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Geof Oppenheimer: Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressure

September 12-November 30, 2015
Geof Oppenheimer, DRAMA, 2014-2015, production still.
The Block Museum presents the first solo museum exhibition of the work of artist Geof Oppenheimer. Opening September 12, 2015, the exhibition will feature two new works commissioned by the Block, including Civil/Evil, a large sculpture occupying the museum’s Main Gallery, and the video, DRAMA, on continuous view in the Alsdorf Gallery.

Civil/Evil, probes structures of power and how they are communicated through material and image, pressure and release, upon the individual. The video, DRAMA, invokes how our relations to one another are shaped and predetermined by systems of exchange and labor. With each of these new works, Oppenheimer deepens his on-going investigations into the rational, regulating forces of human society, from political and economic systems to the proliferation of visual and textual rhetoric.

Included in museum group exhibitions and biennials nationally and internationally, this is the first solo exhibition by Oppenheimer in the city where he lives and works.

The Block recently expanded its contemporary art program, making a commitment to artists working globally. With this new initiative, the museum will undertake exhibitions and commissions of new works and will produce publications that consider an artist’s work within the context of his or her peers.

A publication about Oppenheimer’s work, to be released in spring 2016, will include essays by Dieter Roelstraete, member of the curatorial team for Documenta 14, who will survey Oppenheimer’s practice to date, and Anthony Elms, chief curator at the ICA Philadelphia, who will focus on the sculpture and video commissioned by the Block.

Support for this exhibition is generously provided by the Diane and Craig Solomon Contemporary Art Fund, the Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Public Programs

All programs are free unless otherwise noted.

Opening Day Program: A Conversation with Artist Geof Oppenheimer
Saturday, September 26, 2pm
McCormick Auditorium, Norris University Center

Artist Geof Oppenheimer will join the Block’s Director, Lisa Corrin, in conversation about the two newly commissioned works in the exhibition, Civil/Evil and DRAMA. Reception with the artist will follow at the Block.

Conversation: Artist Geof Oppenheimer and Guest Film Curator Will Schmenner
Thursday, October 15, 7pm
Block Museum

Artist Geof Oppenheimer has curated a special film series for Block Cinema. Join the artist and London-based film curator Will Schmenner in discussion of the series, followed by a screening of the art house satire Boss of It All (2006) at 8pm. See Block Cinema’s website for further details on the film series.

Conversation: Richard Sennett and Artist Geof Oppenheimer
Saturday, October 24, 12pm
Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall, Bienen School of Music

Richard Sennett, innovative thinker about cities, labor, and culture, takes a bird's-eye view of citizenship today in conversation with artist Geof Oppenheimer. This program is generously underwritten by Lynn Hauser and Neil Ross and is presented in partnership with the Chicago Humanities Festival as part of “Evanston Day.”

Tickets: CHF Member $12 / General Audience $15 / Student & Teacher $10

Gallery Talk: Art Historian David Getsy
Wednesday, October 28, 6:30pm
Block Museum

Join David Getsy, Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History and Interim Dean of Graduate Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, for a gallery talk in conjunction with the exhibition, Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures.

Lecture: Cultural Critic Brian Holmes
Wednesday, November 4, 6:30pm
Block Museum

In his lecture, The Cyborg in the Sphere, Brian Holmes explores the contemporary construct of the financial sphere and its inhabitants, the "masters of the universe,” in the work of Geof Oppenheimer.

A Poem is a Sculpture
Wednesday, November 18, 6pm
Block Museum

Visitors are invited to join artist Geof Oppenheimer for an opportunity to read and reflect upon poems selected in conjunction with his exhibition, Big Boss and the Ecstasy of Pressures.