Science, Art, and the Search for Meaning: Opening Conversation with Dario Robleto: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Science, Art, and the Search for Meaning: Opening Conversation with Dario Robleto

reddish outer space image with spacecraft
Artwork on the right: Dario Robleto, film still from "The Boundary of Life is Quietly Crossed," 2019. Image courtesy of artist.
2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Sat February 4, 2023
2:00 PM-3:30 PM


McCormick Auditorium, First Floor of Norris University Center
1999 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


For Dario Robleto, the practice of art shares a key aspiration with scientific endeavor: both artists and scientists strive to increase the sensitivity of their observations. In her contribution to The Hearts Knowledge catalogue, Jennifer Roberts (Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University) writes that “the act of measurement cannot be separated from the search for meaning.What are the tools that artists and scientists use to observe and measure the unknown? How might we use those tools collaboratively to construct new pathways of human understanding across time and distance? How might shared values of empathy, care, and curiosity guide such pursuits?

In this opening conversation, Robleto and Roberts will be joined by Lucianne Walkowicz, astronomer and co-founder of the JustSpace Alliance, and Michael Metzger, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts and curator of The Hearts Knowledge, to reflect on these questions. Join us for a discussion that reaches across boundaries to examine the shared pursuit of greater understanding that binds artists and scientists.

Drop by The Block anytime from 12-1:30pm and join the Block Museum Student Associates in the galleries for a look at the exhibition, beforehand.

Programs are open to all, on a first-come first-served basis. RSVPs not required, but appreciated. 

The Block acknowledges with gratitude its partnership with Northwestern University’s Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, whose leadership support has made possible this exhibition, the associated publication, and the Artist-at-Large residency of Dario Robleto (2018-2023). Major support is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. Generous support is contributed by the Dorothy J. Speidel Fund, the Bernstein Family Contemporary Art Fund, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and the Alumnae of Northwestern University.

Watch the Program

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About Program Participants

dario-robleto-1-med-by-kevin-frady-copy.pngDario Robleto was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1972 and received his BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1997. He lives and works in Houston, TX.

The artist has had numerous solo exhibitions since 1997, most recently at the Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS (2021); the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2019); the McNay Museum, San Antonio, TX (2018); Menil Collection, Houston, TX (2014); the Baltimore Museum of Art (2014); the New Orleans Museum of Art (2012); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (2011). His work has been profiled in numerous publications and media including Radiolab, Krista Tippet's On Being, and the New York Times. In 2008 a 10-year survey exhibition, Alloy of Love, was organized by the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York. Accompanied by a major monograph, Alloy of Love traveled to the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington.

Robleto's full bio


jenniferroberts_photo.jpegJennifer L. Roberts is Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, where she teaches art history and material culture with an emphasis on the interface between the arts and the natural sciences. She is the author of numerous books and essays on American art and science from the eighteenth century to the present, and has also curated exhibitions in modern and contemporary art at the Harvard Art Museums and the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. In spring of 2021, she delivered the 70th Annual A.W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts for the National Gallery of Art, with a series titled Contact: Art and the Pull of Print. She is currently focusing on initiatives to create alliances between the humanities and the STEM fields at Harvard and beyond, and is co-authoring a book with Robleto titled Life Signs: The Tender Science of the Pulsewave


luciannewalkowiczphoto.pngLucianne Walkowicz is an astronomer, artist, and activist. As co-Founder of the JustSpace Alliance, Walkowicz studies how outer space serves as the site where humanity crafts its futures, and works to make those futures more just (both in space, and on Earth). Over their 20+ years in astronomy, Walkowicz has contributed to major astronomical projects such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Sloan Digital Sky Survey, NASA's Kepler Mission, and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. Their astronomical research seeks to understand where and how we might discover alien life in the universe, and how stars influence a planet's suitability for life. An organizer both within and outside STEM, they work towards social justice in the sciences and beyond, and use popular communication to foster knowledgable, empowered publics. In 2014 they became an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium, where they worked until 2022.


Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at