Winter 2018


Blake as Poetic Inspiration

Thursday, January 11, 5:30 PM

All experience levels were welcome to a poetry discussion and creative writing workshop sparked by the exhibition, William Blake and the Age of Aquarius. After engaging with the exhibition, participants composed original poems through the lens of the works on view. Led by Maggie Queeney, of the Poetry Foundation.

Presented in partnership with the Poetry Foundation


Curators in Conversation: Behind the Scenes of Roman Egypt Portraiture

Wednesday, January 17, 6PM

The Block Museum presented a behind-the-scenes look at Paint the Eyes Softer with archaeologists, art historians, scientists and scholars of the ancient world. Audiences learned from their insights into the Roman past including their discovery of what lies beneath the wrappings of a mummy featured in the exhibition Paint the Eyes Softer. With curators Essi Rönkkö, Taco Terpstra, and Marc Walton in conversation with Emily Teeter, Egyptologist, Oriental Institute.

Paint the Eyes Softer was organized by Northwestern’s Block Museum in collaboration with the University’s McCormick School of Engineering, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, and School of Communications


Rethinking Abstraction and Materiality c. 1970

Tuesday, January 23, 7PM

In conjunction with the exhibition Experiments in Form, Janet Dees, Block curator, and Naomi Beckwith, Museum of Contemporary Art curator and Northwestern alumna,l discussed the use of abstraction and materiality in 1970s American painting, including the work of artists Sam Gilliam, Howardena Pindell, and Alan Shields, among others.


“Facing Objects - Busts of Children and the Case of Simon of Trent”

Wednesday, January 24, 5PM

Art Historian Jeanette Kohl, University of California, Riverside, explored portraiture in the Italian Renaissance, focusing on the intersection of social history and religion. She discussed the form and function of sculpted portraits and their relationship to larger aspects of culture, identity, and aesthetics.

This program was organized by the Department of Art History



Witness Quilt

Wednesday, January 31

6PM Welcome at Block Museum of Art

7-9PM:  Sewing Circle at Segal Visitors Center

William Blake recognized artmaking as a powerful tool to address the pressing social issues of his time. In this spirit, we invited  campus and community to experience his art and join Melissa Blount, Evanston-based artist and activist and creator of the Black Lives Matter Witness Quilt, to produce a new collaborative work of art. Over 160 people took part in this inspirational event.


Blake in Performance, Blake at the End of Times

Wednesday, February 7, 6PM

William Blake’s art was experienced through music when students from the Bienen School of Music performed two song cycles inspired by Blake: Benjamin Britten’s 1965 Songs and Proverbs of William Blake and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s 1957 Ten Blake Songs. The performances will took place in the museum's gallery surrounded by Blake's original works. This program also include an exhibition lecture by Jacob Leveton and John Murphy, Art History professors and contributors to the "William Blake and the Age of Aquarius" exhibition catalog.

Presented in partnership with the Bienen School of Music


Mad Song

Tuesday, February 20, 7PM

Regenstein Recital Hall

Twelve student vocalists from the Bienen School of Music performed Mad Song, a work by Chicago composer, flutist and vocalist Janice Misurell-Mitchell that translates the text and imagery of a William Blake’s poem by the same name into a sonic experience. The performance was preceded by a discussion by Misurell-Mitchell and the performance conductor, A.J. Keller, DMA candidate in Choral Conducting, about the experimental work and its process.

The Block will be open until 7pm for exhibition viewing

Presented in partnership with the Alice Kaplan Institute for Humanities


Artists’ Talk with Jen Bervin

Wednesday, February 21, 6PM

Artist and writer Jen Bervin embraces subjects as wide ranging as the Mississippi River, Emily Dickinson’s poetry, and the history of silk, weaving, and nanotechnology. The artist joined Jeanne Dunning, Art Theory & Practice professor, and Susy Bielak, Susan and Stephen Wilson Associate Director of Engagement/Curator of Public Practice, for a conversation about Bervin’s work. In winter 2018, Jen Bervin was a Kaplan Artist-in-Residence hosted by the Block Museum of Art.

Presented in partnership with the Alice Kaplan Institute for Humanities


The Garden in Winter

Wednesday, February 28, 6PM

Inspired by the work of William Blake, poets Ed Roberson, Reginald Gibbons, Rachel Jamison Webster, and Parneshia Jones joined Tristram Wolff, English and Comp Lit professor, for a talk and poetry reading. Wolff  discussed the theme of the garden in Blake’s poems, followed by a reading of Blake’s work as well as their own, bringing the light of spring to the heart of winter.

Presented in partnership with the Center for the Writing Arts


Paint the Eyes Softer

Wednesday, March 7, 4:30PM

Block Museum hosted a special talk on Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Ancient Egypt led by exhibition curators and Northwestern students who participated in the development of the exhibition. Audiences learned more from their insights into the Roman past including their discovery of what lies beneath the wrappings of a mummy featured in the exhibition.

Paint the Eyes Softer is organized by Northwestern’s Block Museum in collaboration with te University’s McCormick School of EngineeringWeinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicineand School of Communications.


Curating from the Collection: Scott Krafft and Corinne Granof on William Blake and the Age of Aquarius

Thursday, March 8, 4PM

How does an artist’s work speak across generations? Corinne Granof, Block Museum curator, joined Scott Krafft, curator of Northwestern’s McCormick Library of Special Collections, in an exhibition walk-through focusing on William Blake’s impact on American artists, poets and musicians from the 1940s through the 1960s. They explored themes of rebellion and resistance, hippie culture and youth movements, and parallels between countercultures across centuries.


Tales of Art at the Block

Saturday, March 10, 11AM

Museums are full of stories. Children and caretakers joined us for a read-aloud story time, then took a family-friendly tour of our galleries to uncover more stories hidden beneath the surface of the art at the Block. They explored ancient objects (and a real mummy!) in our exhibition, Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt.