The groundbreaking ceremonies for the Eli and Edythe Broad
Art Museum at Michigan State University are only a few weeks away. Not long
after that, Kresge Art Museum director Susan J. Bandes will be breaking some
new ground herself: She’s announced plans to leave her position May 1.
“I’ve been at this for 23 years,” Bandes said, “and I
started looking ahead to the plans for the rest of my career before retirement.
I thought this seemed like a good time to step down. The new museum needs
someone whose field is contemporary art, and that’s not really my field. Plus,
the transitioning and planning needs to be done sooner rather than later.”
Bandes, who holds a bachelor of arts degree from New York
University and a master of arts and Ph.D. in art history from Bryn Mawr
College, specializes in 17th-century work. She came to MSU in 1986
to oversee Kresge.
“At Kresge, I’ve had a chance to learn a lot,” she said.
“I’ve enjoyed all the people I’ve met and I have made many friends, while
expanding my horizons into areas I might not have, and I expect I’ll continue
to do that.”
As far as her future plans, Bandes said she will “have an
eight-month sabbatical and then go back to teaching. And I’ll have my summers
off, which will be wonderful.”
Bandes said she hasn’t yet settled on what she’ll be
teaching, although “I’ll probably be teaching museum studies.” She’s also
thinking about early 20th-century art and photography.
“There are all sorts of possibilities I can teach, and that
really appeals to me at this point,” she said.
Bandes is also planning an update on her book “Affordable
Dreams: The Goetsch-Winkler House and Frank Lloyd Wright,” which the Kresge Art
Museum press published in 1991. The original edition was in black-and-white,
“but now we’re going to do it in color,” Bandes said. “Hopefully, I can expand
the book to include other Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the area, because people
always ask about them.”
In a press release, MSU spokeperson Lisa Mulcrone said a
reception in honor of Bandes’ work at Kresge will be held later in the
semester. A selection process for the director of the Broad Museum, which is
scheduled to open in 2012, “will begin shortly,” according to the release.