Center Stage

Image courtesy the Smart Museum of Art

Paul Chan

Through April 12. Renaissance Society, 773/702-8670. Exploring the relationship between human law and sexual freedom, Chan uses the philosophy of the Marquis de Sade to investigate the loosening parameters of moral behavior since the 18th century. His exhibit also includes charcoal portraits of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, My laws are my whores (2008).

Artspeaks: Leon Fleisher

March 31, 7:30 p.m. Mandel Hall, 773/702-8080. Pianist Fleisher—forced to retire from the concert circuit at age 37, when he developed a neurological condition that immobilized two fingers on his right hand—recently regained use of his hand after years of medical treatments. Here he performs works by Bach, which appeared on his 2004 album, Two Hands, the first two-handed recording he’d made in 40 years. Associate dean and master of the Humanities Collegiate Division Thomas Christensen hosts a post-concert Q&A.

Your Pal, Cliff: Selections from the H. C. Westermann Study Collection

April 2–September 6. Smart Museum of Art, 773/702-0200. Westermann (known as “Cliff”) came to prominence in postwar America, bucking artistic trends to create a strange and sometimes upsetting collection of work. Featuring finished pieces as well as sketchbooks, tools, workshop furniture, unfinished projects, and correspondence from Westermann’s artist-friends, this exhibit explores the connection between the man’s art and his life.

Slavery, Abolition, and Human Rights: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Thirteenth Amendment

April 17 and 18. University of Chicago Law School. Featuring more than 30 legal, historical, political, and literary scholars, this conference investigates the present and past significance of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery—both a wellspring for American civil-rights legislation and a touchstone for international human rights. Contact Katie Turk ( or Emily Remus ( for more information.

Spring Weekend Study Retreat: Charles Darwin: A Continuing Challenge

May 1–3. Illinois Beach Resort, 773/834-0158. Organized by the Graham School’s Basic Program, this weekend honors the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species. Join Basic Program instructors in Zion, Illinois, as they discuss such topics as Darwin’s relationship with religion and the meaning of “species” in the naturalist’s magnum opus. On Saturday evening anthropologist Richard Milner—a Darwin-inspired songwriter and performer—provides entertainment. Early registration ends April 13.

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