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Press Release


Emily M. Darrow

The 7th Annual Award Gala Dinner on May 4 in New York City Honors Founding Director of the Menil Collection in Houston

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College will present its annual Award for Curatorial Excellence to Walter Hopps, founding director of the Menil Collection in Houston, at a gala dinner on Tuesday, May 4, in New York City. Artist James Rosenquist and Ann Temkin, curator at the Museum of Modern Art, will present the award, and there will be a toast by Robert Rauschenberg. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m., at Landmark on the Park, 160 Central Park West (corner of 76th St.) in New York City.

The seventh annual gala event raises scholarship funds for the Center’s graduate program, considered the leading master’s degree program in the United States dedicated to training curators and critics of contemporary art. For further information about tickets, call Pam Doyle at 845-758-7504; fax her at 845-758-7629; or e-mail

Walter Hopps’s "sensitivity to works of art takes in not only the works themselves but also the dialogue that he believes can and should occur between one work and another," wrote Calvin Tomkins in a 1991 profile of Hopps for the New Yorker. Hopps is curator of 20th-century art for the Menil Collection and adjunct senior curator of 20th-century art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. He began his distinguished curatorial career in Los Angeles in 1957, when he and Edward Kienholz founded the now-legendary Ferus Gallery. As curator and director of the Pasadena Art Museum from 1959 to 1967, Hopps organized the first museum exhibition of Pop Art and the first solo museum exhibition of Marcel Duchamp. He was director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art from 1967 to 1972 and curator of 20th-century American art at the National Collection of Fine Arts (National Museum of Art) from 1972 to 1979. Over his career he has organized exhibitions of Barnett Newman (for the 1965 São Paulo Bienal), Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell, Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee, Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Paolo Soleri, Kienholz, Rauschenberg, Yves Klein, John Chamberlain, Andy Warhol, Robert Longo, David Salle, and Rosenquist. He is the founder of the Joseph Cornell Study Center at the Smithsonian Institution.

Past recipients of the Award for Curatorial Excellence include Harald Szeemann (1998), presented by Kathy Halbreich; Marcia Tucker (1999), presented by Bruce Nauman, Lowery Sims, and Kirk Varnedoe; Kasper König (2000), presented by Richard Artschwager and Lynne Cooke; Paul Schimmel (2001) presented by Robert Gober and David Ross; Susanne Ghez (2002), presented by Okwui Enwezor, Gary Garrels, and Diana Thater; and Kynaston McShine (2003), presented by Anne d’Harnoncourt and Vito Acconci. The gala dinner will provide support for student scholarships and exhibitions at the Center for Curatorial Studies.

In the Center’s graduate program, students pursue an intensive course of study in the history and criticism of the contemporary visual arts and the practices of exhibition. During the second year of study, each student presents an exhibition at the Center or a series of critical or scholarly essays as a final master’s degree project. Center graduates are now working in arts institutions in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Memphis, Austin, Toronto, Mexico City, Turin, and other cities throughout the United States and abroad.

Since 1994 the Center has presented several exhibitions exploring issues of contemporary museology, including Exhibited (1994), Sniper’s Nest: Art That Has Lived with Lucy R. Lippard (1995), a/drift (1996), and Odradek (1998). It has also presented exhibitions of work by the Cuban photographer Arturo Cuenca (1995) and the Ukrainian photographer Boris Mikhailov (1996); retrospective exhibitions of the Brazilian sculptor Tunga (1997), the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami (1999), the Russian artist Ilya Kabakov (2000), and the British filmmaker Isaac Julien (2000), and the first major U.S. survey of artist Christian Marclay (2003); a series of exhibitions of emerging artists, including the first museum exhibitions of Maciej Toporowicz (1994), Paul Myoda (1995), Kara Walker (1995), and David Shrigley (2001); and special projects by Tony Feher (2001), Sarah Sze (2001), and Dave Muller (2002). Guest curators have included Carlos Basualdo, Francesco Bonami, Joshua Decter, Russell Ferguson, Ivo Mesquita, and Katalin Neray.

For further information about the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, e-mail or visit the website,

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This event was last updated on 05-13-2004