Artist-in-Residence: Jen Bervin


The Block Museum brings Jen Bervin to campus during Winter Quarter 2018 as part of the Kaplan Humanities Institute’s Artist in Residence program. Additional program and teaching support is provided by the Department of Art Theory and Practice, the Center for the Writing Arts, and Northwestern Libraries.

Jen Bervin is an artist and poet whose research-driven interdisciplinary works weave together art, writing, science and life. Exploring the intersection of traditional craft and cutting edge technology, Bervin’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Des Moines Art Center and Granoff Center for the Arts at Brown University, and has been featured in group exhibitions at MASS MoCA, MCA Denver, The Power Plant in Toronto, and the Walker Art Center.

Bervin has published ten books, including Silk Poems—a long-form poem presented both as a book (Nightboat Books, 2017) and as an implantable biosensor made from liquefied silk developed in collaboration with Tufts University’s Silk Lab. She is a SETI Institute Artist in Residence, a program that facilitates a cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas between artists and scientists.



In addition to connecting to Northwestern’s staff, faculty and students across disciplines, Bervin will conduct research for future art projects in the diverse collections of Northwestern University Libraries—from its John Cage archives in the Music Library to textiles and ancient manuscripts in the Melville J. Herskovits Africana Library.

Bervin’s residency will culminate in an interdisciplinary writing workshop for faculty and students using the Library’s collections. The workshop will be developed by the artist; the Block Museum’s Susy Bielak, the Susan and Stephen Wilson Associate Director of Engagement/Curator of Public Practice; Martin Antonetti, the Library’s Head of Distinctive Collections; and a team of the Libraries’ curators and conservators. Participants will draw inspiration from library holdings, as well the architecture of the historic Deering and Main Libraries themselves, examples of the Collegiate Gothic and mid-century Brutalist styles.

Bervin’s other campus engagement activities will include a rich array of programs and learning opportunities, including teaching Advanced Materials, a studio course focused on the intersections of art and science through exploration of traditional craft and technological innovation. Offered through the Department of Art Theory & Practice in collaboration with the McCormick School of Engineering, the course will be open to all Northwestern undergraduate and graduate students and faculty.



Meet the Artist Receptions

For faculty and staff: Happy Hour in the Artist’s Studio, Thursday, February 8, 2018, 4-6pm, Kresge Hall #2315.

For students: Meet the Artist in the Studio, Thursday, February 15, 2018, 4-6pm, Kresge Hall #2315

Artists’ Talk with Jen Bervin 

Wednesday, February 21, 6PM, Block Museum, RSVP

Artist and writer Jen Bervin embraces subjects as wide-ranging as the Mississippi River, Emily Dickinson’s poetry, and the history of silk, weaving, and nanotechnology. Join the artist, along with Jeanne Dunning, professor in Art Theory & Practice, and Susy Bielak, Susan and Stephen Wilson Associate Director of Engagement/Curator of Public Practice, for a conversation about Bervin’s work.

Immersive Library Workshop

For students: March 3 and 4, 2018 (details forthcoming)

For faculty: March 3, 2018 (details forthcoming)