What do you do at the DIA?

I'm the associate curator for American Art. I've worked at the DIA since 2015, and study a collection of paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts made in North, Central, and South America between 1650 and 1950. 

What is your background?

I've worked at museums since I was a teenager, when I started volunteering at the local art and history museum in my hometown (mostly filing papers). I majored in art history at Yale, where I began to study American decorative arts and design, and then went to graduate school at Winterthur in Delaware. 

What is your favorite piece at the DIA and why?
Headshot of DIA Curator Ben Colman

These days, I find myself thinking about Florine Stettheimer's Love Flight of a Pink Candy Heart. The cotton-candy colors of this autobiographical painting show the artist's playful nostalgia as she conjures visions of her past. It captures the romance of the very modern world Stettheimer and her sisters created in their home, surrounding themselves with artists, poets, and thinkers, at a time when American culture was skeptical of modern art. 

What's your favorite DIA exhibition or project that you have worked on?

I'm most excited for the upcoming exhibit Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City, 1950-2020. This exhibit is a love letter to an under-celebrated art form pioneered in Detroit, and will bring together some really thrilling examples of Detroit design. 

Lastly, tell us a fun fact!

Not many people know that the DIA has the most important collection of decorative arts from colonial Canada in the United States-a collection put together in homage to early Detroit's close ties to Quebec and its history as part of New France.  

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