Upcoming Programs


Tales of Art at the Block

Thursday, June 21, 3PM

Tuesday, July 10, 12PM

Friday, August 3, 11AM


Museums are full of stories. Join us for a storytime plus family-friendly activities to look closer and think deeper about the art at the Block. Geared for children ages 3-8 but all are welcome. Space is limited and registration is required. 


Afternoon Tour

Campus Art Walk

Wednesday, July 25, 12PM

Wednesday, August 8, 12PM

Wednesday, August 15, 12PM


16 extraordinary outdoor sculptures constitute a permanent public display maintained by the Block Museum of Art. Situated in proximity to the museum on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus, with landscaping and placement designed by architect John Vinci, access to these artworks is free and open to all.  Please join Northwestern student docents and interns for a lunchtime tour that kicks off in the Block Museum Lobby. 



Paul Chan: Happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization
With Curator Michael Metzger

Wednesday, July 18, 12PM


Paul Chan (b. Hong Kong, 1973) is an American artist, activist, writer, and publisher. His work reflects a strong commitment to the relation of politics and aesthetics, philosophy and popular culture, art and grassroots activism. His first major artwork Happiness (Finally) After 35,000 Years of Civilization presents a 15-minute looped digital Flash animation inspired by as much by the history of utopian thought and the US invasion of Iraq as by Web 1.0 banner ads. In Happiness, Chan communicates a sense of living through a pivotal passage in history, but one whose competing stories and larger horizons remain obscure. Join exhibition co-curator Michael Metzger, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts, for a lunchtime tour and discussion of the exhibition.



Hank Willis Thomas: UNBRANDED 

With Curator Janet Dees

Wednesday, August 1, 12PM


How do images in advertising campaigns perpetuate ideas about race, gender, and class? The exhibition Hank Willis Thomas: Unbranded brings together selections from two bodies of work by renowned American artist Hank Willis Thomas (b.1976): Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America 1968-2008 and Unbranded: A Century of White Women 1915-2015. Thomas removes slogans and product names from historical and contemporary advertisements, asking us to confront the impact of images on the popular imagination. Join exhibition curator Janet Dees, Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, for a lunchtime tour and discussion of the exhibition.



Only in Chicago - Opening Day Conversation with Author Thomas Dyja, The Third Coast

Saturday, October 6, 2PM


In the 1950s, Chicago-based design firm Goldsholl and Associates made a name for itself with innovative "designs-in-film." Headed by Morton and Millie Goldsholl, the studio produced artistically-inspired television spots, films, trademarks, and print advertisements for international corporations like Kimberly-Clark, Motorola, and 7-Up. Combining Bauhaus-influenced aesthetics with commercial advertising success, the firm exemplified the way in which Chicago served as the nation’s design capital and a crucial testing ground for ideas connecting art, industry, design, and film.

Thomas Dyja, third-generation Chicagoan and author of the award-winning Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream, will discuss why Chicago was fertile ground for the Goldsholls’ work— and explore the mid-century circumstances that united culture and industry across the city. In conversation with Dyja, exhibition co-curators Amy Beste and Corinne Granofwill share insight into the groundbreaking work of the Goldsholl Associates, tracing its artistic influences, including those of artist and designer László Moholy-Nagy, as well as the Firms’ lasting design legacy.



Break a Rule: Ed Paschke’s Art and Teaching

Wednesday, October 10, 6PM


Renowned Chicago painter and educator Ed Paschke (1939–2004) often began his classes with the assignment to “break a rule.” A bold innovator who enjoyed disrupting conventions, Paschke mentored students for over two and a half decades at Northwestern University, continually coaching them to think outside the box. His work and his teaching were devoted to experimentation, playful exploration of the human experience, and capturing “every manner of humanity.” Join us to celebrate the opening of the exhibition Break a Rule: Ed Paschke’s Art and Teaching (September 18 - December 9, 2018). Explore Paschke’s art and teaching through the lenses of his former colleagues and students— including insights into Paschke’s work, his circle (the Hairy Who and Chicago Imagists), his reputation in Chicago and beyond. Artists Zach BuchnerBill CongerAntonia Contro and Anna Kunz will discuss their personal experiences with Paschke as an innovative educator in a conversation moderated by Block Museum Fellow and exhibition curator Beth Derderian, doctoral candidate in anthropology.

This program is co-presented by Northwestern's Block Museum of Art and Department of Art Theory and Practice and presented in conjunction with Art Design Chicago.



Ellen Lupton: Design is Art People Use

Wednesday, October 24, 6PM


Inspired by the exhibition Up Is Down, writer and curator Ellen Lupton will show how experimental media have transformed commercial design. In the 1950s and 60s, the Goldsholl design firm’s creative explorations of light and media found their way into lucrative television commercials and industrial patents. Lupton will explore pivotal examples of how abstract or speculative practices can critique, predict, or transcend the limits of everyday design. From the Bauhaus to Minority Reportand Black Mirror, the strange and alarming visual languages invented by creative artists have the power to melt into daily life. Today’s digital culture blurs the boundaries between art and commerce, transforming what see and how we see it. Ellen Lupton is curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).


Gallery Talk

Break a Rule: An exploration of Ed Paschke’s innovative teaching and art making
Wednesday, November 28, 6PM

A bold innovator who enjoyed disrupting conventions, Chicago artist Ed Paschke (1939–2004) mentored students for over two and a half decades to think outside the box. Join exhibition Block Museum Fellow and curator Beth Derderian, doctoral candidate in anthropology, for a discussion of the tenets at the core of Paschke's convention-breaking teaching and artistic practices.