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Bard College Receives $500,000 Grant to Support Renovations of The Center for Curatorial Studies

Mark Primoff
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard College has received a $500,000 grant from New York State’s Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program that will be used to support the renovation of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard). Housing a premier graduate program dedicated to curatorial studies, as well as a permanent collection of over 2,000 works of major contemporary art and a Library and Archives recognized worldwide as a leading research institution, CCS Bard and Hessel Museum of Art is renowned for its innovative and unique exhibitions and public programming.

The grant was among 29 grants totaling $35.3 million statewide announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The funding, from the Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program, provides matching grants to private colleges and universities for the construction, rehabilitation or repair of classrooms, laboratories and other facilities. The program requires grantees to match approximately three dollars for every dollar provided by New York State.

Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) was instrumental in obtaining the grant.  “As a member of the Higher Education Committee and a longtime advocate for supporting and expanding educational opportunities, I am proud to have been part of making this dream a reality,” Cahill said.  “Bard College is one of the jewels of the Hudson Valley and indeed one of the finest private colleges in America.  This funding will help to make the exquisite variety of celebrated artistic works at Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies more accessible to the public while also expanding the capacity to meet the ever-growing needs of this competitive and innovative institution.”

CCS Bard and Hessel Museum of Art are expanding its facility to create a new Visible Collections Storage and Living Archive where work from its Contemporary Art Collection can be placed on permanent public view. New and repurposed classrooms, study, and meeting spaces will allow the rich resources of CCS Bard to be more accessible for students, researchers, and visitors, as well as increase its capability for hosting public receptions, lectures and screenings. This project will transform the way the public and visiting scholars can view the collection that includes work by leading contemporary artists, much of which cannot be shown due to space limitations. The newly renovated facilities, which will include a Visible Collections Storage and Living Archive, will further the mission of CCS Bard, enhance CCS Bard as a major cultural tourism site, transform the way the public can view and access the Collection, and increase the programmatic offerings at the College and contribute to student life.

Two site-specific artworks will also be installed in the Visible Collection Storage and Living Archive. One of Sol Lewitt’s wall drawings, Two Asymmetrical Pyramids (1986) from the Marieluise Hessel Collection will be installed on the back wall of the Living Archive, and a newly commissioned piece by Liam Gillick will be integrated into the space. These artworks will be on permanent view for all visitors to CCS Bard.

“This support from New York State’s Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program provides a unique opportunity to transform the teaching and research programs of the Center for Curatorial Studies, creating space for growth and better public access to our remarkable collections and resources,” said Tom Eccles.

“New York’s colleges and universities are among the best in the nation – and with this funding, we are helping them make big investments that will benefit students in both the near and long-term future,” said Governor Cuomo. “I’m proud to be supporting these important projects, because they will ensure a stronger and more competitive higher education environment in New York for years to come.”


About Bard College

Founded in 1860, Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, is an independent, nonsectarian, residential, coeducational college offering a four-year B.A. program in the liberal arts and sciences and a five-year B.A./B.S. degree in economics and finance. The Bard College Conservatory of Music offers a five-year program in which students pursue a dual degree—a B.Music and a B.A. in a field other than music—and offers an M.Music in vocal arts and in conducting. Bard also bestows an M.Music degree at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Bard and its affiliated institutions also grant the following degrees: A.A. at Bard High School Early College, a public school with campuses in New York City, Cleveland, and Newark, New Jersey; A.A. and B.A. at Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and through the Bard Prison Initiative at six correctional institutions in New York State; M.A. in curatorial studies, M.S. in economic theory and policy, and M.S. in environmental policy and in climate science and policy at the Annandale campus; M.F.A. and M.A.T. at multiple campuses; M.B.A. in sustainability in New York City; and M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan. Internationally, Bard confers dual B.A. degrees at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University, Russia (Smolny College); American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan; and Bard College Berlin: A Liberal Arts University; as well as dual B.A. and M.A.T. degrees at Al-Quds University in the West Bank.

Bard offers nearly 50 academic programs in four divisions. Total enrollment for Bard College and its affiliates is approximately 5,000 students. The undergraduate College has an enrollment of more than 1,900 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. For more information about Bard College, visit

The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College

Bard College seeks to realize the best features of American liberal arts education, enabling individuals to think critically and act creatively based on a knowledge and understanding of human history, society and the arts.  Founded in 1860, Bard has built a reputation as a place of innovation in higher education and a force for the rebirth of intellectual thought in public life.

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. Founded in 1990, the Center initiated its graduate program in curatorial studies in 1994. The curriculum is specifically designed to deepen students’ understanding of the intellectual and practical tasks of curating exhibitions of contemporary art, particularly in the complex social and cultural situations of present-day arts institutions. The mission of the Center’s graduate program is to provide practical training and experience in a museum setting and an intensive course of study in the history of the contemporary visual arts, the institutions and practices of exhibition making, and the theory and criticism of the visual arts.

The Center for Curatorial Studies is housed in a 38,000-square-foot building that was completed in December 1991 and inaugurated in April 1992.  To accommodate its growing collection and programs, the facility was expanded and completely renovated in 2006 to include the Hessel Museum of Art, a new 17,000 square-foot exhibition space dedicated to the Marieluise Hessel Collection of over 1,700 works.  The renovation included a significant expansion of the Center’s library and classroom spaces, and the construction of a new graduate student lounge where CCS students can meet informally to discuss group projects. The expansion and renovation of the Center library, classroom space and student lounge was made possible through the generosity of Edwin L. Artzt, the LLWW Foundation, and Melissa Schiff Soros and Robert Soros.

The mission of the Center’s exhibition program is to encourage and explore experimental approaches to the presentation of contemporary visual arts, particularly approaches that reflect the Center’s commitment to the multidisciplinary study of art and culture.  Since 1992, CCS Bard has presented more than 50 museum exhibitions in the CCS Bard Galleries, many of which have traveled to institutions around the world.  Previous exhibitions include:  Uncertain States of America, a major survey of forty-five young American artists curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Daniel Birnbaum and Gunnar Kvaran (Summer 2006); major retrospective exhibitions of the Brazilian sculptor Tunga (1997) and American artist Dave Muller (2002); and the first museum exhibitions of Kara Walker (1995) and David Shrigley (2001).  The Center’s exhibition program is augmented by a vibrant public lecture and “Conversation” series in which prominent scholars, critics, and artists address issues relating to the contemporary visual arts, curatorial studies, and the history of exhibition making.  Previous presenters for public lecture events include:  Benjamin Buchloh, Chuck Close, Arthur Danto, Donna De Salvo, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Dan Graham, Agnes Gund, Isaac Julian, and Molly Nesbit.  All Center exhibitions and public events are free and open to both the Bard community and the wider public.

Graduate Program in Curatorial Studies

For the past twenty years, The Center for Curatorial Studies has housed one of the world’s leading graduate programs dedicated to the study of historical models for the presentation and reception of art, and to the development of innovative ones. Originally conceived in the early 1990s to address the burgeoning, largely unexamined terrain of international curatorial practice, the Graduate Program has since evolved into an institution poised to account for artistic production and circulation in light of contemporary objects of inquiry including, but not limited to: globalization; modes of networks and distribution; technology and aesthetics; spatial politics; new institutionalism; social practice; and artistic and archival research. Seen through the lens of curatorial studies, the vectors of such a broad list take on real specificity, allowing for reflection on the growing—if still productively rogue—history of curatorial practice while providing a firm foundation for experimental projects in the field.

CCS Graduate Program

CCS’s Graduate Program is a Master’s Degree granting, two-year course. It is uniquely positioned within the larger Center’s tripartite resources, which include the archives/library and the Hessel Museum of Art, with its rich permanent collection. The Graduate Program’s curriculum emphasizes the interrelatedness of practice and discourse, disavowing ahistorical or anti-intellectual approaches even while encouraging alternative and even oppositional interpretations of artistic, institutional, and cultural histories. Students, faculty, and visiting artists, curators, and researchers make up a shifting community of thinkers and add to an engaged investigation into the stakes and claims for curating and its associated tasks. The Graduate Program’s aim is to provide a sustained platform for dialogues around curatorial practice as it relates to art and cultural histories and, as important, as it attends to and configures future possible endeavors.

CCS Bard Library and Archives

The Library and Archives at the Center for Curatorial Studies

The Library and Archives at the Center for Curatorial Studies are a vital research center specializing in curatorial studies and the contemporary arts.  Although the collections are non-circulating, the library and archives are open to the Bard community, as well as outside researchers and scholars specializing in the contemporary arts.  The library and archives are also a dynamic and integral component of the Center’s 2-year graduate program supporting the advanced research of curatorial studies students.

The library contains over 25,000 volumes focusing on post-1960s contemporary art and curatorial practices.  The main collection includes extensive holdings of international exhibition catalogs, artists’ monographs dating to the 1960s, and over 60 current subscriptions to international art journals and periodicals covering the contemporary arts and curatorial practices.  Special Collections holdings include a significant collection of approximately 80 historic artist-produced periodicals, an extensive collection of limited edition, signed, and out of print exhibition catalogs, a media collection, and a collection of artists’ books.  Through donation and purchase, the library is comprehensively collecting the full publication history of select international exhibition venues, art publishers, and small presses.

The CCS Bard Archives contain the institutional archives for the Center for Curatorial Studies and the Hessel Museum of Art.  The collection contains documentation of the complete exhibition and programming history of CCS Bard.  Other collections include the organizational archives of select galleries such as the Virginia Dwan Gallery Archives, and the personal papers of select curators, artists, and artist-run spaces and initiatives.  The archives also contain artist files for the artists represented in the Hessel Museum collection, as well as Study Collections which document significant international curators, and a selection of historic exhibitions.

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This event was last updated on 02-15-2016