Art on Screen

Date Film Time
4/9 National Gallery 7 pm
5/7 The New Rijksmuseum 7 pm

Art on Screen, Block Cinema’s on-going series of films about art, continues with recent documentaries about two different national galleries: the recently renovated Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the National Gallery, London. Mine these national galleries for their trove of images and stories about visual culture, national politics, and arts education. With introductions by Lisa Corrin, Director of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, and Art History Professor Claudia Swan.

National Gallery

Thursday, April 9, 2015 7:00 PM
(Frederick Wiseman, 2014, US/France, DCP, 181 min.)

Frederick Wiseman’s most recent documentary, National Gallery, places you within the cacophonous bustle of one of the world’s great museums, the National Gallery, London. Wiseman has been making movies for nearly fifty years, challenging the understanding of subjectivity and documentation. Since the debut of Titicut Follies in 1967, his distinctive voice never includes voiceover or talking heads, letting the sounds of a place rise up to meet the audience. Often mistaken as cinema verité, Wiseman breaks the rules, editing his films non-sequentially—culling and collaging a portrait of an institution as striking and unforgiving as the works on the walls.

Introduced by Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art Director Lisa Corrin.

The New Rijksmuseum

Thursday, May 7, 2015 7:00 PM
(Oeke Hoogendijk, 2008/2013, Netherlands, DCP, 132 min.)

A national museum usually tells a coherent story: an intertwining history of a nation’s art practices and its economic and political power. Director Oeke Hoogendijk captured the fascinating fractures and breaks that occur in such a façade when the renovation of a national museum is fought over for ten years. Cracks of all kinds appear: painting conservators and curators peer at cracks in a masterpiece by Rembrandt; the museum’s director quits; the stereotype of the bicycle-loving Dutch asserts itself as activists for bicycle lanes force changes to the architects’ plans; the building itself is gutted, ripped apart before the camera. The coherent story of the old Rijksmuseum shatters before your eyes. Each little piece sings a tiny, captivating vignette about art, history and the Netherlands, as everyone from curators to construction workers scamper to build the new one.

With a short introduction from Northwestern University Art History Professor Claudia Swan.