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The "Block" Stops the Clock

A Museum Takes the Time to Secure Its Collection

Last spring, it was announced with fanfare that Northwestern University's Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art had received a donation of 49 photographs by Edward Steichen, an Olympian of 20th century photography.George Washington Bridge by Edward Steichen

This was big news. The Block Museum was one of only three in the country that received donations -- the others were the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The works were gifted by Richard and Jackie Hollander, LA-based collectors who bought the images directly from the Steichen estate. The photos are highly coveted silver gelatin prints made by Steichen himself, who died in 1973.

An exhibition of the new acquisition was supposed to open at the Evanston museum this week, but last month the Block Museum announced that they would be closed for the rest of the year for "unexpected facility repairs."

In August, a pipe in the sprinkler system burst and damaged the main gallery. Fortunately none of the collection was affected, and all artwork has been moved off-site while repairs are made. Chicago Tonight was told that moving the collection was just a precaution while they take the time to examine the building's entire sprinkler system.

Clara Bow by Edward SteichenSo if you want to see a master's photographs, you'll have to wait until the new year. The exhibition, called Steichen/Warhol: Picturing Frame (a set of Andy Warhol photographs are part of the show) is now set to open on Jan. 17, 2014 and run through April 6.  An exhibition on experimental Polaroid photography on loan from Vassar College has been canceled.