The Northern Illinois University Art Museum’s spring DATA Exhibition Suite delves into the array of manner in which data surrounds us, impacts us and is interpreted. Four exhibitions open on March 28 with a public opening reception from 5 – 8 p.m. with informal artist gallery talks beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Mesh, Steven Cartwright

Stephen Cartwright. Mesh (Human Powered Outdoor Activity 2015), 2018. Acrylic, hardware (24 x 107 x75 in.). Courtesy the artist.

Museum staff members, Exhibition Advisory Committee and guest co-curator Richard Siegesmund, Professor of Art+Design Education in the NIU School of Art and Design, assembled a range of artists engaged with data visualization in the BIG/-driven/Visualized… exhibition. From the enormous amount of bytes of information constantly being produced, collected and analyzed; to the notion that decisions are made objectively when based on data; to the nuanced means of making numerical information comprehensible and compelling through graphic and physical representation, BIG/-driven/Visualized… explores the data in our lives.

Included in the Suite are three Graduate Museum Studies student-curated exhibitions with support and guidance from Instructor Peter Van Ael. Mindful & Aspirational Projection Systems presents mapping data with a local twist; From Beginning to End? suggests data is the fabric of life and universe while asking, “does it last forever?”; and The What and How explores the value of data, its neutrality and manipulation. All exhibitions are on view March 28 through May 17, 2019 with a series of related thematic programming events, artist lectures and informal curator talks. The DATA Exhibition Suite is sponsored in part by Northern Public Radio WNIJ/WNIU.

Paper Forest - Anne J. Lindberg

Anne J. Lindberg. Paper Forest, 2014. Graphite on paper. (individually framed 10 x 10 in.). Courtesy the artist.

Additional Exhibition Support
Artwork and objects for the DATA exhibition suite are on loan from the exhibiting artists; the James B. and Rosalyn L. Pick Museum of Anthropology; the Map Collection of the Rare Books and Special Collections and Regional History Center and University Archives, Founders Memorial Library at NIU.

Calendar of Events

Thursday, March 28
Public Reception
5-8 p.m., Art Museum
Thursday, March 28
Informal Talks by Exhibiting Artists in the Gallery, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 2
BIG, -driven, Visualized Curator’s Informal Gallery Talk
Richard Siegesmund, Professor of Art Education & Design
5:10-6:30 p.m., Art Museum

Thursday, April 11
Computer Science on the Chicago Streets: Conversations on Data Visualization
Curator Richard Siegesmund moderates a discussion with Michael Papka, Professor of Computer Science and Joe Insley, Assistant Professor of Design talking about their Argonne National Lab research and its visualization among other things.
5:05-6:00 p.m., Altgeld 125

Sunday, April 14
Spreading Ideas about DATA.
Richard Siegesmund, Professor of Art Education & Design and Stuart W. Henn, Museum Education Coordinator examine several Data related TED Talks and other recorded presentations.
1-3 p.m., Altgeld 125

Tuesday, April 16
Floating Data
Artist’s Talk, Stephen Cartwright, Associate Professor, School of Art + Design, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
5:05-6:00 p.m., Altgeld 125

Thursday, May 2
When Data has a Personality: Chatbots and Robots.
Emeritus professor of history, Stephen Haliczer explores the actual and potential expression of human like forms of excessive compulsive behavior in chatbots and robots.
5:05-6:00 p.m., Altgeld 125

Saturday, May 4
Open for ARTIGRAS!
3-7 p.m.

Thursday, May 9 at 6 p.m.
Friday, May 10 at 12:10 p.m.
DATA: What Really Counts?
Featuring dance students of NIU School of Theatre and Dance, students respond to and interpret artwork in the gallery through performance.
Art Museum galleries

All events are free unless otherwise noted. Programs are subject to change. Please check our website for additions and updates. For questions please phone 815-753-1936.

The exhibiting artists are: Christopher Baker, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC); Michael Banicki, Chicago (NIU alumnus); Courtney Barr, Louisiana State University; Stephen Cartwright, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; AnnieLaurie Erickson, Tulane University; Chad Erpelding, Boise State University; Andrew Hunter, SAIC; Joseph Insley, School of Art and Design, Northern Illinois University; Anne Lindberg, University of North Carolina, Wilmington; Nathalie Miebach, Massachusetts College of Art; Andrew O’Brien, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga; Michael Oliveri, University of Georgia; Kim Rice, Baltimore; Jason Salavon, University of Chicago; Frances Whitehead, SAIC, (NIU alumna); Kalina Winska, Valdosta State, GA; Yamin Xu, Northern Illinois University, (NIU Graduate student); and Samuel Yates, Rhode Island School of Design.

About the guest curators
BIG/-driven/Visualized… works were culled from a national call for entry and by invitation and was co-curated by NIU Art Museum staff members, Exhibition Advisory Committee and Richard Siegesmund, Professor of Art+Design Education in the NIU School of Art and Design. Siegesmund has an interest in both quantitative and qualitative research, and the design of data reports that promote thoughtful public reflection and discussion. This spring he is teaching a course on data visualization and educational assessment.

NIU Museum Studies student curators
Larissa Barnat, Brian T. Cory and Nathaniel Pendergraft with instructor Peter van Ael.

About the NIU Art Museum
Serving Campus and Community by Balancing Traditional and Contemporary Art to Explore the Connections Made through Visual Culture.

Part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts‘ vibrant and active arts community on campus, the Northern Illinois University Art Museum is a resource for the NIU campus, local community and beyond. The NIU Art Museum is located on the first floor, west end of Altgeld Hall, at the corner of College Avenue and Castle Drives on the main campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL.

Parking is available in the Visitor Pay Lot located at 200 Carroll Ave. Limited metered and accessible parking spaces are available in front of Lowden Hall with accessible aisles and route to Altgeld. Campus parking is free on weekends and after 5 p.m. weeknights.

To request disability-related accommodations for museum programs, please contact the museum one week in advance. Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

The exhibitions and programs of the NIU Art Museum are sponsored in part by the Illinois Arts Council Agency; the Friends of the NIU Art Museum; and the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Season Presenting Sponsor Shaw Media.

Balancing Traditional and Contemporary Art
Altgeld Hall 116, First Floor, West End
1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115


Gallery Hours

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
Noon – 7 p.m. Thursday
Noon – 4 p.m. Sunday
By appointment for group tours

Exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Header photo:  Kalina Winska. Gas Clouds Above and Between Us (Potential Plan of Action, Zone II), 2018. Graphite, acrylic paint, and gesso on wood panel, (36 x 48 in.) Courtesy the artist.