Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies

The Brant Foundation, Inc. is pleased to partner with Bard College and to present the Center of Curatorial Studies and Art History Program with a grant to further the college’s programming in the arts.

In addition to supporting the Center of Curatorial Studies and Art History Program, the grant also provides support for library and archive acquisitions within the newly expanded library of CCS Bard.  The expansion more than doubles the capacity of the research facilities, which are open to all students of Bard College and visiting scholars, and includes the permanent installation of a major work by Sol LeWitt.

I am pleased to support an innovative position that brings both the undergraduate and graduate programs into greater contact and helping to nurture future collaborations that strengthen the visual arts at Bard. – Peter Brant

About the Center for Curatorial Studies

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 20th-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.

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  • Dr. Kobena Mercer “Basquiat, Mapplethorpe and Other Bodies”

The Brant Foundation Lecture in Contemporary Art: Dr. Kobena Mercer “Basquiat, Mapplethorpe and Other Bodies”

Description for “Basquiat, Mapplethorpe and Other Bodies”:

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Mapplethorpe together makes for an odd couple—but what insights does such a pairing offer regarding their mutual investments in race and masculinity under the conditions of the 1980s? Drawing on the distinction Hortense Spillers makes between “flesh” and “body,” this lecture examines historical and contemporary representations of black male bodies in which the intimacy of the erotic is entangled with extremities of racialized violence. Coming up to date with works by Paul Sepuya, Xaviera Simmons, among others, how might the notion of “assemblages” bridge Mapplethorpe’s fascination with skin and Basquiat’s figuration of the skeletal?

Kobena Mercer Biography:

Kobena Mercer is Professor of History of Art and African American Studies at Yale University where he brings methods from culural studies to his teaching and research on the modern and contemporary Black Atlantic world. In 2016 he published Travel & See: Black Diaspora Art Practices since the 1980s (Duke University Press, 2017), an essay collection examining artists such as John Akomfrah, Renée Green, Isaac Julien, and Kerry James Marshall, among others. More recently he edited and introduced Stuart Hall’s hitherto unpublished W.E.B Du Bois lectures of 1994, brought out by Harvard University Press in 2017 as The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation. Mercer is an inaugural recipient of the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing, awarded by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in 2006 and in addition to historical studies on Romare Bearden and James Van Der Zee he is the editor of the Annotating Art’s Histories series whose titles include Cosmopolitan Modernisms (2005), Discrepant Abstraction (2006), Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures (2007) and Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers (2008). Highlights among exhibition catalogues over the last few years include Wilfredo Lam at the Pompidou Center, 2015; Mappa Mundi: Frank Bowling’s Map Paintings at Haus der Kunst, Munich, in 2017, and Adrian Piper’s retrospective at MoMA, New York in 2018.

Previous Brant Foundation lectures at Bard College were given by art historian Carrie Lambert-Beatty (2017), artist AA Bronson (2018), and art historian and author Dr. Kellie Jones (2019).

The Brant Foundation Lecture in Contemporary Art: Dr. Kellie Jones “Women and the Dreamwork”

Dr. Kellie Jones is a Professor in Art History and Archaeology and a Faculty Fellow with the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latinx and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory.

Dr. Jones has received numerous awards for her work from the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University; Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and a term as Scholar-in-Residence at the Terra Foundation for American Art in Europe in Giverny, France. In 2016 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

Dr. Jones’s writings have appeared in a multitude of exhibition catalogues and journals. She is the author of two books published by Duke University Press, EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (2011), and South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (2017).

Dr. Jones has also worked as a curator for over three decades and has numerous major national and international exhibitions to her credit. Her exhibition Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980, at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, was named one of the best exhibitions of 2011 and 2012 by Artforum, and best thematic show nationally by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). She was co-curator of Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the 1960s (Brooklyn Museum), named one the best exhibitions of 2014 by Artforum.

The Brant Foundation Lectures in Contemporary Art: AA Bronson

AA will speak on his history with art and social justice through the lens of various projects: from the commune movement and underground newspapers of the 60s, to AIDS activism in the 80s and 90s, to an obsession with art and healing for the last twenty years. For the first time, he will describe and reflect upon his current project, A Public Apology to Siksika Nation, which builds on his family history to address white supremacy and the attempted destruction of Blackfoot culture.

About AA Bronson:

AA Bronson is a Canadian artist living and working in Berlin. In 1966, he left university with a group of friends to found a free school, a commune, and an underground newspaper. This led him into an adventure with gestalt therapy, radical education, and independent publishing.

In 1969 he formed the artists’ group General Idea in Toronto with Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal; for the next 25 years they lived and worked together to produce the living artwork of their being together, undertaking over 100 solo exhibitions, and countless group shows and temporary public art projects.

They were well-known for their magazine FILE (1972-1989), their unrelenting production of low-cost multiples, and their early involvement in punk, queer theory, AIDS activism, and other manifestations of the Other. In 1974 they founded Art Metropole, Toronto, a distribution center and archive for artists’ books, audio, video, and multiples. In 1986 they relocated to New York City: from 1987 through to the death of his partners in 1994 they worked entirely on the theme of AIDS.

Since the late 90s, AA has worked and exhibited as a solo artist, often collaborating with younger generations. From 1999 to 2013, he worked as a healer, an identity that he also incorporated into his artwork.

From 2004 to 2010 he was the Director of Printed Matter, Inc. in New York City, founding the annual NY Art Book Fair in 2005. In 2009 he founded the Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In 2013 he was the founding Director of Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair.

AA Bronson continues to exhibit internationally. His Temptation of AA Bronson at Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, won the 2014 AICA Netherlands Award for best exhibition. In 2015 he had concurrent shows at the Salzburger and Grazer Kunstvereins; his work was showcased in the 2016 Art Unlimited Basel; in April 2018, he will have simultaneous exhibitions at Esther Schipper and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, both in Berlin.

General Idea has had retrospectives at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2011), the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2012), Musée Jumex, Mexico City (2016) and MALBA, Buenos Aires (2017). Most recently, General Idea was presented at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. Works by both AA Bronson and General Idea are included in the current exhibition An Incomplete History of Protest at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

AA Bronson has taught at UCLA, the University of Toronto, and the Yale School of Art. In 2012 he was named an Honorary Professor of Art, Religion, and Social Justice by Union Theological Seminary. He holds many awards and three honorary doctorates. In 2008 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2011 he was named a Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres by the French government.

AA Bronson and General Idea are represented by Esther Schipper, Berlin, and Maureen Paley, London. General Idea additionally is represented by Mai 36 Gallery, Zurich, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.

The Brant Foundation Lectures in Contemporary Art: “How Do You Know? Contemporary Art and the Politics of Knowledge.”

Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard) will present the first in The Brant Foundation Lectures in Contemporary Art series with a lecture by art historian Carrie Lambert-Beatty, “How Do You Know? Contemporary Art and the Politics of Knowledge.” The lecture takes place at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15, in Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard College. This lecture is made possible by the major grant given from The Brant Foundation to Bard College to support The Brant Foundation Fellowship in Contemporary Arts.

Carrie Lambert-Beatty is Professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, and Director of Graduate Studies for the Ph.D. in Film and Visual Studies.

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  • Curated by undergraduate students in ARTH 362: To Care, To Exhibit, To Present: Seminar on Curating, taught by Alex Kitnick, The Brant Foundation Fellow in Contemporary Arts. December 2016, CCS Bard Teaching Gallery, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.
  • Installation images from S/Election, curated by undergraduate students in ARTH 362: To Care, To Exhibit, To Present: Seminar on Curating, taught by Alex Kitnick, The Brant Foundation Fellow in Contemporary Arts. December 2016, CCS Bard Teaching Gallery, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.
  • Curated by undergraduate students in ARTH 362: To Care, To Exhibit, To Present: Seminar on Curating, taught by Alex Kitnick, The Brant Foundation Fellow in Contemporary Arts. December 2016, CCS Bard Teaching Gallery, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.

To Care, To Exhibit, To Present: Seminar on Curating, taught by Alex Kitnick

December 8th, 2016 – S/Election is an exhibition of artworks and interventions that confronts our current political moment. By considering representation in both its political and aesthetic registers the exhibition transforms the museum into a site for thinking through our national situation. Following in the tradition of exhibitions such as Group Material’s Democracy (1990), the curators seek to challenge and expand the conventions of the white cube, transforming it into a space not only for looking but also for discussion and meeting. S/Election has been curated by undergraduate students in ARTH 362 To Care, To Exhibit, To Present: Seminar on Curating, taught by Alex Kitnick.


The Brant Foundation Fellow in Contemporary Arts

Alex Kitnick, a noted art historian and writer, has been appointed as the new Brant Foundation Fellow in Contemporary Arts. This fellowship enables Kitnick to join the College as a full-time faculty member teaching jointly in CCS Bard’s graduate and Bard’s art history undergraduate programs. This joint appointment is the first of its kind in the visual arts at Bard.

Alex Kitnick received his Ph.D. in art history from Princeton University in 2010, where he worked with Hal Foster.  His critical and historical writings cover a wide range of twentieth century art practices from art and technology to Minimalism and Pop. He has also written extensively on contemporary artists such as Rachel Harrison, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Mark Leckey.

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We are delighted to receive this visionary grant from The Brant Foundation and Peter Brant, who share our commitment to education and research. His support for a faculty position that helps to unify departments and resources creates a momentum for the future and shows a commitment to the students of the College. Alex Kitnick is a distinguished historian who adds a new and distinct voice to our program.

– Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies