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Behold, Be Held

April 19-August 22, 2021
Outdoor Exhibition
Elizabeth Catlett, Gossip, 2005. Color photolithograph and inkjet print on paper, 22 1/2 in x 24 in.Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of the Print Club of New York. 2012.4.1

“And I know what it’s like to behold and not be held.”
– Moses Sumney, Lyrics from his song Plastic (2014)

In Fall 2020, as our galleries remained closed to visitors due to the pandemic, we challenged ourselves to think imaginatively about engaging visitors through our permanent collection. While the past year has altered so much in our lives, it has also highlighted how art remains a vital window into our feelings and experiences. Behold, Be Held uses the facades of The Block, the neighboring Ethel M. Barber Theater, and the building of our community partner Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) as an outdoor gallery.

Reproductions of artworks from the Block Museum collection invite visitors to reflect on how art holds us through moments of crisis. These works capture gestures that we may have taken for granted prior to the pandemic, but we have missed dearly. The selection of works was guided by themes of self-care, self-authorship, and community. It also explores how subtle moments with others prepare and carry us on our journeys. Within these works, people hold each other through life changes, create spaces of sustenance, and raise their hands to declare “I am still here.” Behold, Be Held is a meditation and a prompt, asking: What are you most in need of right now?

View in Collection Database

Exhibition Website


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Visit beholdbeheld.org

Credits

Behold, Be Held is curated by the 2020–21 Block Museum of Art Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow, Rikki Byrd (PhD candidate, African American Studies). It has been developed in partnership with The Leadership Project at Youth and Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) in Evanston, IL, with the participation of: Malik Agee, Cherie Animashaun, Saliha Ansari, Isabel Horek Gualtier, Michia Kenderick, Aaliyah Knox, Jocelyn Maldonado, Ciara Nicole Phillips-Gentle, McKenzie Royal, James Thoussaint, Mia Williams, Nia Williams. Generous support has been provided by the Northwestern Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts; the Black Arts Consortium; the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities; and The Graduate School, Northwestern University.

Land Acknowledgment: Northwestern sits on the original homelands of the Council of the Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami, and Ho-Chunk nations.

Colorful print of woman with dark skin standing in a garden and wearing a hat and dress

Romare Bearden, In the Garden, from the American Portfolio, 1979

Color lithograph on paper, 28 3/4 in x 21 1/8 in. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 1985.67.5
Black-and-white photograph of standing man with medium skin tone who gazes down and raises his hands

Rosalie Favell, Facing the Camera: James Luna, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2011

Inkjet print, 43.2 × 55.9 cm, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Block Friends of Art Fund purchase, 2019.26.3
 Medium-dark skinned woman twists at the waist, looks back, and points her camera toward the viewer

Ming Smith, Untitled (Self-Portrait with Camera), 1975

Gelatin silver print, 50.8 × 40.6 cm, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, purchase funds donated by Julie and Lawrence Bernstein Family Art Acquisition Fund, 2019.28.2
Two dark-skinned figures in profile, holding hands and making direct eye contact with each other

Elizabeth Catlett, Gossip, 2005

Color photolithograph and inkjet print on paper, 22 1/2 in x 24 in., Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of the Print Club of New York, 2012.4.1
Yellow-toned print of two masked people side-by-side, one of the figures embracing the other

Ed Paschke, Compassion, 1992.

Color lithograph on paper, 12 × 14 in. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Marc and Sharon Paschke, 2019.20.5.
Collaged image of a dark-skinned man in a suit with cutouts of figures and architecture behind him

Jabulani Sam Nhlengethwa, Train Preacher, 1993

Magazine and newspaper collage with acrylic on paper, 25 1/8 in x 20 in. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 1994.81.
A girl in a dress looks at the viewer and sits in the lap of her mother, who looks at her tenderly

Margaret Burroughs , Mother and Child, 1996

Linoleum cut, 23 in x 17 1/2 in. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of Margaret Burroughs, 1996.46.1.
Profile view of a Black girl basking in the sun, her dainty earring in the center of photograph

Milton Rogovin, Girl With Earring, from the series East Side, Buffalo, New York, 1961-62

Gelatin silver print, 6 3/4 in x 7 5/8 in. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, The Richard Florsheim Art Fund Purchase, 2000.25.16.
Older dark-skinned woman reading in a rocking chair on a porch while a child braids her hair

Roland L. Freeman, Quilter, Hettie Barnes and her graddaughter, Mississippi, 1976

Gelatin silver print, 9 in x 13 1/2 in. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, The Richard Florsheim Art Fund Purchase, 2000.25.9.
A Black man in a wheelchair smiles and dances with a standing Black woman wearing white bellbottoms

Mikki Ferrill, Untitled (The Garage, Chicago, 1973), 1973.

Gelatin silver print, 7 1/8 in x 10 1/8 in. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, The Richard Florsheim Art Fund Purchase, 2000.25.1.
Black-and-white photo of an African-American man dancing and people around him clapping

Milton Rogovin, Untitled, from the series Store-Front Church, 1958-1960

Gelatin silver print, 5 3/8 in x 7 in. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, The Richard Florsheim Art Fund Purchase, 2000.25.12.
Bust-length image of a person divided in half down the middle, one side white and the other black

Margaret Burroughs, Two Worlds, 1996

Linoleum cut, 58.4 x 44.4 cm. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of Margaret Burroughs, 1996.46.4
Seated, young, light-skinned adult with tattooed arm faces standing sunflowers in a green room

Catherine Opie, Skeeter, 1993.

Chromogenic print, 40 3/4 × 31 7/8 × 2 1/8 in. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, gift of Armyan Bernstein and Christine Meleo Bernstein, 2018.9.
Interview text paired with photo of fair-skinned couple; one person leans over to embrace the other

Jess Dugan, SueZie, 51, and Cheryl, 55, Valrico, FL, 2015 from the portfolio To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults, 2018

Inkjet print on paper, 50.8 × 40.6 cm. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, The Block Friends of Art Fund purchase, 2019.2.1c-d.
Negative image with neon colors depicting two casually clothed people standing close to one another

Leon Golub, Wasted Youth I, 1994

Color screenprint, 44 1/2 in x 33 5/8 in. Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Gift of Thomas Deutsch, 1998.10.9.