Upcoming Events


“The Gay Left”: Homosexuality in the Era of Late Socialism

Friday, February 3, 7:00pm

Friday, February 10, 7:00pm

Friday, February 24, 7:00pm

Friday, March 3, 7:00pm

In an East Berlin gay bar in 1989, an old man explains his commitment to the communist party’s project of equality after World War II: “We stopped mankind’s exploitation by mankind. Now it does not matter if the person you work with is a Jew or whatever. Except gays. They were forgotten somehow.” The only official film from the German Democratic Republic dealing with homosexuality, Coming Out, by Heiner Carow, ends with these lines. Similarly, this film series asks how the ideologies of communism, socialism, and capitalism address sexual minorities. Including work from both sides of the Iron Curtain, “The Gay Left” brings multiple perspectives and historical moments into conversation in order to fight against forgetting.

Japanese Experimental Cinema—Between Protest and Performance, 1960–1975

Thursday, February 16, 7:00pm

Friday, February 17, 5:00pm & 7:00pm

Presented as a cinematic complement to the Art Institute of Chicago’s contemporaneous exhibition, Provoke: Photography in Japan between Protest and Performance, 1960–1975, these three screenings provide an opportunity to explore the historical intersection of experimental filmmaking with documentary cinema traditions in a period of radical social and political change. Scholar and curator Hirasawa Gō, and director Masanori Oe, will be present for a discussion moderated by Professor Patrick Noonan.

Deru Kugi Wa Utareru: Stories of Internment and Remembrance​

Saturday, February 18, 2:00pm

February 19, 2017, marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of the executive order which called for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Join us to commemorate this historic occasion through an interactive, intergenerational program held around the work of Sansei artist Kristine Aono. The afternoon will be spent sharing stories of internment, and commemorating this historically relevant anniversary.

Hosting partners include Multicultural Student Affairs and the Japanese American Service Committee, Chicago Japanese American Historical Society, Japanese American Citizens League, Japanese Mutual Aid Society, and the Chicago Japanese American Council.


Visual Vanguard: Abdellah Karroum

Thursday, February 23, 6:00pm

Abdellah Karroum will speak to his work as the director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar and as the founder and artistic director of L’appartement 22, an experimental collaborative space for exhibitions and artists’ residencies in Rabat, Morocco. Karroum’s presentation will be followed by a conversation with S. Hollis Clayson, professor of art history and Bergun Evans Professor in the Humanities, and Brian Edwards, Crown Professor in Middle East Studies.

Presented in partnership with the Department of Art History, the Program in Middle East and North African Studies, and with the generous support of Buffett Institute for Global Studies.


Dreams Are Colder Than Death [Film]

Tuesday, February 28, 5:30pm, FREE

Founded in 2012 to cultivate an interdisciplinary approach to the presentation of black arts on campus, the Black Arts Initiative has programmed a yearlong series of films that provoke difficult conversations around race and identity. This winter’s screening, Arthur Jafa and Kahlil Joseph’s 2014 documentary Dreams Are Colder Than Death, explores the question of what it means to be black in America in the 21st century through a series of interviews with individuals including visual artist Kara Walker, author Hortense Spillers, filmmaker Charles Burnett, and ex–Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver.

The screening will be followed by a moderated discussion.

Cultural Production, State Violence, and Subjected Positions of Transgressions

Wednesday, March 1, 5:30pm

The Northwestern Colloquium for Ethnicity and Diaspora provides a space for interrogating current issues of citizenship, race, and ethnicity. Join us for a panel that examines how national and state power leads to criminalization of racialized, gendered, queer(ed), and classed bodies. Speakers will focus on the impact of visual culture in shaping continual and momentary “states of emergency” and the way that this violence is documented, archived, and remembered.

The Artist in the Archive: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Kader Attia in the Herskovits Library

Thursday, March 2, 5:00pm

Northwestern University Library

As a foundation for producing his new commission for the Block, artist Kader Attia mined the holdings of Northwestern’s renowned Melville Herskovits Library of African Studies. The renowned library’s scope is as wide and diverse as the continent of Africa itself. Join Herskovits Library curator Esmeralda Kale for a look at objects in the library’s collection that formed part of Attia’s research. Members of AfriSem, a consortium of graduate students focused on African Studies, will explore intertwined areas of Attia’s research—architecture, pshychopathology, and prosthetics—taking materials from the Library as a point of departure.

Gallery Tour: Mining Pictures - Stories from Above and Below Ground

Tuesday, March 7, 4:00pm

Join Block Fellow Talia Shabtay for a closer look at her exhibition Mining Pictures, examining images of the mining industry and the cultural construction of visual stories depicting workers and labor.


Bearden’s Odyssey: Poets Respond to the Art of Romare Bearden

Friday, March 31, 6:00pm

Borrowing from Romare Bearden’s aesthetic palette and inspired by his Odysseus series, Bearden’s Odyssey: Poets Respond to the Art of Romare Bearden (Northwestern University Press/TriQuarterly Books) gathers, for the first time, poems from 35 of the most revered African diaspora poets in the United States. Join award-winning editors and contributors Kwame Dawes, Matthew Shenoda, and Chris Abani for a reading and discussion of Romare Bearden’s power and influence in the contemporary artistic world. Book signing to follow.

This program is organized by Northwestern University Press.

Visual Vanguard: Bisi Silva

Wednesday, April 5, 6:00PM

Bisi Silva is an independent curator and the founder/director of Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA, Lagos) where she initiated an innovative art program created with the aims of filling a gap in Nigeria's educational system. She was recently one of the curators for the Dak’Art Biennale, Senegal. Silva's presentation will be followed by a conversation with Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Block Museum Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs.

Presented in partnership with the Northwestern University Libraries and Department of Art History.