CU Art And Art History Department Grants Honorary Title To Retired, Globe-Trotting Professor

first_img Published: Jan. 15, 2007 Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail The University of Colorado at Boulder art and art history department has bestowed a one-of-a-kind title on one of its retired professors. The department has named Ronald Bernier its first Exploratory Professor Emeritus of Art History, a nod that recognizes the scholar’s extensive studies of art and art history in far-flung corners of the world. “Professor Bernier has dedicated his life to sharing new interpretations of global art with everyone he meets,” said Professor Garrison Roots, chair of the department. “This title captures the essence of the man, his vision and his work.” Bernier, who retired in spring 2006 after 35 years of teaching, received a doctorate from Cornell University. He first became enthralled with the cultural aspects of art while conducting research in Africa as a 19-year-old University of Minnesota undergraduate student. Stunned by the body art of Tanzania’s Maasai people, Bernier said he quickly realized that art was more than artifacts amassed in museums or canvases hanging on walls. “I knew that art did not necessarily belong in glass cases, but was a sign of value systems,” said Bernier, whose first-hand observations sparked a lifelong interest in cultural anthropology and architecture. “Art is a catalyst for understanding entire cultures.” As an art historian, Bernier has studied the work of artists from Africa and Asia, as well as art produced by the indigenous populations of the Americas. His work has focused specifically on the art and art history of Nepal and the Himalaya. Though retired, Bernier said he is writing a book about Himalayan and Tibetan art, and hopes to keep his hand in teaching through continuing education. One of his goals is to escort art history students to the new Rubin Museum of Art in New York City that specializes in Himalayan art. “Each work of art that we would look at in New York is an insignia, a sign of so many things that you find of a living culture. It’s not just history — it’s a society’s value system encapsulated in a visual statement.”last_img read more