Experiments in Form: Rethinking Abstraction and Materiality c. 1970: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Experiments in Form: Rethinking Abstraction and Materiality c. 1970

Experiments in Form: Rethinking Abstraction and Materiality c. 1970
7 PM-8 PM

Event Details

Date & Time:

Tue January 23, 2018
7 PM-8 PM


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


Join us as we celebrate the opening of the exhibition Experiments in Form: Sam Gilliam, Alan Shields, Frank Stella on now through June 24, 2018. The exhibition uses works in the Block Museum of Art’s collection by Sam Gilliam (b. 1933), Alan Shields (1944–2005), and Frank Stella (b. 1936) as starting points to consider how artists of the 1960s and 1970s challenged the conventions of visual art. These three groundbreaking artists questioned the popular understanding of painting and printmaking by asking whether a painting had to be a flat, rectangular object, affixed to a wall, and by using innovative materials and processes in their work.

Experiments in Form is inspired by the recent gift to the Block Museum of the painting One (1970), a quintessential example of Gilliam’s innovative “drape” paintings, which the artist began making in the late 1960’s. 

During this opening conversation Block curator Janet Dees and Northwestern Alumna and Museum of Contemporary Art curator Naomi Beckwith will discuss how their current projects have reinvigorated their thinking around the use of abstraction and materiality in 1970s American painting. The curators will consider the work of artists Sam Gilliam, Howardena Pindell, and Alan Shields, among others.

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at block-museum@northwestern.edu