Past Exhibits 2012

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Sound & Silence: John Cage Composing HImself, September 5 - December 21, 2012

Artists, musicians, and institutions around the world are celebrating what would have been Cage’s 100th birthday on September 5, including Northwestern, which holds one of the most important collections of Cage’s work. Co-curated by the Music Library’s assistant head Greg MacAyeal, and Nina Barrett, the Library’s communications specialist, Sound & Silence uses this collection to illustrate the major achievements of Cage’s life and to highlight some of its less well-studied episodes—especially an early stint in Chicago when Cage was still developing what would become his unique philosophy of sound, and a series of later visits he made to the Chicago area and the Northwestern campus for residencies and musical festivals.

 
The exhibit kicks off on September 5 with a lunchtime performance of John Cage’s famous “silent piece,” 4’33” in which performers are instructed NOT to play their instruments for four minutes and thirty-three seconds.
 
Among the materials featured in the exhibit is his score for Music of Changes, his first significant piece composed using the I Ching (Book of Changes), the ancient Chinese divination system. There are original  artifacts related to his soundtrack for the radio play The City Wears a Slouch Hat, produced for CBS as part of the same series that spawned Orson Welles’s infamous War of the Worlds broadcast, and taped in Chicago’s WBBM studios. (Though Cage’s broadcast didn’t provoke a massive Martian invasion scare, the fallout from it was nearly as devastating to him personally. The letters that outraged listeners wrote to CBS are now in Northwestern’s collection, along with an original typescript.) Other materials explore his relationships with contemporary musicians, artists, and thinkers, including Marshall McLuhan, Buckminster Fuller, Yoko Ono (whose relationship with John Lennon is sometimes said to have begun when she requested that he donate Beatles manuscripts to Cage’s Notations project), and Merce Cunningham, the trailblazing dancer and choreographer who became Cage’s life partner and frequent collaborator.
 
Sound & Silence also includes original audio and video commentary by Northwestern faculty members and others who worked directly with Cage, including former Music Library head Don Roberts, emeritus Northwestern music professors Frederick Hemke and Stephen Syverud, vocalist Barbara Froman Syverud, former music school dean Bernard Dobroski, and composers Peter Gena and William Brooks.
 
The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays 8:30 to 5, from September 5 through December 21, 2012. Members of the Northwestern community with a valid Wildcard can visit during all open Library hours.

Toward Freedom
April 23-August 31, 2012
In the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, 5th floor of the Northwestern University Library.
An exhibit of materials drawn from the papers of William Bross Lloyd, Jr. and the newsletter he established in 1952, Toward Freedom, is on display in the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies through August 31, 2012. Featured in the exhibit is correspondence between Lloyd and a number of prominent individuals such as Claude Barnett, Hubert Humphrey, Tom Mboya, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Norman Thomas. The exhibit also includes examples of pamphlets produced world-wide and flyers announcing public events in Chicago, all of which are related to various aspects of independence movements and liberation struggles. 

 

Maria Elena Walsh and the Art of Subversive Children's Literature

 

This exhibit introduces the 2011-12 FARA project of Alina Dunbar, a WCAS junior and member of Chapin Humanities Residential College. FARA, for those unfamiliar with it, stands for "Fellow Assistant Research Award," a program of Northwestern's residential college system. It pairs a Northwestern undergraduate with a res college faculty fellow to work collaboratively on a genuine faculty research project.

Under the direction of Jeff Garrett, Associate University Librarian for Special Libraries, Ms. Dunbar's project has been to research the prominent Argentinian writer for children, Maria Elena Walsh (1930-2011), specifically her adaptation of Carrollian nonsense in the novel Dailan Kifki. The thesis under investigation has been that nonsense fiction was used by Walsh as an undetected but effective instrument of subversion to criticize the patriarchal, authoritarian regimes that dominated the political life of Argentina during her lifetime.

Alina conducted her research both at Northwestern University Library, using the Hans Christian Andersen Award Archive in Special Collections, and at the International Youth Library in Munich, a journey for which she was awarded an Undergraduate Research Grant. She will be traveling to Argentina this summer to develop her project into a Senior Honors Thesis, also with substantial university support.

 

Choices: Alternative Cars, Alternative Fuels, May 15-August 17, 2012

From Henry Ford’s Model T to George Jetson’s flying bubble, cars have a special place in the hearts of American culture. The independence offered by the automobile is part of the American tradition. But can we sustain our love of the road?

As technology improves and the world gets smaller, we have come to realize the global impact of automobiles on the planet we call home. For the sake of saving the environment in which we live, we must find less impactful alternative to oil and the machines that run on it. With continued research, the future holds the promise of viable choices in the automotive marketplace.
 
Choices: Alternative Cars, Alternative Fuels opens May 15 and runs through August 17, 2012. The exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 10:00 pm, Saturdays 8:30 am - 12:00 pm.

Special Events:

The Electric Car: Race it and They will Come
A Lecture by Cam Suarez-Bitar
Tuesday, May 22, 3:30 pm
Forum Room, Second Floor, Northwestern University Library

Film Screening of "Who Killed the Electric Car"
Documentary narrated by Martin Sheen
Wednesday, May 16, 4pm


 

Papering Over Tough Times: Soviet Propaganda Posters of the 1930s
November 2, 2011 to June 15, 2012 (Extended through July 1st)
 
Drawing from its collection of hundreds of Soviet posters published in the Stalinist 1930s, this exhibit evidences Soviet government attempts to inspire, placate, inform, and frighten its citizens during an era of massive social engineering. While the visual and verbal rhetoric of the posters is often boldly optimistic in its support of Stalin's Five Year Plans and agricultural collectivization, they belie the concurrent realities of mass starvation, executions, and other hardships.
This exhibit is part of the Soviet Arts Experience. In one of the largest collaborative artistic efforts across Chicago, twenty-six of the city’s prominent arts institutions will join together in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to present The Soviet Arts Experience, a 16-month-long showcase of works by artists who created under (and in response to) the Politburo of the Soviet Union.

Step by Step: The History of Dance at Northwestern, March 26 – May 11

As early as 1866, the Northwestern Female College offered calisthenics to its students “for a small extra charge." As the University grew, dance and movement evolved with it, and in 1979, Professor Susan Lee created a Program in Dance in the Department of Theatre that would honor dance as a distinct discipline and support the artistic nature of the field, while encouraging emerging scholarly activity. Step by Step illuminates the way dance came of age, with a fascinating selection of archival materials as well as unique figurines from Lee’s private collection.  
 

Hidden Treasures of Northwestern University Library, January 23, 2012 to March 15, 2012

Many of the library’s most treasured materials are stored where visitors aren’t likely to encounter them. Visitors can see a selection of the library’s quirkiest materials from collections across the library. An original sketch by James Joyce, a spyglass used by 19th-century Alaskan explorers Robert Kennicott and Henry M. Bannister and a selection of unusually large batons once wielded by world-renowned conductor Fritz Reiner are but a few of the rare treasures.

www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2012/02/hidden-treasures-library.html


They Were Fighting for Our Freedom: American and Soviet Propaganda Posters of World War II

September 20, 2011-March 19, 2012
 
This exhibit, a collaboration between Northwestern University Library and the Peter the Great Museum/Kunstkamera, St. Petersburg, Russia, consists of several dozen American and Soviet World War II posters, grouped to reveal how similar themes—courage, strength in numbers, the home front, heroic military traditions, the vile foe—were developed in the different artistic languages of these two countries, but otherwise in surprisingly similar ways. The exhibit has already been shown at several venues across Europe, e.g. in Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, and The Hague.
 
This exhibit is part of the Soviet Arts Experience. In one of the largest collaborative artistic efforts across Chicago, twenty-six of the city’s prominent arts institutions will join together in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to present The Soviet Arts Experience, a 16-month-long showcase of works by artists who created under (and in response to) the Politburo of the Soviet Union.
 
The exhibit will run from September 20, 2011-March 19, 2012 and is located on the first floor of the Northwestern University Library and in the connector hallway to Deering Library.

Fighting for Egypt's Dignity: Breakthroughs and Challenges
Running from October 3, 2011 - December 15, 2011 in the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, 5th floor of the Northwestern Universtiy Library. (Extended through March, 2012).
 
In the winter of 2011, the whole world watched as first Tunisians, and then Egyptians, launched mass demonstrations that succeeded in toppling decades-long authoritarian regimes. This display, organized by Professor Jessica Winegar (Anthropology), presents an on-the-ground look at the causes, successes, and challenges of the ongoing revolution in Egypt. It features newspapers, photographs, videos, and revolutionary memorabilia collected by Professor Winegar in Tahrir Square as Egyptians fought for karama -- the "dignity" that had been denied them for so long.
 
Curated by Michael Wenzel (Ph.D. student, Anthropology) with Nazlı Özkan (Ph.D. student, Anthropology)

Dmitri Shostakovich at Northwestern
September 20, 2011-March 19, 2012
 
This exhibit, a collaboration between Northwestern’s Music Library and Northwestern University Archives, recalls Shostakovich's visit to Evanston in June 1973, including the ceremony awarding him an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts. In addition, this exhibit displays a small collection of rare, limited-edition musical scores by Shostakovich published in the Soviet Union during the 1940s.
 
This exhibit is part of the Soviet Arts Experience. In one of the largest collaborative artistic efforts across Chicago, twenty-six of the city’s prominent arts institutions will join together in 2010, 2011 and 2012 to present The Soviet Arts Experience, a 16-month-long showcase of works by artists who created under (and in response to) the Politburo of the Soviet Union.
 
The exhibit will run from September 20, 2011-March 19, 2012 and is located on the third floor of Deering Library in a case to the left of the entrance to the art reading room.