Press Coverage

The Block Museum is frequently featured in national, regional and local media. Read our most recent stories below:


The Daily Northwestern: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet brings stories of African-American creatives to life (January 31, 2019)

Author Tyehimba Jess said while writing his Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry book “Olio,” he was inspired to tell the stories of people who have been left out of history. Jess spoke at the Block Museum of Art on Thursday, reading excerpts from his poetry book “Olio” as part of the newly-launched Litowitz MFA+MA Creative Writing Speaker Series. -Savannah Kelley


Artforum: Warhol Foundation to award $413,500 in curatorial research fellowships (January 23, 2019)

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts will award a total of $413,500 in curatorial research fellowships as part of its fall 2018 cycle, the highest amount since the program began in 2008. 


Chicago Tribune: The richest man ever was not named Gates or Bezos; he was king of Mali in the Middle Ages (January 23, 2019)

It packs the museum’s 4,000 square feet with a spectacular array of ancient artifacts — and, as the title suggests, pieces of ancient artifacts — borrowed from African museums, the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institution, among some two dozen lenders.  -Steve Johnson


Chicago Magazine: How Northwestern Got Its Hands on Rare Medieval African Art (January 22, 2019)

It’s rare for American art museums to work with African lenders, because the institutional structures are so different from our own. Caravans of Gold stretches across regions and fields of study, and the loans required multiple visits to Mali, Morocco, and Nigeria.  -Kathleen Bickford Berzock in conversation with Jason Foumberg


Big Ten Network: A Northwestern exhibit explores the often overlooked history of medieval Africa (January 22, 2019)

With items on loan from partner institutions in Morocco, Mali and Nigeria, Caravans of Gold draws on exciting new archaeological discoveries that are deepening understanding of how religion, culture and commerce intermingled in the region...They stand beside European works from the same period, drawing visitors into an exploration of the vibrancy of life across Western and Northern Africa. -John Tolley


Artsy: Unpacking Medieval African Art’s Profound Global Legacy (January 21, 2019)

“Caravans of Gold” is the first exhibition in recent memory to apply a wide lens to the pre-colonial period of African civilizations and their impact to effectively challenge what we think we know about the world.  -Niama Safia Sandy


Apollo Magazine: What's on: Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time (January 18, 2019)

This exhibition places medieval Africa at the centre of a global trade network, and explores through some 250 objects how art and ideas, as well as gold, travelled across the Sahara.


Chicago Tribune: Stories of Chicago-area people hit by government shutdown (January 17, 2019)

“It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions,” said Kathleen Bickford Berzock, associate director of curatorial affairs and exhibition curator of “Caravans of Gold.” The exhibition is on track to open Jan. 26 with the loans from the Smithsonian, said Corrin and Berzock. -Morgan Greene and Elvia Malagon


Atlas Obscura: 5 Objects That Illuminate the Medieval Exchange Between Africa and Europe (January 16, 2019)

“One of the things we find most exciting about this project is when you’re in the presence of objects from the past, what a powerful experience that is,” says Kathleen Bickford Berzock, associate director of curatorial affairs at the Block. “These objects really put us as close as we can possibly come to knowing and touching a time that’s very, very distant from us and how that activates our ability to imagine and understand a time.” -Jonathan Carey


WBEZ: Federal Shutdown Won’t Stop Smithsonian Loan To Northwestern Museum (January 14, 2019)

“We’re thrilled first of all and very, very grateful to our colleagues at the National Museum of African Art,” Corrin said. “They really went the distance to make sure this can happen. It’s an incredible commitment on their part.”  -Kate McGee


The Washington Post: A critically acclaimed National Gallery show must come down, so workers are moving the art without pay (January 14, 2019)

The government shutdown meant that those pieces didn’t arrive as expected last week, said curator Kathleen Bickford Berzock, who has spent seven years on the show, “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa,” which will be on view in Washington next year. "It’s heartbreaking," Berzock said. "We have a huge amount of sympathy for our colleagues at the African Art Museum. We’re appreciative of everything they’ve done." -Peggy McGlone


The Art Newspaper Review: When Saharan sands glittered with gold (January 2019)

Bickford Berzock says that the relevance of medieval Saharan trade for present-day visitors to the exhibition lies in the fact that these are the "same routes used today by migrants avoiding conflict. We see so many issues of boundary building these days–who belongs where and why–but in medieval Africa, border crossing was constant." -Jason Foumberg


Evanston Magazine: The Buzz - Block These Dates (January 1, 2019)

An ambitious new exhibition will showcase the splendor and power of the lost kingdoms and commercial centers of Africa, using centuries-old artifacts from sites around the Sahara Desert and artwork from West and North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East that reveal the reach of Saharan networks, in a first-of-its-kind show. - Sherry Thomas


Splash Magazine: Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time Preview – Coming to Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art (January 5, 2019)

Caravans of Gold has emerged through an ongoing dialogue among a dedicated group of specialists from multiple disciplines and areas of regional focus. Four meetings with scholars and multiple research trips to Mali, Morocco, and Nigeria have aggregated knowledge and allowed debate about how to tell the story of medieval trans-Saharan exchange. - Barbara Keer 


This major show curated by and debuting at Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art, before it moves on to Toronto and Washington, D.C., will be the first to showcase the “splendor and power of the lost kingdoms and commercial centers” of medieval Saharan Africa using artifacts from the period. Included will be rare treasures on loan from African museums and the British Museum. - Steve Johnson


New City: Art Top 5 January 2019 Picks (January 1, 2019)

An ambitious exhibition of material culture from Medieval Africa revives a forgotten history of the continent’s prosperity and cultural wealth that had been elided by Eurocentricism. - Elliot Reichart


Chicago Magazine: 51 Things to Do in Chicago in January (January 1, 2019)

Mention the Middle Ages and most people think of the knights and castles of Europe, but this exhibit aims to reframe this fertile period through the countries of West Africa, where a robust culture produced exquisite gold filigree carvings, coins, tapestries, and sculptures. - Jason Foumberg