Museum News - Press Coverage: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Museum News - Press Coverage

Media coverage of staff, collections and strategy at The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University

Apollo Magazine
These 41 silver gelatin and platinum prints by Edward Steichen constitute the third major group of works by the American photographer that has been donated by collectors Richard and Jackie Hollander to the Block Museum. Its holdings now include more than 130 of Steichen’s works, making the museum one of the most important worldwide for exploring the breadth and depth of his experiments with new photographic processes and with genres as diverse as portraiture, theatre, and advertising photography. ”
November 16, 2020
The Daily Northwestern
Corinne Granof, the academic curator at Block, said that a main objective of the series is to draw thematic connections to “Just Mercy” and bring out Stevenson’s heroism.“We wanted to kind of honor (Stevenson) too, and pick up on the themes that were really major threads in his book like justice and compassion,” Granof said.”
Melina Chalkia, November 4, 2020
Chicago Tribune
Visual art projects employed Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Grant Wood. But most of the artists were unknown and remained so. Of the 63 WPA works in the collection at the Block Museum at Northwestern University, said academic curator Corinne Granof, “you see expressive, gestural styles, you see sophistication while some are crude in style, but the themes stay pretty consistent — social action, labor struggles, inequality."”
Christopher Borrelli, July 15, 2020
Scene + Heard
“The Block is very aware of the power of museums to tell a story and using that in a way that gets us to question our assumptions about history and the narratives that we've been told that may leave out important perspectives,” Biggs said.”
Sarah Rosenblum, May 2020
Northwestern Magazine
"When I think about beauty, I think about this constellation of external qualities that are linked to eliciting positive emotions. I think about the feeling of pleasure, but I also think about what more can beauty do — what work it’s doing - Janet Dees, Block Museum Curator"”
Spring 2020
Chicago Reader
"When you have support, when you're applying for very big grants, whether it be NEA, the NEH, or competitive national foundations, if you are able to say, well we've already raised X, or we will match what you give us, with the state Arts Council funding, you begin to be able to leverage in order to demonstrate capacity to do things at the level of 'Caravans of Gold,'" Lisa Corrin says. "That Arts Council funding also shows that we have support in our community for this work, right? If the people of Illinois don't think what the Block is doing is relevant and meaningful to them, why should a national foundation come in and support you? So it's very important, it's as important through the message it sends as the dollars it gives."”
Kerry Cardoza, May 5, 2020
Daily Northwestern
While the Block has temporarily closed its physical doors, it has opened new ones online. Lindsay Bosch, senior manager of marketing and communications, said the museum built a page on its website called “The Block from Home,” which highlights some of the museum’s “favorite things” from the past few years. It showcases a selection of podcasts, blog posts and videos, as well as artist talks and links to essays and other publications. We believe in the first-person experience with a work of art,” Bosch said. “But expanding our online services will push our capacities as a museum.””
Zoe Malin, April 19, 2020
Chicago Tribune
With so many cultural offerings in town, it’s easy to overlook smaller or less central museums. Case in point: Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art, on the Evanston campus. The museum is also viewable, after a fashion, on the web. And as a sampler of the Block’s holdings, I like the longrunning Collection Spotlight, from the Stories from the Block blog. Each item spotlights one work, such as “Untitled #17 (Forest),” part of the haunting Night Coming Tenderly, Black series by Chicago photographer Dawoud Bey that was featured in an Art Institute exhibition last year.”
Steve Johnson, March 31, 2020
"The objective, both of the work curated in-house and the traveling exhibitions welcomed in from elsewhere, is to challenge visitors’ perceptions of the wider world"”
Paul Stafford March 9, 2020
ArtNet News
Those questionnaires were the curator’s idea, Lisa Corrin. She’s now the director of the Block Museum at Northwestern University. And I thought that was a really good idea because you know, this is an unusual [exhibition] experience. Thinking about how people react doesn’t really inform what I do, [but] it is important to me to know the lay of the land before I do a project. In Baltimore, I did my research and spoke to the community, and tried to understand the place before committing to the project.”
Terence Trouillot, September 25, 2019
The addition of Janet Dees (Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art) and Kathleen Bickford Berzock (Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs) to the Block Museum curatorial staff, in 2015 and 2013, respectively, has been a blessing to the university’s exhibition schedule. Under their curatorial expertise, the Block has made good on their mission to display visual art that looks broadly across cultures and time periods. Earlier this year, “Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa,” had the biggest opening day in the museum’s history. Curated by Berzock, the exhibition was eight years in the making, and involved thirty-two lenders from six countries. Dees is at work on a 2021 exhibition that hopes to put contemporary conversations around anti-black violence into a historical context. Dees was a 2018 recipient of a curatorial fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and was recently named an affiliate of Northwestern University’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.”
Kerry Cardoza, August 29, 2019
"Today it’s hard to throw a stone and not hit an art space of sorts—whether it’s in someone’s garage, apartment or a gallery or a museum proper. But, despite this ever-burgeoning community, Chicago still doesn’t get its due for being a global arts hub."”
Kerry Cardoza, July 17, 2019
Evanston Roundtable
Ms. Corrin also said, “Collectors like Mr. Keesee know that giving works of art to The Block ensures that these treasures will be studied and appreciated, particularly by new generations of students, for many years to come.””
June 26, 2019
Northwestern Now
The Block Museum of Art announces its exhibition schedule for 2019 – 2020. Four major shows, highlighting the diversity of global modernisms, will present a mid-20th century view of art as it is entwined with culture and politics around the globe.”
Stephanie Kulke, June 20, 2019
Verily Magazine
What sites you should see: The Block Museum of Art is free and open to the public and has hosted exhibitions like "Caravans of Gold: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa," "Pop America: 1965–1975," and "William Blake and the Age of Aquarius." ”
Kathryn Dennee, June 19, 2019
The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University recently acquired fifty photographs by Brett Weston.”
June 6, 2019
Art & Education
The images, which range from sweeping landscapes to botanical studies, were donated by Christian Keesee, who acquired a large collection of Weston’s work directly from the photographer’s estate in 1996.”
June 5, 2019
Apollo Magazine
In the 1940s, as Abstract Expressionism was coming to prominence, Brett Weston – son of Edward Weston – experimented with the possibilities of abstraction in photography. Landscapes and flower studies were defamiliarised through the use of high contrast and close crops. This group of 50 prints, donated by collector Christian Keesee, ranges from early work of the 1930s to photographs taken in Hawaii in the 1980s, towards the end of Weston’s life.”
June 5, 2019
Philanthropy News Digest
"At the Block, this group of photographs by Brett Weston will be part of a collection that includes seminal works of twentieth-century American photography [by] Edward Steichen, W. Eugene Smith, Alan Cohen, and the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information," said Block Museum associate director of curatorial affairs Kathleen Bickford Berzock. "They also will be seen alongside a growing collection of images by photographers working around the globe."”
June 5, 2019
“We are honored by this important gift of art from the Christian Keesee Collection,” said Block Museum director Lisa Corrin. “It highlights the value of the collection as a significant resource for faculty, students and the Chicago-area community. Collectors like Mr. Keesee know that giving works of art to The Block ensures that these treasures will be studied and appreciated, particularly by new generations of students, for many years to come.””
June 4, 2019
Apartment Therapy
Favorite free activity: The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University. This free museum is open to the Evanston community and hosts exhibitions, lectures, and workshops.”
Sydney Stone, May 24, 2019
The New York Times
Caravans of Gold is the first major exhibition addressing the scope of Saharan trade and the shared history of West Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe from the eighth to 16th centuries. Displaying more than 250 artworks, the exhibition features loans from partner institutions in Mali, Morocco, and Nigeria, many of which are being seen in North America for the first time.”
Kerry Hannon, March 12, 2019
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts will award a total of $413,500 in curatorial research fellowships as part of its fall 2018 cycle, the highest amount since the program began in 2008.”
January 23, 2019
“We’re thrilled first of all and very, very grateful to our colleagues at the National Museum of African Art,” Corrin said. “They really went the distance to make sure this can happen. It’s an incredible commitment on their part.””
Kate McGee, January 14, 2019
Art Net
"The Block’s board of advisors banded together to donate the cash for an endowment fund at the Northwestern University campus museum. The effort was spearheaded by board member Diane Solomon."”
January 12, 2018
Visit Chicago's North Shore
"With the holiday season behind us, it’s time for the harsh realities of winter to set in. But while it might be easy to snuggle up under a blanket and decide to never leave the house until spring arrives, why not make the most of the season?"”
January 11, 2018
The Art Newspaper
"Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, enlists national and international experts to assist with titles. Its 2016 traveling exhibition on the artist Charlotte Moorman was nearly called Think Crazy—a reference to the slogan used to promote the New York Avant-Garde Festival founded by Moorman." - James H. Miller ”
James H. Miller, March 26, 2018
Crain's Chicago Business
"To expose how advertising depicts women and African-Americans, Thomas has collected decades of print ads, stripped out the text and put the images alone on display." -Graham Meyer ”
Graham Meyer, March 9, 2018
The Daily Northwestern
“'During Jen’s visit, the care and sensitivity … and broadened vision I saw in meetings she and I were having were both fun and deeply philosophical,' Bielak said. 'As a curator, I saw clearly how wonderful it would be to have her at Northwestern and the kind of value she’d bring here.'” -Christopher Vazquez”
Christopher Vazquez, March 7, 2018
The Hill
"A collaboration, rooted in a long-running program between Northwestern and the Art Institute of Chicago, resulted in a course and an award-winning exhibition featuring an ancient Roman-Egyptian mummy. It brought together Argonne National Lab, and Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art as well as students and faculty from classics, sound design, materials science, computer science, medicine, archeology, and art history." -Julio Ottino and Adrian Randolph ”
Julio Ottino and Adrian Randolph, April 18, 2018
Chicago Tribune
"As an institution, Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art is doing the work of connecting today’s political turbulence and social unrest with that of the ’60s and ’70s. While 'William Blake and the Age of Aquarius' ended its acid trip through the galleries on March 11, 'Experiments in Form: Sam Gilliam, Alan Shields, Frank Stella' rages on into the summer, recalling a movement of formalist defiance taking place from 1964 to 1975. Think of it as a history project — one that reports on a protest against the conventions of painting and printmaking." -KT Hawbaker ”
KT Hawbaker, April 12, 2018
"Highlighting partnerships, innovations and strategies that can be applied across our campuses, more than 240 faculty and staff gathered last week at Northwestern University’s 11th annual Best Practices Forum to share ideas – and learn from colleagues." ”
May 24, 2018
Chicago Gallery News
"I relished the opportunity to create a new model for an academic art museum within a research university, a model that is focused on collaboration, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, rigorous research, and innovative exhibitions and programs." -Lisa Corrin in conversation with CGN ”
Lisa Corrin, May 22, 2018
Poetry Foundation
"Poet and artist Jen Bervin is in residence at Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art this winter, and her work will connect her with students as well as allow for some cross-disciplinary research 'in the diverse collections of Northwestern University Libraries – from its John Cage archives in the Music Library to textiles and ancient manuscripts in the Melville J. Herskovits Africana Library.'" -Harriet Staff”
Harriet Staff, February 19, 2018
Daily North Shore
"The festival has many goals, but primary among them is to cast a spotlight on the robust selection of literary events already going on in Evanston—a city that is home to an impressively vast population of readers, writers, and publishers. Coordinated specifically to coincide and partner with the Northwestern Spring Writers’ Festival in mid-May, the festival also aims to “bridge the literary gap” between the university and city." -Sherry Thomas”
Sherry Thomas, April 4, 2018
Chicago Tribune
"Theaters, musicians and artists all make up the group of 12 recipients of $30,000 in grant money awarded for the new fiscal year by the Evanston Arts Council’s annual Cultural Fund Grant Program...The goal of the program is to 'sustain and advance our community’s visual, performance, literary and media arts and to activate the extraordinary assets of the community to develop Evanston as an arts hub and destination.'" -Genevieve Bookwalter ”
Genevieve Bookwalter, June 12, 2018
Houston Chronicle
"'Beyond whatever I make, I’m on this mission just to get art repositioned in the broader landscape of all kinds of knowledge production. … And not just because it sounds cool or we want to pat each other on the backs,' [Robleto] said. 'I want to make the case because perhaps we’re only going to move forward if we do that in various fields.'" -Molly Glentzer ”
Molly Glentzer, July 13, 2018
"He received major commissions for wall sculptures, such as the one at the Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, in which the broadly representational elements that had formerly been perched on shelves or bars were freed, and instead scattered across the wall on which they were directly mounted." -Michael Paglia ”
Michael Paglia, September 27, 2018
Reel Chicago
Seeking to capture the museum’s active, ever-changing nature and spirit of inquiry, the museum refocused its image this fall with a strikingly bold “B,” and a new campaign asking patrons to ponder the question: “What’s inside The Block?” - Dan Patton ”
Dan Patton, October 31, 2018
Chicago Tribune
"In its focus on their work, “Up is Down” is a more than satisfying reminder that, done well enough, even work designed for consumption in the moment can find a way to live on." - Steve Johnson ”
Steve Johnson, December 5, 2018
Evanston Roundtable
Seeking to capture the museum’s active, ever-changing nature and spirit of inquiry, the museum refocused its image this fall with a strikingly bold “B,” and a new campaign asking patrons to ponder the question: “What’s inside the Block?” ”
November 14, 2018
McCormick Engineering News
“On paper, we can give lip service to the idea of cross-disciplinary thinking, but that’s just not enough for me,” Robleto said. “The heart of the problem is ‘what happens when you collaborate in such a way that both fields change in the process?’” - Alexandria Jacobson ”
Alexandria Jacobson, November 13, 2018
Art Daily
As the museum has continued to grow in scope, expanding the range of its free public offerings and the depth of its creative collaborations, The Block embraced the opportunity to reintroduce itself graphically to its visitors. Seeking to capture the museum’s active, ever-changing nature and spirit of inquiry, the museum refocused its image this fall with a strikingly bold “B,” and a new campaign asking patrons to ponder the question: “What’s inside The Block?” ”
November 1, 2018
Evanston RoundTable
"The Wilson Fund will endow the leadership position of the Block Museum engagement department, which oversees museum-wide education, programming, partnerships and communication efforts. The gift will also provide additional support for public programs and engagement between the museum and the larger Northwestern campus and community, including funding for youth educational programs."”
Evanston RoundTable, November 1, 2017
USA Today
"The Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art on Northwestern University's campus nails its aim to be a 'dynamic, imaginative and innovative' institution with the winter exhibit, 'William Blake and the Age of Aquarius.'"”
Jacky Runice, December 15, 2017
Northwestern Now
"The McCormick School of Engineering has long been a leader in multi-disciplinary innovation, intersectional research and 'whole-brain engineering,' and it is partnering increasingly with other fields of study, like art. In fact, Northwestern Engineering collaborates with Northwestern’s Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art to bring artists to campus to expose students to their processes while offering artists opportunities for their work to be nourished by interactions with Northwestern faculty.””
Storer Rowley, October 2, 2017
Art & Education
"The $1.5 million donation will permanently establish the Susan and Stephen Wilson Block Museum Engagement Fund, which will expand museum-wide education, programming, and partnerships and communication between Northwestern and organizations in the Evanston, Illinois community."”
October 2, 2017
Inside Philanthropy
"Nonetheless, the gift does something relatively unique in an arts philanthropy space obsessed with engagement: It creates an engagement fund mandating the museum engage the community—and provides a roadmap for it to do so."”
Mike Scutari, October 5, 2017
Chicago's North Shore
"If you ever find yourself at Northwestern, don’t leave without first visiting this art museum. Not only can you view pieces from around the world, but you can also listen to lectures, take part in workshops, and watch a variety of films."”
September 7, 2017
"Up on the north side, there’s Evanston, which is a nice lakefront suburb and home to Northwestern University, where you can visit the Block Museum of Art."”
September 7, 2017
Evanston Now
"'To get your fine arts fix for free,' Hanowell says, 'visit the Block Museum of Art on the campus of Northwestern University, within a fifteen minute bus ride from both The Merion and Ten Twenty Grove.'" -Charles Bartling”
Charles Bartling, September 11, 2017
The Daily Northwestern
"The Block Museum of Art is reviving the legacy of William Blake in an interdisciplinary exhibition that draws parallels between the artist’s work during the Romantic era and pieces he inspired modern artists to create."”
Jane Yun, September 27, 2017
"Susan and Stephen Wilson donated $1.5 million to the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University." ”
Tiernan Morgan, September 29, 2017
Art Daily
"The first exhibition to consider the impact of Blake on American artists from the end of World War II through 1970, the show features more than 150 paintings, drawings, photographs, films, posters and other medium from the 50s, 60s and 70s and more than 50 rare Blake rare engravings and pages from illuminated books which have been loaned from major collections including The Rosenbach in Philadelphia and the Yale Center for British Art."”
September 26, 2017
Chicago Tribune
"'Marie Watt was definitely an influence on my project,' Blount said. 'She helped put the puzzle together for me. And while participating in her sewing circle, I got to experience how quickly participants bonded with one another.'"”
Stephanie Kulke, August 2, 2017
Business Wire
"'Northern Trust is proud to continue supporting arts and culture in our communities,' said Mac MacLellan, Central Region President of Northern Trust Wealth Management. 'The Northern Trust Purchase Prize is a valuable aspect in our company’s ongoing tradition to build a solid, forward-looking foundation on which future generations can continue to achieve a higher excellence, and in a way specifically directed at the captivating world of art. We are pleased to share this tradition with such a worthy institution like the Block Museum.'"”
August 8, 2017
Art News
"Expo Chicago’s annual Northern Trust Purchase Prize, which allows a museum in the Windy City to acquire a work from the annual fair, will go to the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University." ”
Carolyn Twersky, August 9, 2017
"The Northern Trust Purchase Prize, which funds a local museum’s acquisition at the fair, will go to the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University. The museum will select a work from the fair’s Exposure section, dedicated to young galleries."”
August 10, 2017
Chicago Gallery News
"The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University has announced the receipt of a major endowment from Lisa (WCAS ’86) and Steven Tananbaum in support of its modern and contemporary art program."”
August 14, 2017
Big Ten Network
"The Block contains three galleries with changing exhibitions in keeping with its roots in the German kunsthalle tradition. This fall’s exhibitions range from the impact of British poet William Blake to the exploration of social justice in the art of Carrie Mae Weems. Its permanent collections cover various forms: prints, drawings and sculpture."”
August 26, 2017
New City Art
"Who makes art work in Chicago? Behind every painting, photograph and sculpture are curators, collectors, gallerists, foundations and untold legions of cultural workers who give shape to the art world as we know it. This year’s Art 50 pays tribute to those who toil behind the scenes to make it all happen and those whose fortunes fund it."”
Elliot J. Reichert, Kerry Cardoza, Nicole Mauser and Lee Ann Norman, August 31, 2017
Chicago Tribune
"In addition to its galleries in a Dirk Lohan-designed building on Northwestern's Evanston campus, the Block Museum has a vibrant sculpture collection both in the museum and about the campus featuring works by the likes of Hans (Jean) Arp, Barbara Hepworth, and Henry Moore. One of the highlights is the 1971 work 'Constellation,' by the Spanish artist Joan Miro. Constructed of cast bronze, and "likely sculpted by the artist's hands," the museum says, its round shape and "organic lines" suggest the celestial theme referred to in the piece's title. But there is whimsy here, too: Is that golden globe meant to suggest a nose on a face? Decide for yourself. The Miro now resides inside, in the lobby of the Ryan Center of the Bienen School of Music. If that is a face, it has a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan. If it is a heavenly body of some sort, it watches over the lake."”
Steve Johnson, July 6, 2017
Art Daily
"'Lisa and Steven Tananbaum are deeply devoted to public appreciation of the art of our time and are dedicated supporters of Northwestern and its commitment to making the arts part of the educational experience of all of its students,' said Lisa Corrin, the Block Museum’s Ellen Philip Katz Director. 'We are extraordinarily grateful to them for this visionary gift.'"”
July 12, 2017
North by Northwestern
"Kristine Aono’s American flag is not made up of nylon, polyester and cotton, but 65,000 rusty nails. Part of the Block Museum exhibition If you remember, I’ll remember, Aono, a Japanese American artist, created the installation 'The Nail That Sticks up the Farthest...' to honor each Japanese American displaced by internment during World War II."”
Isabella Jiao, June 1, 2017
Splash Magazine
"Recently the museum received a gift of 44 Edward Steichen photographs given by art collectors Richard and Jackie Hollander. These images range from Charlie Chaplin and W.B. Yeats to self-portraits and botanical studies." ”
Barbara Keer, June 6, 2017
"In 1918, [Griffin] and some female friends traveled to Tasmania, which resulted in some breathtaking nature paintings, including a deep-red depiction of a gum tree against a sunset that now lives at Northwestern University’s Block Museum." -Claire Zulkey ”
Claire Zulkey, June 8, 2017
Northwestern Now
"The talk provides a behind the scenes look at the exhibition of prints by German expressionist Lovis Corinth that the undergraduate curated at the Block Museum. Hodge is one of few undergraduate students granted the opportunity to curate works from the Block’s permanent collection."”
Stephanie Kulke, May 24, 2017
The Daily Norhtwestern
“The museum now has a broad collection of Steichen’s work with pieces touching every area of the artist’s career, enabling Block to tell the full story of Steichen’s contribution to art history" -Lisa Corrin in conversation with Amelia Langas”
April 12, 2017
Chicago Now
"The Wall of Respect, guest curated by Romi Crawford, Abdul Alkalimat and Rebecca Zorach will be the subject of many events and exhibitions throughout Chicago and Evanston. The original wall–-a collection of 14 designers, photographers, painters and others--resulted in a seminal mural for and within Chicago’s Black South Side communities. "”
Carole Kuhrt Brewer, February 7, 2017
Mining Industry Today
"The new photo-centered Block Museum of Art exhibit, 'Mining Pictures: Stories from Above and Below Ground,' explores the visual representation of industrialization and the plight of the common laborer."”
February 8, 2017
Digital Learning Northwestern
"Says Dr. Walton, 'It’s a project-based class where the students invest themselves in understanding how art and artifacts are created, a burgeoning field called ‘Technical Art History,’ where science, technology, and art merge.'"”
January 31, 2017