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LUMA Foundation and Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS BARD) Announce a Major International Symposium at Bard College to Address the Future of Curatorial Research

Mark Primoff
The symposium is organized by Paul O’Neill and Tom Eccles (CCS Bard/LUMA Foundation) in partnership with Mick Wilson (Valand Art Academy, University of Gothenburg); Lucy Steeds, Yaiza Hernández, Charles Esche, and Alison Green (MRes Art: Exhibition Studies/ Afterall Books: Exhibition Histories and BA/ MA Culture, Criticism and Curation at Central Saint Martins, London); and Lorenzo Benedetti and Guus van Engelshoven (de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam).

November 6-9th, 2014 at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard).

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY, OCTOBER 2014 - Entitled The Future Curatorial What Not and Study What? Conundrum, the symposium will include presentations by Nancy Adajania, Mélanie Bouteloup, Thomas Boutoux, Luis Camnitzer, Eddie Chambers, Nikita Yingqian Cai, Zasha Colah and Sumesh Sharma (Clark House Initiative), Common Practice New York (CPNY), Elvira Dyangani Ose, Galit Eilat, Annie Fletcher, Liam Gillick, Koyo Kouoh, Miguel A. López, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Tobias Ostrander, Joao Ribas, Sarah Rifky, Simon Sheikh, David Teh, What, How and for Whom, Jelena Vesić and Vladimir Jerić, Vivian Ziherl and others. The moderators and respondents will include Lorenzo Benedetti, Suhail Malik, Paul O’Neill, Lucy Steeds, Jeannine Tang, and Mick Wilson.

Given the extraordinary expansion of curatorial research and its surrounding debates the focus of this international conference, organized collaboratively by four of the world’s most prominent curatorial programs asks not “what is next” but rather the more urgent and durable question of “what futures?” This is a question asked with deliberate intention to carry forward the various critical projects framed within curatorial production of the last two decades. The question “What future?” becomes also “Whose futures?” and “Whose agency to frame possible futures?”

These questions have a particular challenge, given the contestation of “the future” at play in our contemporary imaginaries – from the fatalism of “there is no alternative” and the counter-intuitive “no-future” to the critical optimism of “sustainable futures” and the undisclosed promise of multiple “potentialities”, and the perennial refrain that “there is always an alternative!”

In order to address the question of the future of curatorial practice this wide range of practitioners and commentators from across the world will convene to consider these four central questions:

·       What is the future of curatorial education?

·       What is the future of curatorial research? What is the future of exhibition histories/ studies?

·       How will these parallel futures affect curatorial and artistic practice?

·       What kinds of future institutions are needed to make these futures possible?

The expansion of the curatorial field in recent decades has been well rehearsed elsewhere, and the issues within these debates are by now widely familiar, including: the specificity of exhibition-making as a modality of public-ness; curatorial agency and wider questions of “public” culture; the varieties of globalization and the different conditions of contemporary practices; exhibition histories’ counter-hegemonic practices; the archive and the collection as unfinished and contested sites; the dynamics of curatorial rhetorics; the political economies of production, display and distribution; forms of emergence, co-production and generative practice; re-constructions of the aesthetic; the renewal or displacement of critical discourses through curatorial frameworks; the analogy of curating-and-the-curatorial with politics-and-the-political; the various turns to the “discursive”, the “educational”, the “social” and the “object” in curatorial and artistic practices. While conscious of these already well known debates, the Bard College symposium aims to generate new forms for instituting the future of curatorial research and practice.

The symposium is organized in the context of an ongoing collaboration between CCS Bard and the LUMA Foundation, which hosted previous symposia organized by the two institutions. Both The Human Snapshot (2011) and The Flood of Rights (2013) were held in Arles and addressed the photographic image and human rights. LUMA Foundation, through LUMA Arles, is currently developing a new cultural program in Arles, France. The project is located in the former railway yards of Arles and includes a major new building designed by Frank Gehry and the renovation of the industrial buildings on the Parc des Atelier. Together with a core group of advisers (Tom Eccles, Liam Gillick, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, Beatrix Ruf), the founder and executive president, Maja Hoffmann, has charged Bard College with the development of the educational component of the program which will include research, artistic production, exhibitions and archives.  

The symposium will take place in a specially commissioned room in the Hessel Museum of Art designed by architects Pedro&Juana along with Montserrat Albores Gleason (the 2012-14 Fundación Jumex Curatorial Fellow at CCS Bard and CCS Bard alum), as part of the exhibition, Hotel Palenque is not in Yucatán, curated by Gleason. Hotel Palenque is not in Yucatán will be on view during the symposium. Also on view at CCS Bard during the symposium is Spectres, an exhibition and film by Belgian artist, Sven Augustijnen that explores events surrounding the assassination Patrice Émery Lumumba, the first elected Prime Minister of independent Congo, on January, 17, 1961 and its contemporary resonance.

Video of the symposium will be made available on:, please check back regularly. A follow-up publication to the symposium will be released in 2015.

About the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard)

The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) was founded in 1990 as an exhibition and research center for the study of late twentieth-century and contemporary art and culture and to explore experimental approaches to the presentation of these topics and their impact on our world. Since 1994, the Center for Curatorial Studies and its graduate program have provided one of the world’s most forward thinking teaching and learning environments for the research and practice of contemporary art and curatorship. Broadly interdisciplinary, CCS Bard encourages students, faculty and researchers to question the critical and political dimension of art, its mediation and its social significance. CCS Bard cultivates innovative thinking, radical research and new ways to challenge our understanding of the social and civic values of the visual arts. CCS Bard provides an intensive educational program alongside its public events, exhibitions, and publications, which collectively explore the critical potential of the institutions and practices of exhibition-making. It is uniquely positioned within the larger Center’s tripartite resources, which include the internationally renowned CCS Bard Library and Archives and the Hessel Museum of Art, with its rich permanent collection.

About LUMA Foundation and LUMA Arles

The LUMA Foundation was established in 2004 to support the activities of independent artists and pioneers, as well as institutions working in the fields of art and photography, publishing, documentary, and multimedia. The foundation specializes in challenging artistic projects combing a particular interest in enviroinmental issues, human rights, education, and culture in the broadest sense.

The LUMA Foundation, founded in 2004 and LUMA Arles, founded in 2014 in support of the Arles project,  are currently developing a truly experimental cultural center in the Parc des Ateliers in the city of Arles, France, working with the architects Frank Gehry and Annabelle Selldorf. This ambitious project envisions an interdisciplinary center dedicated to the production of exhibitions and ideas, research, education, and archives and is supported by a growing number of public and private partnerships. Construction started after the ground-breaking ceremony in April 2014; the opening of the campus is scheduled for early 2018.

About Central Saint Martins

Central Saint Martins (part of the University of the Arts London) is one of the most prestigious art institutions in the world and both curatorial practice and exhibition studies are core to the work of the staff and to the teaching provision. The MRes Art: Exhibition Studies course is a postgraduate research programme that approaches the history of contemporary art from the perspective of the exhibition form. Founded in 2011, MRes Art: Exhibition Studies is run in association with the editorial team for the Exhibition Histories project of Afterall, an influential research and publishing organization based at CSM. Students on the course are provided with rigorous teaching and a supportive environment in which to develop their own historical and theoretical research. BA & MA Culture, Criticism and Curation propose that ‘culture’—an intentionally broad and contested term—is a provocative starting point for practices of curating and critical writing. The courses teach students to think creatively and critically about different kinds of museums and curated spaces and what kinds of discursive systems they reflect. Teaching staff includes curators, cultural historians, art historians, writers, arts professionals, archivists, designers and filmmakers. High level research skills are taught alongside practical tools for organizing exhibitions and publishing critical writing. The BA was founded in 2004, the MA in 2013; both courses put students into collaborative, open-brief projects as is the practice of an art school education.

About De Appel Curatorial Programme

Initiated in 1994, the Curatorial Programme of de Appel arts centre aims to offer young curators a condensed package of experiences and skills that can be seen as instruments to enhance the development of their professional career.

The ten-month long Curatorial Programme exists in its current form since 2006, with a reshaped curriculum and an extended tutorial team. It encompasses a dense array of seminars, workshops, excursions (including a three-week research trip to a destination outside Western Europe), practice-related assignments and encounters with artists and art professionals. The programme pays attention to the history of exhibition-making, diverse curatorial practices, institution building and project management. The programme is characterized by a specific focus on ´curating in the expanded field´, which is investigated through the polarity between ‘free-lance ’ and ‘institutional’ curating and the notion ‘context-responsive’ curating.

The curriculum of the Curatorial Programme was set up along two lines; a thorough investigation of the practice of curating in the form of annual tutorials and workshops, and a context-responsive assignment which results in a final collective project. In addition, the curriculum of the programme comprises numerous formal and informal encounters with art professionals from the Netherlands and abroad, meetings with artists and curators showing at and working for de Appel, studio visits and institutional visits; extensive exchange with peers from related curatorial programmes, a reading group, personal presentations and attendance of the Public Programme of de Appel arts centre.  

About The Valand Academy of Arts, University of Gothenburg

The Valand Academy of Arts at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, is a centre for the development of the independent artist/ author/ film-maker/ photographer. We are especially interested in the agency of artists, and in artist-led cultures, across the space of contemporary art, cinema, literature, photographic and curatorial practices. Based in the centre of the beautiful port city of Gothenburg, the Academy is closely integrated into the city’s cultural life - including collaborations with Göteborgs Konsthall, Hasselblad Centre, Röda Sten, Gothenburg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA), Literature House, and many other public arts agencies. We are extensively networked internationally with partners all over the world and a history of providing courses in diverse geopolitical sites including collaborative courses in Europe, Russia, Central Asia and South East Asia. The academy's professors were the first in Sweden to introduce the doctorate through arts practices, and have been working with doctorate education for more than a decade. The Academy hosts a lively research community, including several prestigious nationally funded research projects in the areas of artist-led culture, social practice, queer cinema, contemporary poetry, and photographic archives/ imaging practices in environmental and climate science. The Academy is an active partner in the PARSE research platform, in EARN, SHARE; ELIA and several other international networks. The academy is characterised by small class sizes and highly competitive recruitment. The emphasis is on a peer educational environment. Our pedagogical approach is based on co-production: This means that knowledge and practice are developed within a community of learners and researchers comprising students and professors operating in an intense and sustained dialogue with each other. Our students come from different countries, cultural heritages and perspectives and we actively encourage cross-cultural dialogue. We are also concerned to ensure that our programme reflects the diversity of perspective, politic and representation of the contemporary world. The student body is an active participant in the planning and development of the academy's education, research and collaboration with the wider world.

For more information on the conference, including information on attending the conference please write, call 845. 758.7598, or see

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

Mark Primoff
Director of Communications
Tel: +1 845.758.7412      

Ramona Rosenberg
Director of External Affairs
Tel: +1 (845) 758-7574



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This event was last updated on 10-09-2014