August 2015

As we kick off the fall semester with a great series of new exhibitions and programs, I’m delighted to be reminded again how natural it is for the Museum to be at the center of an expanding series of rewarding partnerships. While this may seem obvious, our cooperative “interconnectedness” with colleagues on campus and beyond is planned over months and often years.

The image that accompanies this letter offers a gratifying visual summary of the kinds of special collaborations that happen in the Museum so frequently. Professor Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon is shown here teaching her creative writing class in front of Carrie Mae Weems’s Not Manet’s Type (1997). She and her class explored this series of five photographs together, discussing storytelling and the canon of art history, considering issues of race and gender in their analysis.

Like many faculty who teach class sessions in the Johnson Museum, Professor Van Clief-Stefanon finds that her research often leads to new projects. She has, for example, partnered with Cathy Klimaszewski, our associate director and Harriett Ames Charitable Trust Curator of Education, to organize evening readings at the Museum, providing the chance for her students to share their creative writing with their peers and the public. This year, Lyrae and Cathy will work together to create an interdisciplinary team-taught course, the first collaboration the Museum has undertaken with a faculty member in Cornell’s English department.

For those who have an opportunity to be on campus this fall, I encourage you to visit the Museum. New readers of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five—the 2015 selection for the New Student Reading Project—and longtime fans of this powerful novel can see a selection of rarely exhibited drawings by the author that have been generously loaned by Vonnegut’s daughter Nanette. These drawings join other works by artists with Cornell connections: film and video by Gordon Matta-Clark ’68 and drawings and sculpture by James Siena ’79. As always, an ever-changing selection of great art from our permanent collection will also be on view.

Please come visit soon. We look forward to seeing you at the Johnson. 

Stephanie Wiles
The Richard J. Schwartz Director