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CCS Bard Library to Receive Archives of Distinguished Curator John G. Hanhardt

Mark Primoff

CCS Bard Library and Archives announces that distinguished curator John G. Hanhardt has donated his personal archives to the Center for Curatorial Studies.

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY – The Library and Archives at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) has acquired the archives of John G. Hanhardt, noted film and media arts curator. The donation builds on CCS Bard’s initiative to build a unique research collection comprising the personal papers and archives of innovative and influential contemporary art curators, art dealers, critics, galleries and alternative art spaces. The donation also supports CCS Bard’s 20th Anniversary Next Decade campaign, which aims to raise funds over the next ten years to maintain the school’s internationally renowned, world-class faculty and research and exhibition center. 

John G. Hanhardt has a long career devoted to representing film and the media arts in museum exhibition contexts, and building contemporary art collections and archival programs. He began his career at the Department of Film at the Museum of Modern Art and went on to establish the film program and film study collection at the Walker Art Center. In 1974 he was appointed Curator and Head of the Film and Video Department at the Whitney Museum of American Art where he directed the "New American Film and Video Series which featured independent film and video art programming as well as commissioning art projects and expanding the museum’s collection to include video installation art. In 1996 he joined the Guggenheim Museum as Senior Curator of Film and the Media Arts developing its international exhibition program as well as the museum’s video installation art collection. From 2006-2013 Hanhardt was Consulting Senior Curator for Film and Media Arts at the Smithsonian American Art Museum where he developed exhibitions, collections, and archives in film and the media arts. In addition to being Curator of the Nam June Paik Archive at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Hanhardt served as curator for the 2013 exhibition Nam June Paik: Global Visionary.

Among his many exhibitions are Re-Visions: Projects & Proposals in Film and Video (1979), Nam June Paik (1982), Yoko Ono: Films (1989), Andy Warhol’s Video and Television (1991), and the film and video selections for the Whitney Biennials from 1975 to 1995. At the Guggenheim Museum he organized exhibitions in New York, Bilbao, and Berlin, including: Bill Viola: Fire, Water, Breath (1997), The Worlds of Nam June Paik (2000), as well as commissioning Bill Viola’s large scale video installation Going Forth by Day (2002), and Shu Lea Cheang’s internet art project Brandon. Hanhardt has also organized many conferences addressing the diverse histories of film and media art practices. He has published extensively contributing to catalogues and journals as well as editing the influential anthology Video Culture: A Critical Investigation (1986). He is currently writing a book-length essay on Bill Viola for Thames & Hudson and serves as Managing Editor of the Andy Warhol Film Catalogue Raisonne Project, to be published by Yale University Press, at the Whitney Museum of American Art.   

The John G. Hanhardt Archives is a vast collection comprised of records documenting Hanhardt’s curatorial practice within five major art institutions in the United States (1970-2013). The collection reflects the broad range of artists and collectives Hanhardt has worked with closely including: Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, Peter Campus, Francesc Torres, Dan Graham, Juan Downey, Bill Viola, Chris Burden, Paul Sharits, Peter Campus, Hollis Frampton, Stan VanDerBeek,  Max Neuhaus, William Anastasi, James Benning, Susan Pitt, Paper Tiger Television, Ed Emshwiller, Meredith Monk, Shigeko Kubota, Newsreel, Alphons Schilling, Warren Sonbert,  Dieter Froese, Andy Warhol, AIDS Activist Videos, Marlon Riggs, Shu Lea Cheang, Tom Sachs, Beryl Korot, Buky Schwartz, Pepon Osorio, Robert Breer, Yvonne Rainer, Eleanor Antin, Adrian Piper, Joan Jonas, Bill Fontana, Roger Welch,  St. Claire Bourne, Ken Jacobs, Gary Hill, Dara Birnbaum, Mary Lucier, Robert Watts, and many others. The collection also includes an extensive personal library, limited edition multiples, and exhibition memorabilia. As a whole the collection extensively documents the history of film and the media arts, and the curatorial and exhibition making practices associated with those forms within a major museum context over the past forty years.

Ann Butler, Director of the Library & Archives at CCS Bard noted, “John Hanhardt has made a unique contribution towards our understanding and appreciation of the moving image within a contemporary art context. The donation of the John G. Hanhardt Archives not only complements and contextualizes existing resources at the Center for Curatorial Studies, but also greatly expands and enriches our holdings of materials related to the history of curatorial practices associated with the moving image. We are tremendously excited about the donation of this uniquely important collection to the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.” The transfer of the John G. Hanhardt Archives to CCS Bard will begin in the summer of 2014 and take place over a period of three years. The collection will be opened to researchers in stages as the processing of each portion of the collection is completed. 

The Library and Archives at the Center for Curatorial Studies serve as a vital and unique research center, an exhibition and discursive space, a classroom, and a social hub for a range of programs and activities focusing on and engaging with curatorial practices and the contemporary arts. An integral central component of the MA Program in Curatorial Studies and one of the few contemporary art libraries established specifically to support advanced research in curatorial studies, the Library and Archives function as a bridge contextualizing the curatorial and artistic practices shown within the exhibition programs and activities of the Hessel Museum and CCS Bard Galleries within the larger educational mandate of the Center for Curatorial Studies and Bard College. With a focus on contemporary art and culture from 1960 to the present, the research collections at the Center for Curatorial Studies Library and Archives strive to be as comprehensive as possible. Although collection materials are non-circulating, and appointments are necessary to consult the archives and special collections, the Library and Archives are open to the Bard community, and outside researchers and scholars conducting advanced research in the contemporary arts and culture.

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.

General information on the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College can be found on its website at:

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MEDIA CONTACTS:            

For further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact:           



Mark Primoff

Director of Communications

Tel: +1 845.758.7412      



CCS BARD CONTACT:                                               

Ramona Rosenberg                                               

External Affairs Manager                                               

Tel: +1 (845) 758-7574                                               


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This event was last updated on 12-10-2013