How has the new DePaul Art Museum (DPAM) impacted DePaul?
DPAM allows us to be much more responsive to curricular needs and community interests. For example, if a faculty member needs a specific photograph for a course, we now have the ability to put it in a space where all students can see it. We can also plan exhibitions at different scales — from the most intimate to the largest — that correspond with class work or historical periods. We just didn’t have these abilities in the older space.
What is your role on the DPAM Faculty Advisory Board?
One of the main initiatives of the Advisory Board is to help ensure exhibits dovetail with the curriculum of each of the colleges and schools. My job has been to contribute to developing goals of the new museum.
Tell us about the DPAM space.
It opened in the fall of 2011, and is more than double the size of the old museum previously occupied at Richardson Library. At 15,200 square feet, the DPAM is a $7.8 million building, just east of the CTA’s Fullerton “L” stop and includes space for class use, programs and events. The building’s mechanical systems are tailored to provide ideal conditions for the care of artwork, and a second-floor bay window facing the Fullerton “L” stop allows the museum to interact with commuters through messages and artwork.
What is your professional background?
I’m an art historian who teaches courses related to the history of Chicago architecture, modern art, and German art and architecture. My research focuses on questions of art and politics during the Nazi period and its postwar impact.
How did you become interested in architecture?
I became interested in architecture in graduate school at Northwestern University. Northwestern is what brought me to Chicago and, as a result, brought me into contact with the very deep and interesting history of Chicago architecture. My research and teaching experiences have also brought me into the museum world. I’ve helped curate shows on German art between World War I and World War II, as well as shows on Chicago architecture.
What is it like to teach at DePaul? How would you describe your students?
DePaul was one of the few universities where I interviewed that seemed to be open to the kinds of research questions I was asking involving art and politics. It also appealed to my interest in architectural history. I think the urban focus of many students, as well as their interest in social justice, makes DePaul students unique. These focuses and interests constantly reveal themselves in my classes when we discuss the political history of art.