Why he's interesting ... This former film producer and pre-eminent student (he's racked up a double-major bachelor's, two master's and is just a book shy of a doctorate) has risen through some notable ranks in academia. After 22 years at Columbia University and more than a decade as the founding dean of Boston's School of the Arts at Emerson College, Nunes accepted an offer to take on the presidency of the Cleveland Institute of Art last July.
On his early career ... "I was hired by Paramount, and I was paid, I think, $500 a week to travel around the Midwest doing research on bar band rock 'n' roll."
Film School, the European Way ... Nunes' father was in the Navy. So as a youth, he traveled the world and discovered his love of movies abroad. "Living in Germany in the '50s, the one thing you could do each night was go to the movies. I saw just about every movie that was available in the 1950s."
True Art ... "[It's] different from entertainment. Entertainment, you kind of approach the edge of the cliff, but you never really take the audience too close to the edge. The artist will take the audience to the edge of the cliff then push them off."
The art that moves him ... The films of John Ford (The Searchers, How Green is My Valley) and Akira Kurosawa. Plus, "I have to admit to being a sucker for Impressionism: Monet, Van Gogh, Manet, the sculptures of Rodin. I go to those galleries like I'm visiting a religious shrine."
His interested are • varied ... There are two subjects he'd love to write about if he ever retires: public execution, particularly its relationship to the works of Shakespeare, and comedy. "On the one hand, I'm interested in public execution. On the other hand, I'm interested in comedy. I guess there's a complementary quality in there somewhere."