susan c. dessel

Image, August 1911 Night Letter (telegram) sent by Martha Gruening

Image, August 1911 Night Letter (telegram) sent by Martha Gruening

As we mark the Centennial of the 19 Amendment, granting women the right to vote, we continue to fight for issues of equality, voting rights, and opportunity for ALL. This telegram was sent by Martha Gruening, whose life I researched for the artwork I did as a Frankel Fellow (Univ. MI), 2013/14. Included in this body of work is an installation of Suffragist Sashes that incorporate text from Gruening’s work*. - While a student at Smith College Martha Gruening affiliated with the National College Equal Suffrage League, and following her graduation represented the organization nationally. In a July 12, 1911 letter to Mary Ware Dennett, Gruening proposed that Mary Church Terrell be included among the speakers at the upcoming National American Women Suffrage Association (NAWSA) convention to be held in Lexington, Kentucky. - The telegram sent by Gruening in August, 1911, to the NAWSA Chair, Resolution Committee, proposing a resolution to be put before the delegates to the 1911 National Convention in support of equal rights for Blacks – men and women. Neither suggestion above was accepted by the convention conveners.

(*See WORK 2013)

"WHEN ..."

2019 2020 Yiddish New York. Utopia: Visions and Tradition
“Visual artists grapple with questions of what would constitute
and/or create a ‘Heaven on Earth’, the longing for an ideal society, where all people are treated with respect, all of their needs
are met and we see an end to war and fear – a Utopia”

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November 2018 - January 2019

The Time for Home Exhibit

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"Simple Math"

“Simple Math” was exhibited in the 2017 2018 Yiddish New York RESISTANCE Exhibit at CITY LORE Gallery. Resistance… a word with urgent relevance to events past and present. What defines resistance? As the dictionary defines it:

1) the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.
2) the ability not to be affected by something, especially adversely.
The curators asked: Is resistance always in reaction to events or ideas? Is it always in opposition? What are expressions of resistance in daily life or under extreme circumstances? How do artists transform this concept into concrete form?
The curators of RESISTANCE ! hoped that the work in the exhibition inspired viewers to think about what they might do to motivate themselves to RESIST something negative that has worked its way into their hearts and minds.

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Leave Your Swords at the Door


Curated by Haifa Bint-Kadi and sponsored by the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, the work in this group exhibit presented the artists’ perspectives on building bridges and fighting hate, negative stereotyping and prejudice.

Among the work exhibited was Artist susan c. dessel’s Installation PIECES OF PEACE: thirty-six hand carved Olivewood pieces with handwritten excerpts from the Oslo Peace Accords.

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