NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cheekwood Estate and Gardens announces its appointment of Eric Birkle as the new Curator. Birkle will begin his position on March 14. Originally from Lapeer, Mich., Birkle began his career at the Saginaw Art Museum, holding multiple positions before ultimately becoming Associate Curator. During his time there, Birkle organized small-scale and major exhibitions that ranged from 15th through 21st century graphic arts to installations of paintings, glasswork, and ceramic sculpture. He moved on to the Flint Institute of Arts in 2018, where he developed the notable exhibition Political and Personal: Images of Gay Identity. In 2020, he completed a placement in the Modern and Contemporary Department at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
“I am honored to accept the Curator position at Cheekwood and excited to work within the context of its unique institutional history,” Birkle stated. “Forging connections between art, architecture, and site is a great passion of mine, and Cheekwood’s diverse collections provide the opportunity to do so in a rich and meaningful way.”
“We are thrilled with Eric’s impending arrival in the role of Curator,” says Cheekwood Vice President of Museum Affairs, James W. Tottis. “He brings a wealth of knowledge in American art and the philosophy behind museum architecture and installation. I look forward to the thoughtful approach he will bring to our exhibitions over the coming years.”
Birkle earned a Master of Arts in Art History & Museum Studies from Ohio University in 2019. His master’s thesis, Detroit’s Belle Isle Aquarium: An Idiosyncrasy of Identity, Style, Modernity, and Spectacle, was published through OhioLINK in 2019, and sparked the focus of his current research on museum spaces and the impact of evolving public health policies and design. From 2019 through 2021, Birkle served as a Teaching Assistant at York University while pursuing his Ph.D., and his forthcoming dissertation will highlight his scholarly and curatorial interest in European and American art and architecture of the late 19th century.