Poetry News

Northwestern's Block Museum Hosts Jen Bervin as Winter Resident

By Harriet Staff
Jen Bervin

Poet and artist Jen Bervin is in residence at Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art this winter, and her work will connect her with students as well as allow for some cross-disciplinary research "in the diverse collections of Northwestern University Libraries – from its John Cage archives in the Music Library to textiles and ancient manuscripts in the Melville J. Herskovits Africana Library." More from Northwestern Now's Stephanie Kulke:

“I was floored by the Block’s agility and openness,” Bervin said. “The museum and Northwestern approach collaboration with a remarkable seriousness and generosity. I am excited to spend this winter actively thinking with Northwestern’s ‘brain trust’ and am hopeful about the potential of what may emerge.”

Her works are closely attentive to material and language; they range in scale from a nanoimprinted poem in the form of a liquefied silk biosensor to a 230-foot hand-sewn model of the Mississippi River.   

“I want to make works that create space, rather than take one away. A space where disparate fields can cohere and can find meaning in touching, fusing and thinking together,” Bervin said.

Bervin’s been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Des Moines Art Center and Granoff Center for the Arts at Brown University and has been featured in group exhibitions at the MASS MoCA, MCA Denver, the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto and the Walker Art Center. Bervin has published 10 books, including “Silk Poems,” a long-form poem presented both as a book (Nightboat Books, 2017) and as an implantable biosensor made from liquefied silk developed in collaboration with Tufts University’s Silk Lab. She also is a SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute artist-in-residence, a program that facilitates a cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas between artists and scientists.

“Bervin’s process-based practice is research driven and weaves together a range of disciplines,” said Susy Bielak, Susan and Stephen Wilson Associate Director of Engagement/Curator of Public Practice. “Whether using the working methods and materials of medicine and engineering to teach art students about process or leading conversations about the work of a specific poet, she has a rare capacity to draw connections across disciplines and pose fundamental life questions.”

Read more at Northwestern News.

Originally Published: February 19th, 2018