Liz Cohen Announces Departure from Cranbrook Academy of Art


Served as Photography Artist-in-Residence for nine years

Bloomfield Hills, Mich., May 3, 2017 – Cranbrook Academy of Art announced today that Liz Cohen, Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Photography Department, will leave the Academy at the end of the 2016- 2017 academic year. Cohen notified the Academy of her decision this week.

Cohen has accepted an offer to serve on the faculty at Arizona State University.

“I am proud to have spent close to a decade of my life at the experiment in community that is Cranbrook Academy of Art,” said Cohen. “I have had the privilege to work alongside fiercely engaged students for whom producing art is urgent. Their criticality and commitment has changed me as a person and I feel deeply connected to them.”

Cohen continues, “I would like to acknowledge the commitment of my peer Artists-in-Residence who work tirelessly as one-person bands to provide expansive environments for their students. We receive tremendous support from a staff that exercises the flexibility and optimism required to make such a singular place function. The board members and larger Cranbrook community have believed in me, backed me up and given me a sense of home. Please know that Cranbrook remains in my heart as I begin a new chapter of my life and career at Arizona State University.”

Liz Cohen was appointed Artist-in-Residence and Head of the Photography Department in July of 2008.

A celebrated photographer and performance artist, Cohen’s multimedia work is exhibited both nationally and internationally. She is best known for the subversive 10-year project BODYWORK, in which she transformed an East German Trabant automobile into a Chevrolet El Camino.

As noted in the arts blog, Bad at Sports, “Simply put, Cohen is fearless. Her projects are fully immersive, intertwining ethnography and performance to the effect of uncanny transformation.” Read the full article here.

“It has been the Academy’s good fortune to have Cohen serve as the backbone of the photography department for nearly a decade,” said Chris Scoates, the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum. “In addition to serving as a creative inspiration to our students, she has led campaigns to successfully fill our studios with state-of-the art equipment, allowing our students to realize their most ambitious projects. She will certainly be missed.”

She received her MFA degree in Photography from the California College of the Arts. She holds a BFA in Studio Art from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and a BA in Philosophy from Tufts University, both in Boston, Massachusetts.

She has won numerous awards and grants including: a Studio Residency from The MacDowell Colony in 2001; a Studio Fellowship in 2002 from the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany; a Creative Capital Foundation Project Grant in 2005; an Artist’s Project Grant from the Arizona Commission for the Arts in 2007; a 2008 Traveling Scholars’ Award from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; and a Kresge Artist Fellowship in 2011.

In 2016, she opened the celebrated solo exhibition, Him, at Cranbrook Art Museum.

The Academy will immediately undertake a search for her replacement.

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