Tullman returns as art curator for his new venture
May 10th, 2018
Howard Tullman and a group of donors from Illinois Institute of Technology have purchased a piece of art that will become part of the new Kaplan Institute, the university’s center for innovation and technology entrepreneurship.
The new piece is a life-size papier-mâché sculpture of Albert Einstein–and it’s amazing.
Tullman recently was named executive director of the institute and, just as he did at 1871, Tribeca Flashpoint College and Kendall College before that, he’s working to make the vast building feel like home.
The 70,000-square-foot building designed by John Ronan Architects will open in October. Ronan, as you recall, was among seven finalists selected to present designs for the Barack Obama Presidential Library—the only local architect in consideration.
IIT’s Institute of Design also will move into the new Kaplan building. Along with great art, Tullman expects the design center will help “humanize” the work and presentation spaces.
The Einstein art by Will Kurtz is a perfect fit.
“The whole point of the Kaplan Institute is to add new skills and to broaden the abilities and horizons of our students beyond merely technical matters,” Tullman told me. “Examples of excellence (especially in physical rather than digital form) are an essential part of the culture we plan to build and the passions we expect to ignite.”
There’s a personal connection to the artwork, too.
Kurtz was a student at the New York Academy of Art where Tullman was a trustee for a number of years. Once Kurtz graduated, Tullman said he and his wife commissioned a sculpture of one of their dogs, Tramp, “And we’ve been supporters of his work ever since.”
It’s difficult to convey emotion when working in papier mache, Tullman notes, “And Will is one of the best at humanizing his sculptures.”
That goes for dogs, too.
Tullman will talk more about plans for the institute on June 7, when he speaks at a City Club event.