Susanne Ghez’s Favorite Things

The career curator and executive director of the Renaissance Society on silver Converse sneakers, a Le Creuset doufeu, and more

Susanne Ghez

For 40 years, as the Executive Director and chief curator of the Renaissance Society, Susanne Ghez, 74, championed little-known artists. International stars, such as Jeff Koons and Kara Walker, got their starts at this 3,500-square-foot space on the University of Chicago campus. As Ghez steps down later this year (one of her last exhibitions, an installation by R. H. Quaytman, opens January 6), the words a colleague once chose to describe her little museum ring truer than ever. “He called it the mouse that roared,” she says.

The same could be said of Ghez’s personal style. Whether it’s the Matisse woodblock prints hanging in her home or the art deco bangles she wears every day, her choices are understated, yet deliberate and bold. “Art is where I go for the information I trust. It’s not what I read or hear—it’s what I see,” she says. “And one day I realized I see rather well.” To get a sense of her keen eye, see below.

 

10 Things She Loves

SILVER CONVERSE SNEAKERS

SILVER CONVERSE SNEAKERS ($65 for similar styles, zappos.com)
“These have become classics.”

 

STENCIL BY LAWRENCE WEINER

STENCIL BY LAWRENCE WEINER (Price upon request at Marian Goodman Gallery, mariangoodman.com)
“We can all assign meaning to this statement.”

 

ART DECO BRACELETS

ART DECO BRACELETS
“I’ve worn these bracelets every day since I bought them at Ultimo 25 years ago.”

 

JASON PICKLEMAN COCKTAIL NAPKINS

JASON PICKLEMAN COCKTAIL NAPKINS ($20 for pack of 25, jnldesign.com)
“I like the strong abstract design—and in a digital age that moves so fast, they make my guests relax.”

 

MERRY EDWARDS SAUVIGNON BLANC

MERRY EDWARDS SAUVIGNON BLANC ($40, Binny’s, 1132 S. Jefferson St.)
“I love the taste, and the label reminds me of Matisse.”

 

DRIES VAN NOTEN SILK BLOUSE

DRIES VAN NOTEN SILK BLOUSE ($1,030, Blake, 212 W. Chicago Ave.)
“I think of Dries as an artist, like many of the others I work with.”

 

TOILE PILLOW

TOILE PILLOW
“This is a memento of the ugly wallpaper that used to be in my sunroom.”

 

LE CREUSET HERITAGE CAST-IRON DOUFEU

LE CREUSET HERITAGE CAST-IRON DOUFEU ($370, williams-sonoma.com)
“I bought this pot 50 years ago, and it’s still my favorite.”

 

‘THE TIME OF OUR SINGING’, RICHARD POWERS

THE TIME OF OUR SINGING, RICHARD POWERS ($18, Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave., Hyde Park)
“This book takes on music, family, and race.”

 

ROY McMAKIN CHAIRS

ROY McMAKIN CHAIRS (Around $5,000 each, custom-made at domesticfurniture.com)
“Each one is so different—I think of them as a group of friends, chatting.”

 

Photography: Anna Knott

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