If You Remember, I’ll Remember

February 4 - June 18, 2017
Main Gallery


If You Remember, I’ll Remember is an invitation to reflect on the past while contemplating the present through works of art exploring themes of love, mourning, war, relocation, internment, resistance, and civil rights in 19th and 20th century North America. This exhibition includes works by artists Kristine Aono (b. 1960), Shan Goshorn (b. 1957), Samantha Hill (b. 1974), McCallum & Tarry (active 1998-2013), Dario Robleto (b. 1972), and Marie Watt (b. 1967). By engaging with historic documents, photographs, sound recordings, oral histories and objects of material culture drawn from institutional and informal archives, these artists highlight individuals’ stories or make connections to the their own histories. Some make explicit links to events across time periods, while in others these associations are implicit.

2017 marks two milestones that connect to works in this exhibition. February 19th is the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 which ordered the war-time internment of over 120,000 Japanese-American citizens and residents living on the west coast of the United States. June 12th is the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision of the case Loving v. Virginia, which found laws prohibiting interracial marriage— then in effect in sixteen states—unconstitutional. Touchstones for other works include a class photograph of students at Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian Industrial School (operational 1879-1918), documents from a Chicago family archive relating to the early history of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, a photograph of an early 20th century Potlatch off Vancouver Island, and the love letters of soldiers who served in various wars in which the United States was involved. If You Remember, I’ll Remember juxtaposes themes and histories that are rarely considered in relationship to each other. Together these works pose questions about the purposes and processes of remembering and the responsibilities of those who remember. 

Related Events for If You Remember


Marie Watt: Sewing Community

Thursday, April 20, 6PM

This winter, community members from Northwestern, Evanston, and beyond joined together with artist Marie Watt to lend their hands to sewing circles, embroidering words of equity, maternity, and empowerment. These stitches and conversations have become part of a new work for the exhibition “If You Remember, I’ll Remember.” Join us for the unveiling of this project and to speak with Watt about her community-based and participatory practice.


Open Engagement Open House

Friday, April 21, 10AM – 2PM

The Block Museum throws open its doors to artists, scholars, practitioners, and advocates of socially engaged art from around the world visiting for the free Open Engagement national conference. Join us as curator Janet Dees introduces “If You Remember, I’ll Remember,” artist Samantha Hill shares her work on the American South, curator Susy Bielak describes the partnerships involved in community-based practice, and professor Rebecca Zorach goes behind-the-scenes with the exhibition “We Are Revolutionaries” Free lunch with RSVP.

The program is presented in conjunction with the conference Open Engagement 2017 – JUSTICE.


Reparations in the Native American and Japanese American Context

Wednesday, April 26, 6PM

What does it mean to be indebted—politically, economically, artistically, or ethically? Artist Kristine Aono, whose work is featured in the exhibition “If You Remember, I’ll Remember,” will be joined by Smith University’s Laura Fugikawa (Women and Gender Studies) as well as Northwestern’s Kelly Wisecup (English) and Ji-Yeon Yuh (History) to discuss the theory and complexity of reparations in American history.

Copresented by the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and made possible in part by the support of the Harris Lecture Fund.


The Pulse Armed with a Pen: An Unknown History of the Human Heartbeat

Wednesday, May 10, 7PM

Segal Visitors Center (1841 Sheridan Road)

Transdisciplinary artist and “citizen-scientist” Dario Robleto is featured in the exhibition “If You Remember, I’ll Remember” and serves as Artist in Residence in Neuroaesthetics at the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering. In a performative lecture that is part storytelling, part original research, and part rare-sound archive, Robleto will expand on his research into the human heartbeat.

Presented in partnership with the McCormick School of Engineering


The Loving Story (Nancy Buirski, 2011)

Thursday May 11, 6PM

This documentary film tells the dramatic story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple living in Virginia in the 1950s, and their landmark Supreme Court Case, Loving v. Virginia, that changed history.

If You Remember, I’ll Remember organized by Janet Dees, Curator, Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, and its title is taken from a 2013 essay by the artist Dario Robleto.

This exhibition is funded through support from the Bernstein Family Contemporary Art Fund, Stephen, Dianne, Katy and Becky Loeb, the Diane and Craig Solomon Contemporary Art Fund, the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the Mary and Leigh Block Endowment.

[Download Images for Press]

Image (top): Marie Watt, Witness, 2015, 71 × 180.5 in. Reclaimed wool blanket, embroidery floss, thread.  Image courtesy of the artist, Photograph by Aaron Johanson

Image (bottom): Kristine Aono, Deru Kugi Wa Utareru: The Nail That Sticks Up the Farthest Takes the Most Pounding, 21 x 18 x 9 ftNails, documents, wood, styrofoam, burlap sacks. Image courtesy of the artist.