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Alanna Heiss To Receive 2007 Award for Curatorial Excellence from CCS Bard

Emily M. Darrow
ALANNA HEISS TO RECEIVE THE 2007 AWARD FOR CURATORIAL EXCELLENCE FROM THE CENTER FOR CURATORIAL STUDIES AT BARD COLLEGE ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) will present its tenth annual Award for Curatorial Excellence to Alanna Heiss, founder and executive director of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, and one of New York’s legendary and groundbreaking exhibition makers. Heiss’s bold and innovative efforts over more than thirty years have left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of New York City. She was selected by a panel of leading critics, curators, art experts, and alumni/ae on behalf of CCS Bard.

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. Past recipients of the award 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), and Lynne Cooke and Vasif Kortun (2006). This award reflects the Center’s commitment to recognizing individuals who have defined new thinking, bold vision, and dedicated service to the field of exhibition practice. The formal presentation of the award by Agnes Gund, president of the Museum of Modern Art, will be made at a gala dinner on May 2 at Gotham Hall (1356 Broadway at 36th Street) in New York City.

Alanna Heiss Heiss has curated and organized more than 700 exhibitions at P.S.1 and beyond. Recognizing New York as a worldwide magnet for contemporary artists, and believing that traditional museums did not provide adequate exhibition opportunities for site-specific art, Heiss decided to establish a formal alternative arts organization. In 1971, she and critic Brendan Gill founded the Institute for Art and Urban Resources. By 1976, the Institute had concentrated its activities in two facilities: P.S.1 Museum (now P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center) in Long Island City, and the Clocktower Gallery in Lower Manhattan. The Clocktower has become a legendary alternative exhibition space; its distinctive location in the sky near City Hall has made it an iconic site for solo exhibitions. In 2004, the Clocktower became home to Art Radio, the world's first Internet-based art radio station.

Rooms, the seminal 1976 inaugural exhibition at P.S.1, laid the foundation for future installation exhibitions. Other definitive exhibitions at P.S.1 include New York, New Wave (1981) and Stalin's Choice: Soviet Socialist Realism, 1932–1956 (1993). Heiss is also recognized for her long-standing commitment to solo exhibitions, from Robert Grosvenor (1976) and Dennis Oppenheim (1992) to Alex Katz: Under the Stars, American Landscapes1951–1995 (1998) and John Wesley: Paintings 1961–2000 (2000). Heiss served as commissioner of the 1986 American Pavilion at the Venice Biennial (Isamu Noguchi, curated by Henry Geldzahler) and was a commissioner of the 1985 Paris Biennial and chief curator of Tribute for John Cage, organized for the 1993 Venice Biennial.

About the Center for Curatorial Studies The Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture at Bard College (CCS Bard) is an exhibition and research center dedicated to the study of art and exhibition practices from the 1960s to the present day. The curriculum is understanding of the intellectual and practical tasks of curating exhibitions of contemporary art, particularly in the complex social and cultural situations of present-day urban arts institutions. In November 2006, CCS Bard inaugurated the Hessel Museum of Art, a 17,000-square-foot building for exhibitions curated from the Marieluise Hessel Collection of more than 1,700 contemporary works.

For further information, call the Center for Curatorial Studies at 845-758-7598, e-mail, or visit

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This event was last updated on 05-06-2007