Diana Thater: China, through April 23. With a pair of Hollywood-trained white wolves as her subjects, the L.A. artist has created a video installation examining nature, culture, and television. Thater's work confronts the optical and social aspects of television and its pervasiveness. The Renaissance Society; call 702-8670.
Post-War Chicago Works on Paper and Sculpture, through June 1. The exhibit features works by Chicago artists with an interest in outsider and folk art, including Leon Golub, AB'42; Jim Nutt; Gladys Nilsson; and Ed Paschke. Smart Museum; call 702-0200.
Innovations and Innovators: The School of Social Service Administration's Contribution to Social Work Practice, 1945-1975, through June 12. Honoring the 50th anniversary of the late Charlotte Towle's Common Human Needs, the exhibit focuses on the SSA professor emerita's three decades of practice. Special Collections; call 702-8705.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: The Transportation Revolution in Children's Books, through July 10. This exhibit examines how illustrators in several countries exploited the great changes in travel and transportation that followed the advent of the railroad and highlights books that appeared between the two world wars. Special Collections; call 702-8705.
Madness in America: Cultural and Medical Perceptions of Mental Illness before 1914, April 13-June 11. Examining visual images and concepts of "madness" in 18th- and 19th-century America, the 150 objects displayed include medical drawings, illustrations, advertisements, cartoons, and photographs. Each piece depicts insanity in some form, revealing how it has been defined and redefined. Smart Museum; call 702-0200. (See "Center Stage.")
Stan Douglas: Evening, May 10-June 10. Evening, a video project shot in five weeks on location in Chicago, explores how national broadcasts of local-news coverage first aided and later distorted the civil-rights movement in Chicago. The work follows three fictionalized TV stations as they struggle with social unrest, the "happy talk" news format, and TV journalism's mission. The Renaissance Society; call 702-8670.
Stan Douglas: Hors-Champs, June 11-June 30. A period piece that recreates the jazz movement of the 1960s, Hors-Champs uses a two-camera video format from the '60s to record a quartet performing Albert Ayler's Spirits Rejoice. Douglas, who completed the piece in 1992, dedicated it to the residents of South Central L.A. The Renaissance Society; call 702-8670.
W. H. Hoover/D. R. Sharp Lectures, April 23-25. Speakers including Bernice Johnson Reagon, Clayborne Carson, and Taylor Branch address the theme "Our God Is Able: A Retrospective on the Civil-Rights Movement as an Ecumenial and Interfaith Movement." Swift Hall; call 702-7170.
Works of the Mind Lectures, April 30 at 2 p.m. Continuing Studies lecturer George Anastaplo, AB'48, JD'51, PhD'64, speaks on "Mark Twain on Politics and Law." On May 21 at 2 p.m., English professor David Bevington lectures on "Aging and Dying in King Lear." Judd Hall; call 702-1722.
John M. Olin Center "The Virtues of Modern Democracy" Series, May 10 at 4 p.m. George Weigel, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Social Science Research Building; call 702-3423.
Ryerson Lecture, May 18 at 5:30 p.m. Divinity School professor Wendy Doniger on "Myths and Methods in the Dark." Ida Noyes Hall; call 702-8369.
Contemporary Chamber Players Ensemble, April 21 at 8 p.m. Stephen Mosko conducts works by Yi, Druckman, Eaton, and Babbitt. Mandel Hall; call 702-8068.
Beaux Arts Trio, April 28 at 8 p.m. The trio performs works by Mozart, Baker, and Schubert as part of the Chamber Music Series. Mandel Hall; call 702-8068.
University Symphony Orchestra: New Music Showcase, April 29 at 8 p.m. Barbara Schubert, X'79, conducts works by U of C graduate students Ricardo Lorenz, Sebastian Huydts, and Stacy Garrop. Mandel Hall; call 702-8069.
Blackwood Concert Series, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. Professor and pianist Easley Blackwood performs his work Ten Experimental Pieces in Rhythm and Harmony, as well as sonatas by Scriabin and Brahms. Mandel Hall; call 702-8068.
Organ Recital, April 30 at 5 p.m. Bruce Neswick performs works by Howells, Messaien, and Holby. Rockefeller Chapel; call 753-1191.
University Chamber Orchestra, May 13 at 8 p.m. Antoinette Arnold conducts. Goodspeed Recital Hall; call 702-8069.
Organ Recital, May 14 at 5 p.m. Wolfgang Rübsam performs. Rockefeller Chapel; call 753-1191.
University Wind Ensemble, May 14 at 3 p.m. Wayne G. Gordon conducts. Mandel Hall; call 702-8069.
Contemporary Chamber Players Ensemble Annual Young Composers' Concert, May 19 at 8 p.m. Barbara Schubert, X'79, conducts a program of world-premiere compositions by graduate-student composers. Mandel Hall; call 702-8068.
New Music Ensemble, May 21 at 8 p.m. Barbara Schubert, X'79, conducts. Goodspeed Recital Hall; call 702-8069.
"The Ten Plagues" from Israel in Egypt, May 26 at 8 p.m. Edward Funk, AB'92, conducts the University of Chicago Chorus in this work by Handel. Rockefeller Chapel; call 753-1191.
University Symphony Orchestra, May 27 at 8 p.m. Barbara Schubert, X'79, conducts Beethoven's Egmont Overture, Dvorák's Heldenlied, and Strauss' Ein Heldenleben, presenting the "heroic perspectives" of the three major 19th-century composers. Mandel Hall; call 702-8069.
Contemporary Chambers Players Ensemble, June 2 at 8 p.m. Stephen Mosko conducts works by Kim, Hovda, Yim, and Smith. Mandel Hall; call 702-8068.
Soir d'Eté: French Choral Music for a Summer's Evening, June 2 at 8 p.m. Bruce Tammen, AM'74, conducts the Motet Choir. University Church; call 702-8484.
Mostly Music Concert, June 11 at 4 p.m. Cube Contemporary Chamber Ensemble presents "Variations on America," with works by Ives, Crawford Seeger, Cage, Ewart, and Oliveros. Smart Museum; call 702-0200.
The Misanthrope, through May 14. Performed in rotating repertory with Travesties, Molière's play concerns a moral man forced to face his hypocrisy when he falls in love with a woman who embodies everything he hates. Court Theatre; call 753-4472.
Travesties, through May 14. Set in Zurich in 1917--when James Joyce, Vladmir Lenin and Tristan Tzara all happened to be in the city--Tom Stoppard's play brings the characters together in an exploration of art, politics, and love. Court Theatre; call 753-4472.
Off-Off Campus: Spring Quarter Revue, Fridays at 9 p.m., April 21-May 26. Off-Off Campus proves student improv is alive and well. University Church, second-floor theater; call 702-3414.
An Evening of Peformance Art, April 26-27 at 8 p.m. University Theater presents There Is No More Firmament by Antonin Artaud, Bad Angel of Fire by Terri Hudson, and Don't Look and It Won't Hurt by Jessica Young. Reynolds Club first-floor theater; call 702-3414.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, May 3-6 at 8 p.m. In Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are bit characters and old friends of the Danish prince. University Theater performs Tom Stoppard's vision of what might have gone on behind the scenes of Shakespeare's play. Reynolds Club first-floor theater; call 702-3414.
An Evening of Albee and Ives, May 10-11 at 8 p.m. UT performs Edward Albee's Finding the Sun and David Ives' English Made Simple. Reynolds Club first-floor theater; call 702-3414.
California Suite, May 12-13 at 8 p.m. UT presents three scenes from this Neil Simon play. F. X. Kinahan Theater; call 702-3414.
A Streetcar Named Desire, May 17-20 at 8 p.m. In Tennessee Williams' acclaimed play, Southern eccentricities become tragic flaws when Blanche visits her sister, Stella. F. X. Kinahan Theater; call 702-3414.
Inferno!, May 25-27 and May 31-June 3 at 8 p.m. (The May 27 and June 2 shows begin at 10 p.m.) In the century-old tradition of the University Blackfriars, two College students have created an original musical. The show is based on Dante's Inferno, with a few twists: The poem has become a medieval rock musical, where each infernal circle is ringed not only with a song, but a healthy bit of irony. Reynolds Club first-floor theater; call 702-3414.
Biomechanics: Why Flies Can Walk on the Ceiling and We Can't, May 6-7. The Continuing Studies program and the Alumni Association present a weekend exploration of the natural science of biomechanics: the interface between animals and the physical forces in their environment. Led by professors Andrew Biewener, Michael Dickinson, and Michael LaBarbera, the seminar ranges from the mechanical properties of bone and snail shells to the principles underlying lift generation by wings. Science Quadrangle; call 702-2160.
First Friday Lecture Series, first Friday of every month at 12:15 p.m. May 5: Continuing Studies lecturer Claudia Traudt, AM'81, on "`What Else Can One Do in the Time Before Sunset?' Thoughts--and Feelings--on Plato's Phaedo." June 2: Continuing Studies lecturer Joseph Alulis, AB'71, AM'77, PhD'87, on "Tocqueville and Revolution." Chicago Cultural Center; call 702-1722.
When Trees Grow on Money: Under the stress of extreme poverty, 20th-century American landscape painter Ralph Albert Blakelock began showing signs of mental illness--particularly in matters of money. He spent the last years of his life in an asylum, where he tried to carry out financial transactions with a large bankroll made up of landscapes he had painted in the size, shape, and colors of currency.
Blakelock's "currency" is among 150 objects presented by the Smart Museum in Madness in America: Cultural and Medical Perceptions of Mental Illness before 1914. Using artwork, advertisements, cartoons, photographs, and medical texts and instruments, the exhibit looks at depictions and perceptions of mental illness in America from the opening of the first colonial hospital in 1751 to the start of World War I. It also traces changing treatments and intertwining medical and cultural conceptions of mental illness. Americans of an earlier era experienced and dealt with insanity as both an illness and a spiritual condition. Through the years, issues of mental illness played a role in political and social debates over abolitionism, women's rights, and alternative medicine. The exhibit also examines how the boundaries between sane and insane activity have been drawn and redrawn in such areas as criminal and sexual behavior.
To complement the exhibit, the Smart Museum and the U of C Film Studies Center are presenting a series of lectures and films on "Visual Madness: Perceptions of Mental Illness in Popular and High Culture." This series, which runs through May 25, explores how insanity is visibly manifested, and how mass and high cultures have attempted to depict and understand madness. The exhibit remains at the Smart until June 11 and was organized by the Binghamton University Art Museum, State University of New York at Binghamton, in cooperation with Pennsylvania Hospital and the Arthur Ross Gallery.--Q.J.