In its foundational years, The Block Museum of Art gained a reputation for groundbreaking exhibitions that considered the unique roles prints and printmaking have played within visual culture. The Block also began to build its collection around etchings, lithographs, screenprints, and other printed media. While the museum’s mission has evolved over time, prints continue to resonate with its aspiration to present art across time, cultures, and media and to inspire interdisciplinary discussions relevant to our lives today.
On the occasion of The Block’s 40th anniversary, For One and All: Selected Prints from The Block’s Collection celebrates prints and printmaking by bringing together a diverse range of artwork from the permanent collection. The exhibition will consider print production through various lenses layering complex histories of reproduction, circulation, collecting, and social activism.
Printmaking stands apart from other artistic media in its capacity for reproduction and dissemination and is an ideal medium for telling stories about human experience and visual culture to the broadest audiences. Because prints and works on paper are often paired with or incorporate text, they provide springboards for interdisciplinary ways of thinking about the past and present.
For One and All will place highlights from The Block’s collection, many of which have not previously been on view, into contemporary conversation with one another, and will provide an overview of the museum’s holdings in print media. The exhibition will include examples of works that have been in the collection since the founding of the Block, along with recent acquisitions and gifts. From reproductive engravings and early modern European prints, to Depression-era and social activist prints, prints by Chicago artists and those produced at print workshops throughout the United States, the exhibition surveys the depth and breadth of the Block’s print collection and showcases the vital role that prints serve within the context of an academic art museum.
Curated by Cait DiMartino, 2019–20 Block Curatorial Graduate Fellow, and Corinne Granof, Academic Curator.
Please note dates subject to change as Northwestern University's plans adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum will announce modified opening hours and procedures for visiting prior to the opening of the exhibition.