Fall 2016 Events

Download the Full Block Museum  Fall 2016 Program Calendar


Opening Program: Five Takes on Tseng Kwong Chi

October 01, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Opening Celebration for Tseng Kwong Chi - Performing for the Camera


He’s posed with Mickey Mouse or in front of Mt. Rushmore; in the thick of the Met Costume Ball or getting friendly with the politicians of the Moral Majority. His performative photographs range from candid snapshots with his club-going crowd, to staged encounters with American and European monuments. 

Tseng Kwong Chi was a Hong Kong-born, Vancouver-raised artist and photo journalist immersed in the downtown New York Art Scene of the 1980s. Combining personal identity with global politics, his photographs riff off the histories of multiple forms:  self-portraiture, touristic and landscape photography, and reportage, among others. Tseng’s images alternately function as witness to his life and community and as wry social commentary.

We invite you to join us in experiencing Tseng Kwong Chi’s photographs through the lenses of five local artists and thinkers. Through rapid fire presentations and performances, they’ll explore Tseng Kwong Chi’s legacy of cultural infiltration, political subversion and identity lived inseparable from art. Presenters include Chicago-based artists Rashayla Marie Brown and Leonard Suryajaya, Northwestern professors Joshua Chambers-Letson and Jessica Winegar, and Block Museum curator Janet Dees.

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The Big Draw: Tracing the Building

October 05, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Walter Kitundu is a multimedia artist and MacArthur Fellow whose practice ranges from building instruments to photographing wildlife. The Block Museum, a modernist structure designed by Chicago architect Dirk Lohan, sits a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan. As part ofEvanston’s city-wide Big Draw, people of all ages are invited to join Kitundu in drawing a response to the architecture and the view beyond.


Walter Kitundu is a sound artist and instrument builder, photographer, performer, installation artist, and designer (print, web, environmental). He is the inventor of a family of Phonoharps, multi-stringed instruments made from record players that rely on the turntable’s sensitivity to vibration. As an artist he has created hand-built record players powered by the wind and rain, fire and earthquakes, birds, light, and the force of ocean waves. He received a MacArthur Fellowship for his work in this field.

He has received public art commissions, residencies, taught as a visiting professor, and lectured on topics from the creative process to bird behavior.

Kitundu has performed and been in residence at art centers and science museums internationally. He has collaborated with the renowned Kronos Quartet, bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, the electronic music duo Matmos, and the legendary Marshall Allen - in venues from Carnegie Hall to a high school library in Egilstaadir, Iceland.


Opening Celebration: Salaam Cinema!

October 06, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM


Join us for the kick-off of the Block Cinema film series Iranian Cinephilia and a celebration of the exhibition Salaam Cinema! 50 Years of Iranian Movie Posters. The evening will feature a gallery talk by curators Michelle Puetz and Hamid Naficy, as well as a conversation and screening with “the father of Iranian animation,” Nouredeen Zarrinkelk.

5:00pm - Reception & Gallery Talk

6:00pm - Hamid Naficy in conversation with Michelle Puetz

7:00pm - Screening with Noureddin Zarrinkelk in person "Golden Quill: A Retrospective of Noureddin Zarrinkelk’s Animated Films"

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Keep the Shadow: The Body and Mourning

October 13, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Block Graduate Fellow C.C. McKee will draw connections between mourning-related objects and artworks from the Victorian Era and during the AIDS crisis—the foundation of his exhibition Keep the Shadow, Ere the Substance Fade: Mourning during the AIDS Crisis. McKee will be joined in conversation with professor Alessia Ricciardi, whose work has explored mourning from the perspective of psychoanalysis, literature and film.

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A Conversation with Muna Tseng

October 26, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Experience the work of Tseng Kwong Chi in a guided tour with Muna Tseng—choreographer, dancer, and sister of the artist.  Tseng, who is the trustee of the Tseng Kwong Chi estate, will lead a guided tour of her brother’s life and art, giving insight to work whose complexity is belied by its easy humor and grace.

Muna Tseng, choreographer-dancer, founder of Muna Tseng Dance Projects, has made over 30 original works, often in collaboration with composers, directors and visual artists engaged in contemporary practice. Her works have been performed in New York and presented around the world since 1979. 

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Chicago Humanities Festival Lecture - Hasan Elahi: Art and Surveillance

October 29, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM


How do our lives translate to data? After 9/11, Bangladeshi-born American interdisciplinary artist Hasan Elahi was the subject of an intensive, erroneous FBI investigation. He responded by putting his entire life online, from his financial data to transportation logs. The resulting project, “Tracking Transcience,” explores the relationship between location, repetition, technology, and surveillance in the media age.

The annual Richard Gray Visual Art Series recognizes a significant gift from founding CHF board member and distinguished art dealer Richard Gray. This program is presented in partnership with the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art.


Hasan Elahi is an interdisciplinary artist working with issues in surveillance, privacy, migration, citizenship, technology, and the challenges of borders. Elahi has spoken at Tate Modern, the American Association of Artificial Intelligence, International Association of Privacy Professionals, TED Global, and the World Economic Forum. He is currently the Associate Professor of Art at University of Maryland.


The Barnes: A Singular Museum's Past, Present, & Future

Wednesday, November 02, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Northwestern alumnus Thom Collins, an innovative museum director and accomplished art historian and educator, is the executive director and president of The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA. The Barnes is a renowned collection of post-impressionist and early modernist art that was established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to "promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of fine arts and horticulture." It has gone through significant transformation in its service to contemporary audiences since its move to Center City Philadelphia in 2012. Collins will share his perspective on the past, present and future of The Barnes and the museum field more broadly in conversation with S. Hollis Clayson, Professor of Art History.

This event is supported by the Block Leadership Circle in memory of Phyllis Weil Ellis and her deadication to the Block Museum.


Inquisitive Traveler: A Walk Through the World(s) of Tseng Kwong Chi

Thursday November 3, 12:00PM- 1:00 PM

My mirrored glasses give the picture a neutral impact and a surrealistic quality I am looking for. I am an inquisitive traveler, a witness of my time, and an ambiguous ambassador. - Tseng Kwong Chi (1950-1990)

Join us for a lunch time walk through the world(s) of Tseng Kwong Chi led by Block Museum Curator for Global and Contemporary Art, Janet Dees. By focusing on a few select works in the exhibition, Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera, Dees will highlight some of the impotant themes running through the artist's witty work.


Elizabeth and Todd Warnock Lecture Series: Jennifer Roberts (Harvard)

November 16, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

The first Elizabeth and Todd Warnock Lecture of the academic year.


Lucid Figurations: Iranian Movie Poster & Film Art

Thursday, November 17, 7:00pm
Filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad will open the "Lucid Figurations" symposium with a discussion and screening of her 2014 film "Tales".

Friday, November 18, 9:00am
Two panels featuring international scholars and artists will focus on the art of movie poster design and the culture of cinephilia in Iran. The symposium will close with a tribute to Abbas Kiarostami, presented by his son Ahmad Kiarostami.

Symposium co-sponsored by Northwestern University Department of Anthropology, Department of Radio-TV-Film, Screen Cultures Program, International Studies Program, Buffett Institute for Global Studies and the Center for Global Culture and Communication