Susanne Slavick

Professor Emerita of Art

Susanne Slavick grew up in five states east of the Mississippi. After graduating from Yale University in 1978, she studied at Jagiellonian University in Krakow and earned an MFA at Tyler School of Art in Rome and Philadelphia. She joined the School of Art in 1984 and became the first woman to serve as its Head, from 2000 to 2006. In 2001, she was named the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art. In 2019, she won both the Distinguished Teaching of Art Award from the College Art Association and the Henry Hornbostel Teaching Award from the university. She became the first University Professor to be appointed from the School of Art in 2022.

As an artist, curator and writer, Slavick’s work has probed human conflict and environmental destruction, pursuing empathic unsettlement. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries nationally and internationally—in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. Awards have included a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and four grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  Pittsburgh Center for the Arts honored her in 2008 as “Artist of the Year.”  

Slavick’s traveling curatorial projects have created forums for dialogue and advocacy around war and its aftermath (No Glory, Cutting Losses and Out of Rubble) and gun violence (Unloaded and Up in Arms). When the Bough Breaks and Family Tree visualize the tree under assault and triumphant, as historical record and harbinger of things to come.  

Slavick retired in 2022 and continues to work in her studio in Pittsburgh, where she lives with her husband, Andrew Ellis Johnson.  

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