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Windows into Art: Art History Professor Carries Critical Historical Dialogues Beyond the Classroom

Posted April 17, 2017 in FacultyArt History

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University Professor and Art History Program Chair Dr. Suzanne Eberle’s passion for the rich and powerful perspective of art history isn’t limited to the classroom. Recently Dr. Eberle gave a series of presentations intended to invite both academic and public audiences to look to history as a means of viewing and engaging with works of art on a deeper level.

Dr. Suzanne EberleDr. Suzanne Eberle

In February of 2017, she gave a presentation at the Annual Humanities Symposium at Vanier College in Montreal, Quebec titled “Silence and Absence in Contemporary Art.” In this lecture, she looked at how several prominent contemporary artists have created art based on silence, erasure, and immateriality in order to address social and personal issues related to loss, remembrance, contemplation, and the sublime.

That same month, Dr. Eberle provided valuable historical and social context for visitors to Sentimental Ornamentation, an exhibition held in The Fed Galleries @ KCAD.In a presentation titled “The Fashion of Public Grief: Victorian Mourning Clothes and Practices,” she examined 19th century death practices which inspired the contemporary artists represented in the show, and explored how social rituals of grief and the strict conventions of mourning fashion helped Victorians through the sorrows of personal loss.

Then, in March of 2017, Dr. Eberle was invited to speak at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Mich. in conjunction with a high-profile exhibition of work from contemporary Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. In a presentation titled “Shocking, Surprising, and Subtle: You Call That Art?,” she led the audience on an exploration of five iconic pieces of contemporary art—including one by Ai Weiwei—that are incompatible with traditional expectations of what is acceptable art and design.

Finally, in late April, 2017, Dr. Eberle presented a training session for docents at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in which she discussed some of the newest GRAM acquisitions, including several by Ellsworth Kelly, and placed them in an historical context.

Learn more about KCAD’s Art History program at kcad.edu/arthistory.