Artists' Congress, an interdisciplinary public forum bringing together artists, scholars, and activists to address issues of art and social change. 

Chicago Tribune: Block Cinema Revisits the Clutch Plague (April 17, 2014)

Beginning next week and continuing through June 12, Northwestern University's Block Cinema is presenting a retrospective titled "Heroes and Hoovervilles: Films of the Depression." 

WBEZ 91.5: Northwestern Hosting retrospective on Moroccan filmmaker Moumen Smihi (April 11, 2014)

WBEZ interviews filmmaker Smihi, whose films are featured in the Block Cinema this April. 

Everything Evanston: Jewel by the Lake: The Mary and Leigh Block Museum (April 8, 2014) 

Last week I took advantage of two wonderful programs at Northwestern University’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum. Both were free, fascinating and one-time only events.

Make It Better: April Highlights (April 2014)

The Block Museum's "The Left Front" is highlighted as a must-see in the Chicagoland area. 

Chicago Tribune: Critics' Saturday picks (March 29, 2014) 

The Tribune's Claudine Ise recommends "The Left Front."

Chicago Tribune: Pick of the Week: "The Left Front" (March 13, 2014)

Draw primarily from the musuem's collection, "The Left Front" contains more than 130 artworks produced by members of the CPUSA-affiliated John Reed Clubs. 

Evanston Roundtable: Steichen|Warhol Picturing Fame (March 12, 2014)

Organized by the Block Museum, this is the first exhibition to compare the work of Edward Steichen (1879-1973) and Andy Warhol (1928-1987) side by side.

Newcity Art: Review: The Left Front: Radical Art in the Red Decade at the Block Museum of Art (March 4, 2014)

Since the exhibition is based on (but not limited to) the Block Museum’s own collection of prints, Chicago artists get the most wall space, especially Morris Topchevsky, Carl Hoeckner and Henry Simon. Without exception, their work is dramatic, figurative, hard-hitting and on message. 

Reader Chicago: Block Cinema wraps up film series commemorating 30s glamor and the popular front (March 4, 2014)

"This weekend Block Cinema at Northwestern University concludes two series of studio-era American movies, each one programmed in conjunction with a different art exhibit at the Block Museum (and both presented entirely from 35-millimeter). " [Read the article]

Photograph Magazine: Steichen|Warhol: Picturing Fame (Feburary 28, 2014)

"Greta Garbo’s “perfect and ephemeral” face—as Roland Barthes described it in his collection of essays, Mythologies—greets visitors to Steichen/Warhol: Picturing Fame (through April 6 at the Block Museum of Art). " [Read the article]

ArtForum: It Takes Practice (Feburary 25, 2014) 

"How can an artist be controversial today?” It’s a question on many locals’ minds. Just last month, the Block Museum at Northwestern University issued dozens of answers by artists, writers, and educators to the question, “What is revolutionary art now?" [Read the article]

Cartoon Brew:  “The Left Front: Radical Art in the 1930s ‘Red Decade’” (Feburary 20, 2014)

The Block Museum has mounted “The Left Front: Radical Art in the ‘Red Decade,’ 1929–1940,” an exhibition of artists who showed with the John Reed Club and the American Artists’ Congress. Drawn from the Block’s collection and elsewhere, the show naturally features artists from the Midwest, among more famous names. [Read the article]

Chicago Tribune: Early wolves on Wall Street in 'Force of Evil' (February 6, 2014)

As part of "The Left Front in Film," Block Cinema of Northwestern University has begun a survey of leftist movies made during the 1930s, '40s and '50s. [Read the article]

Chicago Tribune: "'The Left Front': A compelling look at tumultuous era" (January 29, 2014)

 "The Left Front: Radical Art in the 'Red Decade,' 1929-1940," a new and fine exhibition at Northwestern University's Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art that frames the era's impassioned political activism as an essentially humanist pursuit of justice and equality for all. [Read the article

 "The Left Front: Radical Art in the 'Red Decade,' 1929-1940," a new and fine exhibition at Northwestern University's Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art that frames the era's impassioned political activism as an essentially humanist pursuit of justice and equality for all. [Read the article

Chicago Sun-Times: Totally Rad — Left Front’ exhibit showcases arts/politics collision (January 29, 2014)

This is the first exhibit to recognize the socially conscious work of artists, who associated with American journalist John Reed and also exhibited work in Reed’s New York collective. Reed’s firsthand accounts of the Russian Revolution inspired the award-winning movie “Reds.” [Read the article]

Michigan Ave Magazine: "The Famous Get a New Frame with Steichen & Warhol" (January 29, 2014)

Image is everything, especially for the famous. Long before the word “branding” became a part of everyone’s vocabulary, the celebrated gladly sat for the camera, knowing a likeness—especially one made by a master—would go a long way toward cementing a reputation. With “Steichen/Warhol: Picturing Fame,” Northwestern University’s Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art explores Steichen’s role in manufacturing celebrity, and the pop art icon’s rewriting of the rules decades later. [Read the article

Splash Magazine Chicago: "Block Museum's Winter Opening Review – Art, History, Ideas and Politics Intertwined" (January 21, 2014)

The Chicago Splash reviews the exhibitions The Left Front and Steichen|Warhol and their upcoming programs. [Read the article

Chicago Tonight: Block Museum Reopens with Blockbuster Artists (January 21, 2014)

WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” features upcoming Block exhibitions and programs, highlighting curators Elliot Reichert, Jill Bugajski and John Murphy, as well as Ellen Philips Katz Director Lisa Corrin.  [Watch the videos]

Northbrook Star: "Art and politics collide in Block Museum exhibit" (January 21, 2014)

The groundbreaking exhibit runs through June 22 at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University. This is the first exhibit to recognize the socially conscious work of artists, who associated with American journalist John Reed and also exhibited work in Reed’s New York collective. [Read the article]

Evanston Review: "Art and politics collide in Block Museum exhibit" (January 21, 2014)

“The Left Front: Radical Art in the Red Decade, 1929-1940” shares the aesthetics and the revolutionary spirit of some of the first artists entrenched in America’s progressive political movement. [Read the article]

Time Out Chicago: "10 best things to do this week: January 20-26" (January 20, 2014)

Time Out Chicago ranks visiting the Block Museum as one of the top ten things to do this week. [Read the article]

ArtDaily: "Block winter exhibits show Steichen and Warhol examinining American class and society" (January 20, 2014)

The exhibition “Steichen | Warhol: Picturing Fame” pairs Steichen’s photographs with those of Andy Warhol, the Pop artist whose work some 50 years later reflected and transformed the conventions set down by Steichen. [Read the article]

ArtDaily: "The Left Front: Radical Art in the "Red Decade," 1929-1940 opens at the Block Museum" (January 18, 2014)

The Left Front will be the first exhibition to consider the visual arts legacy of the JRC and its successor organization, the American Artists Congress (AAC). The goal is to reframe the connection between artists and activism during this so-called “Red Decade.” [Read the article]

Chicago Tribune: "Art show features works by Evanston K-12 students" (January 15, 2014)

Evanston Township High School hosts Districts 65 and 202 Art Exhibit and Open House featuring the combined works of young artists, kindergarten through 12th grade, in the Evanston public schools. All the pieces in the show are interpretations of a poem by local poet Toly Walker. [Read the article]

Crain's Chicago Business: "Steichen and Warhol together at Block Museum"(January 15, 2014)

Crain's Chicago Business interviews the Ellen Philips Katz Director Lisa Corrin about the unusual comparison of Edward Steichen and Andy Warhol. [Read the article]

The Wall Street Journal: "Forgotten Messages From the Angry 1930s" (January 10, 2014)

The Wall Street Journal investigates the often overlooked anticapitalist leanings and fiery political activism of many of the The Left Front artists. [Read the article]

Chicago Sun-Times:"Block Spot part of museum’s re-opening" (January 9, 2014)

After being closed since early August, Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art will re-open Jan. 17 with a slightly different look and new interdisciplinary programming that puts an emphasis on connecting more closely with a broader range of audiences on and off campus. [Read the article]