Best Act of Resurfacing

Northwestern University's Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art

Critics' Picks

Last August at Northwestern's Block Museum of Art, a pipe connected to the sprinkler system burst, showering the main gallery. No art was harmed in the deluge, but the building, designed by Dirk Lohan, sustained enough water damage to require it to reschedule its fall exhibit, "Steichen/Warhol: Picturing Fame," and close its doors till the end of the year. Director Lisa Graziose Corrin (who once commissioned an installation titled Drowned in a Glass of Water) assured the public that the Block would "sparkle" when it resurfaced, and in January the museum did just that, reopening with not only the Steichen/Warhol exhibit but a redesigned, more inviting lobby space (previously planned) and a second major show, "The Left Front: Radical Art in the 'Red Decade,' 1929-1940," which ran through June 22. It's all part of Corrin's vision of opening the museum's floodgates to discussion and collaboration. To that end, Susy Bielak, appointed last as year as the Block's first associate director of engagement and curator of public practice, organized a May artists' congress of activities inspired by the question "What should revolutionary artists do today?" Not only is the Block unsinkable, it's trying to make some waves.