Fall 2017


Opening Day Celebration - Art, Music and Aquarius

Saturday September 23, 2017, 10AM–1PM

Over 1000 visitors celebrated the imaginative spirit that unites Blake and the Age of Aquarius. Guests made an original print with Spudnik Press, had poems typewritten just for them with Poems While You Wait, grooved to WNUR DJs and played along with Old Town School of Folk Music Counter Culture Jam Sessions with Jimmy T & Mary Peterson. 

Opening Day Conversation - Blake, Now and Then
Saturday September 23, 2017, 2PM

Northwestern Professor of Art History and exhibition curator, Stephen Eisenman and W.J.T. Mitchell, editor of “Critical Inquiry” and Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago, wxplored Blake’s role within his own time, his influence on countercultural American artists of the “long 1960s”, and the question “What is Blake’s relevance to our current moment?”

The lecture concluded with reception and WNUR DJ music until 5PM.


Ritual and Revolution: Janet Dees and Grace Deveney on Carrie Mae Weems

Wednesday September 27, 6PM

Janet Dees, Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Grace Deveney, Curatorial Assistant, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and Northwestern Ph.D. Candidate in Art History discussed Weems’s art and her exploration of universal human experiences through the black subject.


Love and Then Some: 1960s Protest and Liberation, Civil & Human Rights

Wednesday October 4, 2017, 6PM


Scholars from a range of disciplinary perspectives focused on the moment of the 1960s in the U.S.—considering protest and liberation, civil and human rights. Participating scholars included Michael J. Allen (History), Michael J. Kramer (History and American Studies), Amy Partridge (Gender & Sexuality Studies), and Martha Biondi (African American Studies and History).


Sankofa with Director Haile Gerima in person

Monday October 9, 2017, 4:30PM

Haile Gerima’s powerful film, Sankofa (1993), is a formally ambitious tale of a plantation slave revolt. The filmmaker was joined post screening by panelists Michael Boyce Gillespie (Film, City College of New York), Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin (Theater and Film Studies, University of Georgia), and Tukufu Zuberi (Sociology and Africana University of Pennsylvania).


Nelisiwe Xaba’s Fremde Tänze: Panel Discussion

Friday October 13, 9:30AM

The 2017 BAI conference, “Temporalities and Territories,” presented a panel of scholars and artists engaging South African dancer Nelisiwe Xaba’s dance performance, Fremde Tänze(Strange Dance), including choreographer/dancer Reggie WilsonHershini Young (English, University of Buffalo), Brent Edwards (English, Columbia University), and Aimee Cox(Anthropology, Yale University).


Ritual and Revolution: Panel Discussion

Friday October 13, 2017, 2:30PM

The 2017 BAI conference “Temporalities and Territories” presented a panel of scholars considering Carrie Mae Weems’s Ritual and Revolution including Michael Hanchard (Africana and Political Science, Univ. of Pennsylvania), Gina Athena Ulysse (Anthropology, Wesleyan), and Romi Crawford (Visual and Critical Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago).


Saree Makdisi: Beholding William Blake at the End of Empire in the 1960s

Wednesday October 18, 6PM

UCLA Professor of English and Comparative Literature Saree Makdisi discussed the historical parallels between Blake’s era and the 1960’s, examining how these concurrent histories are the result of profound changes in politics, economy, art, and society during their respective periods.

Presented in partnership with the Department of Art History


The Art of Purvis Young

Thursday October 19, 6PM

Lisa Corrin, the Ellen Philips Katz Director of the Block Museum was joined in conversation by Debra Kerr, Intuit Art Center Director, for a conversation about the exhibition “Looking Life Right Straight in the Face”: The Art of Purvis Young and the life and work of this under recognized American artist.


Abraham Cruzvillegas: Artist Talk

Wednesday October 25, 6PM

Abraham Cruzvillegas (b. 1968) is one of the most important conceptual artists of his generation to come out of the vibrant art and architecture scene in Mexico developing work inspired by the improvised building materials of Latin America. For the 2017 CAB Cruzvillegas spoke about a new international series, The Water Trilogy. 

Presented in partnership with the McCormick School of Engineering and the Department of Art Theory and Practice.



Michael Ferber: The Social Vision of William Blake 

Saturday October 28, 2017, 2:30PM

Why has the work of William Blake remained such a vital resource for dissenters, activists, and utopians? Michael Ferber, an antiwar activist during the Vietnam War and a defendant in the “Spock Trial,”  explored how Blake’s work reveals connections between art, belief, and action. 


Jean-Louis Cohen - Institute of Fine Arts/NYU- 

Building a new New World: Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture

Wednesday November 1, 2017, 5:00PM

 Jean-Louis Cohen is the Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU. In conjunction with the Chicago Architectural Biennial considered the paradoxical transfer between American and Russian architecture and culture throughout the 20th century.

This program was organized by the Department of Art History


‘Printing in the Infernal Method’: William Blake’s Method of ‘Illuminated Printing’ 

Friday November 3, 6PM 

In 1788 William Blake invented a method of relief etching that he called ‘Illuminated Printing’ making it possible to print both the text of his poems and illustrations of them from the same copper plate. Renowned Blake expert, Michael Phillips (University of York) conceptualized the innovation and Blake’s supreme achievement as an artist-printmaker.

Presented in partnership with the Department of Art History 


Stephen Eisenman & Brandan Fernandes on the Visionary Origin of Blake’s Prints

Wednesday November 15, 6PM 

Exhibition curator Stephen Eisenman and Brendan Fernandes, printmaker and Visiting Artist in Art, Theory and Practice  lead a gallery talk focusing on the social and political use of the print medium and Blake’s visionary combination of writing and drawing that inspired generations of political art. 


Indigenous Artists in Collaboration: Panel Discussion 

Wednesday November 29, 4:30PM 

Four contemporary Native women artists explored their collaborative practices uniting community and audiences, including Rosy Simas (Seneca, choreographer / performer), Heid Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Chippewa, poet, writer and filmmaker), Andrea Carlson (Anishinaabe, visual artist), and Debra Yepa-Pappan (Jemez, digital multimedia).  The artists we joined in conversation by Kelly Wisecup, Associate Professor, Department of English and Bethany Hughes (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), co-founder of the Colloquium on Indigeneity and Native American Studies.

Presented in partnership with Northwestern’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.