News

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

Time Out Chicago: The three best things to do today in Chicago (September 20, 2016)

“Salaam Cinema! 50 Years of Iranian Movie Posters” is totally worth the trip up to Evanston. Even if you’re unfamiliar with Iranian cinema, this collection is stunning in and of itself."

The Art Newspaper: Three to See New York (September 15, 2016)

"Last week, the Grey Art Gallery at New York University opened A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-80s (until 10 December), a look at the work of this musician and performance artist. New York is an appropriate place for the show, which travelled from the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University (its organiser), since many of the 15 avant-garde festivals Moorman organised between 1963 and 1980 were held in the city. The importance of these festivals and Moorman’s own work is explored through sculptures, videos, photographs, costumes, musical scores and other archival materials." 

Chicago Magazine: Five Great Things to Do This Week in Chicago (September 15, 2016)

"This relentlessly inquisitive photographer died young at 39, but left a body of over 100,000 images—mostly of New York’s hip downtown scene, including portraits of Warhol, Haring, and Basquiat in their studios. Not just a documentarian, the artist also showed his identity on film as a gay Asian immigrant adapting to the tumultuous 1980s."

Art F City: The Topless Cellist Finally Gets Her Due At The Grey Art Gallery (September 14, 2016)

"A Feast of Astonishments puts Moorman into her rightful spot in Fluxus art history as a powerful collaborator and bold avant-garde performance artist. The hope is that subsequent exhibitions on this era of performance art will follow suit." - Emily Colucci

Financial Times: Charlotte Moorman New York exhibition: a spirit of unruly innovation (September 14, 2016)

"Her cheery manner belied the grit of a prizefighter; her spectacular performances heralded an age of women’s defiant freedom. Moorman made no such claims for herself. She was far more interested in exploding artistic conventions than in political struggle. She was an equivocal figure, poised at the precipice of feminism. While some women were burning bras, she made one sing." - Ariella Budick

Musical America: Avant-gardist Charlotte Moorman Celebrated in Style in NYU Exhibition (September 12, 2016)

At the Block, A Feast of Astonishments, which filled most of the museum's two-story gallery  space, was exhilaratingly immersive. Though logically organized into ·· four sections-The Early Years, Repertoire, Moorman Abroad, and The Avant Garde Festivals-its 330-some items offered a dizzying mix of video, photos, posters, costumes, letters, and musical instruments. - Wynne Delacoma

New Yorker: The Legacy of the "Topless Cellist: (September 12, 2016)

"Her vast influence on contemporary performance, not to mention the epoch she helped to define, has found a home in the necessary exhibition “A Feast of Astonishments." - Hilton Als

New York Times: Charlotte Moorman, Tradition Disrupter, Is the Focus of Two Shows (September 9, 2016)

"After her death in 1991, at 58, the mainstream art world largely forgot her, or pegged her as a decorative accessory to the work of Nam June Paik, with whom she often collaborated. But with the arrival of a superb biography, by Joan Rothfuss, in 2014, and now these two shows — which come from the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, where a vast Moorman archive resides — the days of forgetting and misperceiving are over, and a foundational 20th-century art figure is revealed." - Holland Cotter

Artforum Online: Must See New York (September 9, 2016)

“A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s,” a long overdue retrospective of this Julliard-trained radical’s vision through documents, objects, and so much more—which opened at the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, and draws on materials from the school’s Charlotte Moorman Archive—will only aid in cementing this major artist’s contributions to history."

Chicago Reader: 10 Best Bets for Fall Movies (September 7, 2016)

"Blaxploitation fans, take note: the Block Museum of Art will welcome venerable football great and movie badass Fred Williamson to talk about his screen career and introduce his 70s action flicks Bucktown and Three the Hard Way." —J.R. Jones

ArtNews: 9 Art Events to Attend in New York City This Week (September 6, 2016)

"But more than simply being an expert collaborator, Moorman was an original, and this show rightfully gives her the spotlight she deserves. On view here will be sculptures, videos, documentation, and scores related to Moorman’s performances."

Artsy: Charlotte Moorman Is Finally Remembered as More Than “The Topless Cellist” (September 4, 2016)

"Moorman’s endless experimentation with sound and the body pushed not only avant-garde art, but also feminism, into new, generative places." - Alexxa Gotthardt

Chicago Reader: 10 Best Bets for Fall Visual Arts (September 2, 2016)

“Photographer Tseng Kwong Chi was born in Hong Kong and participated in the downtown Manhattan art scene during the 1980s. This biographical information is reflected in his work, primarily photographs he took of himself in a Maoist uniform standing in front of such famous landmarks as the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. The first major solo exhibition of his output includes rare archival material.” – Tal Roseberg

Time Out Chicago: 46 Exciting openings in Chicago in September (August 29, 2016)

“The Block Museum hosts the first major retrospective of Hong Kong-born photographer Tseng Kwong Chi, displaying his performance-based photos in "Performing for the Camera." – Grace Perry

Chicago Magazine: 58 Things to Do in Chicago in September (August 29, 2016)

“This relentlessly inquisitive photographer died young at 39, but left a body of over 100,000 images—mostly of New York’s hip downtown scene, including portraits of Warhol, Haring, and Basquiat in their studios. Not just a documentarian, the artist also showed his identity on film as a gay Asian immigrant adapting to the tumultuous 1980s.” - Jason Foumberg

Time Out Chicago: 9 Art Gallery Exhibitions to See in September (August 26, 2016)

“80 pieces will be shown in influential photographer Tseng Kwong Chi’s first major solo museum exhibit, spanning a collection of photographs that explore pop culture, politics, and other social issues in smart and humorous ways.” – Jenny Lam

Crains Chicago Business: The 32 Must-Do Events in Chicago This Fall (August 2016)

“Last year, Omar Kholeif moved stateside to take a senior curator role at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago after working in London at the Whitechapel Gallery and at the U.K.’s national center for film and video art. Kholeif’s influence will be felt at the MCA this December with a photography exhibition by Egyptian-born artist Basim Magdy, and he’s organizing the spring show “Eternal Youth.” Here’s where he’ll be seeking inspiration this fall, starting with Tseng Kwong Chi's “Performing for the Camera” at the Block Museum in Evanston. “His photographs present a wry social commentary that feels more relevant than ever in our click-happy, Instagrammable world.” – Cassie Walker-Burke

ArtSlant: These Chicago Curators Are Expanding the Cultural Conversation from the Inside Out (July 11, 2016)

“These women are using curatorial practice to make their local work relevant and meaningful in the global context of contemporary art. Their work of affirms that Chicago’s visual arts scene can be nimble, vibrant, and global rather than merely stifling or difficult. By working within the institutions that make up the city’s cultural infrastructure, Dees, Umolu, Beckwith, and Gilbert have been able to alter the ways in which that infrastructure functions, in turn increasing the institution’s effectiveness as a steward of culture and history.” - Lee Ann Norman

Financial Times: Political Art: Kader Attia at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (July 8, 2016)

“'I was fascinated by how in traditional societies, not only Africa, but also Japan and the west before modernity, when a broken object was repaired, the repair process always kept the trace of the injury,' [Attia] explains... But while traditional societies repair objects to give them a new life, often incorporating elements of European culture in the process — he shows me a Berber necklace dotted with French francs — the western approach is to discard objects that are damaged, valuing only originals in pristine condition. For Attia, repair has become a metaphor for cultural reappropriation, and resistance." - Jane Ure-Smith

F Newsmagazine: Art and Academia Perform “in the Present Tense” (May 23, 2016)

"'There was a constant conversation. We were enmeshed.' ... Bielak’s and Graham’s quote speaks to what I found while in attendance. The entire event enmeshed art practice with academic inquiry. While the event itself was short, consisting of performances and conversation on the first evening, followed the next day by presentations and panel discussion, the scope of the content of the symposium was substantial." - Katie Morris

The Northwestern Chronicle: Cello Performance Shatters Conventions (May 20, 2016)

"'I make noise…' reads Okkyoung Lee’s twitter bio, and right she is. Lee’s avant-garde, experimental cello improvisation literally shook the structure of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum earlier this May." - Lauren Place

Daily Serving:  A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s at the Block Museum of Art (May 5, 2016)

"Demonstrating that Moorman was more than simply a prop for the development of Paik’s impressive, psychedelic, yet heterosexist experiments in video/performance art and avant-garde music, this exhibition presents the tension between issues of gender, agency, authorship, virtuosity, and performance." - Anna Kryczka

F Newsmagazine: Remembering Charlotte Moorman (May 2, 2016)

"Her interviews and notes skillfully create the sense of Moorman’s magnetic personality. One gets to know Moorman through her archive — a curatorial accomplishment that also doesn’t overwhelm those who come to the exhibition for other interests, such as seeing the work of other artists included in the collection." - Kate Morris

Artforum: A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s (May, 2016)

"[The curators argue] that Moorman’s adherence to certain conventions of both classical performance and Southern femininity—her predilection for makeup and full-length evening gowns—served as a counterpoint to the radicalism of the scores she performed, and that her appearances in various states of undress can be interpreted as calculated disruptions, intentionally provocative gestures delivered for maximum effect and maximum publicity." - Jacob Proctor

Art in America: Author of Astonishment: Charlotte Moorman at the Block Museum (April 18, 2016)

"The kaleidoscopic cycling of artistic partners, works, and performance events throughout the exhibition reveals that one of the most vital aspects of Moorman’s practice is also the cause of her historical neglect: a genius at orchestrating the brilliance of others, Moorman’s legacy could gain no foothold in art-historical frameworks that insist on articulating avant-garde gambits in terms of seminal gestures and individual genius. A Feast of Astonishments is an encouraging sign that this may finally be changing." - Lauren DeLand

New Art Examiner: A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s (March/April, 2016)

"The Block asks visitors to take Moorman as seriously as she took herself, that she did not fall back into irony. Moorman was so fluid in these pieces, constantly opening herself up as a performer. Throughout, she was always herself, a classically-trained musician carving out genuinely new notes for both herself and the avant-garde." - Rachael Schwabe

The Inquisitr: Avant-Garde Cellist Charlotte Moorman Revisited in Two Exhibits (April 4, 2016)

"Moorman was not only a fixture in the world of avant-garde art, she was its emissary to mainstream media and pop culture. She took an active role in commanding the nature of her work, pushing herself and her colleagues to raise their visibility from New York's loft art culture to venues that guaranteed wider audiences and relatively greater commercial success." - Skinner Bachs

Art in America: The Sight of Her (April 1, 2016)

"Years ago, Schneemann worried that Moorman's personal and communal achievements would go underappreciated, leaving questions such as those posed by a young Zeena Parkins unanswered, preserving only an image in place of an archive. Thanks to the redemptive labor of Rothfuss's Topless Cellist and the team of curators and writers behind 'A Feast of Astonishments,' we have new opportunities to reflect upon Charlotte Moorman's legacy, to argue about her impact, to listen to the sounds she made and to look again, with gratitude, at the sight of her." - Drew Daniel

The Guardian: Charlotte Moorman: Chicago exhibit reveres avant garde's renegade cellist (March 30, 2016)

"What perhaps best serves this retrospective's painstakingly astute sifting under curators Joan Rothfuss and Scott Krafft is an acknowledgement of the opposition her work consistently presents of reductiveness to any kind of co-optation, an opposition built into the work's ephemeral, embodied modes that gave it such crucial value at the start of the dematerialization movement in art among Moorman and her contemporaries." - Michael Workman

Hyperallergic: Returning “Topless Cellist” Charlotte Moorman to Her Rightful Place in the Avant-Garde (March 17, 2016)

"The archive not only offers a glimpse of Moorman’s personal life, it also demonstrates her clear links to other luminaries of the time and her tireless efforts to promote avant-garde work in New York City and beyond. This naturally leads to a question — thequestion — around which the main exhibition is organized: Why are Charlotte Moorman’s contributions to the postwar art and performance avant-garde so underappreciated and relatively unknown today?" - Dana Basset

Chicago Tribune: The Brilliance of Moorman on View at the Block (March 10, 2016)

"The Block has done a thrilling job, mounting a show that feels like a cross between an archive and a multimedia spectacular." - Lori Waxman

Artforum.com: Critic's Pick - A Feast of Atonishments (March 4, 2016)

"Amid a generation of artists experimenting with the fusion of art and life, Moorman truly lived this ideal, and the main triumph of “A Feast of Astonishments” lies in demonstrating Moorman’s success at connecting the fringes of the avant-garde with the general public, and in doing so itself." -Thea Nichols

Art21 Blog: The Sensation of Un-thought Thoughts - An Interview with Simone Forti (March 1, 2016)

"The combined effect of her conversation and this tableau captured the fluidity of Forti’s career, as she flowed effortlessly between spoken language, embodied movement, and introspection." - Caroline Picard

Medill News Service: Charlotte Moorman: Shattering Barriers Between Art and Technology (February 24, 2016)

"Audio and video inundates the visitor with an aggressive hum of mismatched sounds from a woman’s voice to classical music to a tension-igniting crash. Your eyes bounce from television screen to television screen, displayed throughout the gallery as integral to the works of art." -Elizabeth Bacharach

Huffington Post: The Untold Story Behind the Legendary 'Topless Cellist' (February 22, 2016)

"While today she may have identified as a performance artist, Moorman was really an eternal collaborator, sliding between art trends and stamping her projects with an indelible essence." -Priscilla Frank

New City: Eye Exam: Charlotte Moorman's Network for One (February 11, 2016)

"While we may view A Feast as exhibiting the origin points for the oversaturated artist network, we can also see a testament to the bright spots of such endeavors: championing art and friendship for the pursuit of something radical." -Chris Reeves

Northwestern Press Blog: Five Questions With the Author: Corinne Granof and Laura Wertheim Joseph (February 10, 2016)

"Our goal in preparing the materials for this exhibition was to convey the collaborative nature of the artistic activities to which Moorman contributed, while still representing the history in a legible way. We made clear, for example, that Cut Piece was an instructional piece created by Yoko Ono, but we also accounted for the ways in which the instructions allowed for Moorman to adapt it to her own ends." -Laura Wertheim Joseph 

Wall Street Journal: 'A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s-1980s' Review  (February 1, 2016)

"The cellist Charlotte Moorman (1933-1991) was an intrepid performer who was central to avant-garde culture in New York during the 1960s and ’70s—the “Jeanne d’Arc of New Music,” the composer Edgard Varèse dubbed her—even if many weren’t sure how to evaluate her talents." -Richard B. Woodward

North by Northwestern: Block Museum celebrates "life as art" with new exhibit centered on avant-garde trailblazer Charlotte Moorman (January 26, 2016)

"As an art exhibit, A Feast of Astonishments is indisputably unconventional. It relies not just on static pictures or audio clips but also on testimony, memorabilia, and the kind of compulsive documentation Baby Boomers berate Millennials for. But to chronicle the art – and thus, the life – of Charlotte Moorman, nothing but the unconventional would do her justice." -Stacy Tsal

Chicago Reader: Avant-gardist Charlotte Moorman finally gets the recognition she's due (January 25, 2016)

"Artists' retrospectives often tend to reinforce the mythology of isolated genius. A Feast of Astonishments, by contrast, is a portrait not just of Moorman but of the community she enlivened and the inner life that was her longest-running performance." -Sasha Geffen

WBEZ: Charlotte Moorman Comes to Block Museum (January 19, 2016)

"Granof and her fellow curators say the goal of opening the archive is to bring a deeper understanding of the artist, so she’s known for more than that one infamous performance." -WBEZ91.5 

Chicago Sun Times: Charlotte Moorman Exhibit a Superb Study in the World of the Truly Avant-Garde (January 19, 2016)

"Fascinating and thoroughly researched, (A Feast) will no doubt stand as one of Chicago area’s most important art offerings of the year." -Kyle MacMillan

Slipped Disc: Naked Cellist Gets the Show of Her Life (January 15, 2016)

"I have written a few times about Charlotte Moorman, a livewire of the 1960s New York avantgarde who, along with her friend Yoko Ono, placed her naked body at the centre of her performing art." -Norman Lebrecht

WTTW: "Topless Cellist" Charlotte Moorman focus of major exhibition at Northwestern (January 15, 2016)

“'In light of her influence on contemporary performance and her role as an unequaled popularizer of the avant-garde it is long overdue for her to be appreciated as a seminal figure in her own right,' (Lisa) Corrin said in a statement." -Chloe Riley

Chicago Tribune: Evanston Review: Block Museum unpacks life of avant garde cellist Moorman (January 15, 2016)

"'Charlotte Moorman was of a generation of impresarios who wanted to see art taken out of concert halls and museums and put in places where everyone gathered,' Corrin said. 'Her festivals took place in Grand Central Station and Shea Stadium and Central Park. Doing something that defies the constraints that institutions often impose on artists was a very, very important part of her work. She wanted experimental art to be accessible to everyone, not just insiders.'" -Samantha Nelson

The Art Newspaper: The topless cellist earns her due (January 13, 2016)

"Yoko Ono has lent the exhibition’s most anticipated piece, which depicts Moorman performing Ono’s Cut Piece (1964) in 1982 from the roof of her Manhattan loft three years after she was diagnosed with cancer." -Gabriella Angeleti

The Daily Northwestern: Block exhibit first to feature performance artist Charlotte Moorman's work (January 13, 2016)

"The Block Museum of Art will present the first large-scale exhibition on 20th century musician and performance artist Charlotte Moorman — an artist who focused on the intersection between the public and art." -Emily Chin

Arts Journal Blog: Charlote Moorman gets a Full-Dress Close-Up (January 11, 2016)

"Moorman was a major radical artist, an uncompromising avant-gardist, who believed so fervently in the idea of life itself as a performance that the evidence of her belief contained in those boxes now provides the framework of a groundbreaking exhibition exploring her legacy in all-embracing detail." -Jan Herman