Helen Molesworth and Hans Ulrich Obrist to Receive the 2011 Award for Curatorial Excellence

February 22, 2011

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) this year presents its 14th annual Award for Curatorial Excellence to two curators—Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)/Boston and Hans Ulrich Obrist, codirector of exhibitions and programmes and director of international projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London. The prestigious awards will be presented at a gala dinner on April 13, 2011 at Capitale in New York City.

While Molesworth and Obrist focus on very different curatorial methodologies, they share a searching dedication to contemporary artists (often returning to work that has been undervalued), scholarship and public dialogue. Through their consistent efforts and innovative exhibitions, both Molesworth and Obrist have demonstrated a profound belief in the importance of art and exhibitions as vital participants in the constitution of our public sphere. Now in its fourteenth year, this year’s awardees follow a long line of the most important curators of our time, beginning with the first recipient, Harald Szeemann, in 1998.

About the Award
Each year the Center for Curatorial Studies celebrates the individual achievements of a leading curator or curators whose lasting contributions have shaped the way we conceive of exhibition-making today. The awardee is selected by an independent panel of leading contemporary art curators, museum directors, and artists. Past recipients include Harald Szeemann (1998), Marcia Tucker (1999), Kasper König (2000), Paul Schimmel (2001), Suzanne Ghez (2002), Kynaston McShine (2003), Walter Hopps (2004), Kathy Halbreich and Mari Carmen Ramírez (2005), Lynne Cooke and Vasif Kortun (2006), Alanna Heiss (2007), Catherine David (2008), Okwui Enwezor (2009), and Lucy Lippard (2010). The award reflects CCS Bard’s commitment to recognizing individuals who have defined new thinking, bold vision, and dedicated service to the field of exhibition practice.

Helen Molesworth is the Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston. Formerly head of the Department of Modern and Contemporary art as well as the Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art at the Harvard Art Museum, she presented an exhibition of photographs by Moyra Davey and ACT UP NY: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis 1987-1993. From 2002 to 2007 she was the Chief Curator of Exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts where she organized the first US retrospectives of Louise Lawler and Luc Tuymans, as well as Part Object Part Sculpture which examined sculpture produced in the wake of Marcel Duchamp’s erotic objects and hand made readymades of the 1960s. From 2000-2002 she was the Curator of Contemporary Art at The Baltimore Museum of Art, where she organized Work Ethic, which traced the problem of artistic labor in post-1960s art. She is the author of numerous articles and her writing has appeared in publications such as Artforum, Art Journal, Documents, and October. Her research areas are concentrated largely within and around the problems of feminism, the reception of Marcel Duchamp, and the socio-historical frameworks of contemporary art. She is currently at work on a major exhibition on art of the 1980s.

Hans Ulrich Obrist, a native of Zurich, Switzerland, is codirector of exhibitions and programmes and director of international projects at London’s Serpentine Gallery, a position he has held since 2006. He has also served as curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2000–2006) and the museum in progress, Vienna (1993–2000). Obrist has curated or cocurated more than 200 solo and group exhibitions and biennales throughout Europe and the United States, as well as in Asia and Africa, notably including Il Tempo del Postino, co-curated with Philippe Parreno for the 2007 Manchester International Festival and also presented at Art Basel, 2009, and the Marathon series of public events. The first event in the Serpentine series, the Interview Marathon (2006), featured interviews with leading figures in contemporary culture conducted over 24 hours by Obrist and architect Rem Koolhaas. This was followed by the Experiment Marathon, conceived by Obrist and artist Olafur Eliasson; the Manifesto Marathon; and the Poetry Marathon. Obrist is a contributing editor of Abitare, Artforum, Paradis Magazine, and 032c Magazine. Recent publications include A Brief History of Curating; Gerhard Richter Text; The Pen is the Sister of the Brush, Maria Lassnig; Gerhard Richter Obrist; Ai Weiwei, Ways Beyond Art; Pars Pro Toto II; and The Conversation Series, Volumes 1–20. He received the Van Alen Institute’s New York Prize Senior Fellowship (2007–2008), and in 2009 he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

About the Center for Curatorial Studies
The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) is an exhibition, education, and research center dedicated to the study of art and curatorial practices from the 1960s to the present day. In addition to the CCS Bard Galleries and Hessel Museum of Art, the Center houses the Marieluise Hessel Collection, as well as an extensive library and curatorial archives that are accessible to the public. The Center’s two-year M.A. program in curatorial studies is specifically designed to deepen students’ understanding of the intellectual and practical tasks of curating contemporary art. Exhibitions are presented year-round in the CCS Bard Galleries and Hessel Museum of Art, providing students with the opportunity to work with world-renowned artists and curators. The exhibition program and the Hessel Collection also serve as the basis for a wide range of public programs and activities exploring art and its role in contemporary society.

Press Contact:
Mark Primoff

CCS Bard Contact:
Ramona Rosenberg