Art Gallery Owner Susanne Hilberry Dies at age 72

Art Gallery Owner Susanne Hilberry Dies at age 72

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 15, 2015)

The memory of Susanne Hilberry will live on in the art community of Metro Detroit though she passed away Thursday from what the Detroit Free Press reports are complications from a brain tumor at the age of 72.

The patron of the arts opened The Susanne Hilberry Gallery in Birmingham in 1976 and moved to Ferndale in 2002. Mark Stryker of the Free Press wrote that “She championed a broad range of artists, from international stars like Joel Shapiro, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Artschwager and Alex Katz to several generations of Detroit artists including Gordon Newton, Nancy Mitchnick, Ellen Phelan, Cay Bahnmiller, Scott Hocking, John Corbin and Michael E. Smith.” She also enjoyed showing “strong women artists” like Lee Krasner, Kiki Smith, Judy Pfaff, Lynda Benglis and Kate Levant.

Hilberry began her career in the art world as an assistant to Detroit Institute of Arts curator Sam Wagstaff, and went on for a long successful run of the Susanne Hilberry Gallery.

In a 2010 interview with FAB, Hilberry talked about art, fashion and empowerment. When asked why she opened an art gallery, Hilberry said “It seemed as if an enormous amount of really interesting work was being kept out of Detroit. I wanted to show work I really believed in, work that might have been shown in New York, but wasn’t being shown here.”

“The beautiful things that artists make inspire me. Looking at them gives me ideas. There are certain friends I have that are so intelligent and special. They inspire me,” she said.

Services for Hilberry will be held Sunday at Ira Kaufman Funeral Home. For more information go to http://www.irakaufman.com/funeral-details.php?id=5933.

In lieu of flowers, family members are asking that donations be made to Hilberry’s charity:

The Susanne F. Hilberry Endowment for the Arts
c/o Bruce Kahn, Trustee; Seyburn Kahn, P.C.
2000 Town Center, Suite 1500
Southfield, MI 48075

For the gallery website, go to www.susannehilberrygallery.com.

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