Alumna gives eclectic collection of prints, drawings and photographs to the Cantor

Su-Li Hung, World Trade Center, 2001. Woodcut.

The Cantor Arts Center recently acquired 12 prints, drawings and photographs given by Stanford alumna MARILYN SYMMES, who earned her undergraduate degree in 1971.

The New York–based curator and art historian is honoring her Stanford roots while recognizing the importance of student interactions with objects.

The gift features an eclectic selection of works, ranging from an Italian Renaissance portrait print to 19th-century travel photographs to a 2001 woodcut by Su-Li Hung (Taiwan, b. 1947) that offers a stark memorial to the World Trade Center in New York. The diverse subjects represented encourage thinking about the works as images as well as objects, which makes them exciting candidates for inclusion in future exhibitions, research and teaching.

Symmes remembers formative interactions with the Cantor’s collections and curators when she was pursuing an undergraduate degree in art history at Stanford.

After completing her studies, she went on to earn a graduate degree from the University of Michigan and to build her curatorial career at such museums as the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York and the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.

ELIZABETH MITCHELL, the Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator and director of the Curatorial Fellowship Program at the Cantor Arts Center, said the print will be of great use at the Cantor to facilitate one-on-one interactions between students and scholars.

“At first glance, the design of it is very simple and stark, and it takes a moment to realize you’re looking at the World Trade Center,” she said. “Then once you do, the meaning of the image and the feeling that you’re experiencing changes. You go from puzzling out an abstract design to realizing you’re looking at a memorial to a truly horrific event. The dialogue a work like this can inspire is very meaningful.”

Read more on the Stanford Arts website.