Annandale on Hudson, New York,
15:03 PM

CCS Bard Announces its Spring and Summer Season at The Hessel Museum of Art

First U.S. Retrospective of Dara Birnbaum ● New and Recent Work by Martine Syms ● Group Exhibition Proposing Black Melancholia as Critical Practice ● Solo Graduate Thesis Exhibitions Organized by CCS Bard Graduating Class

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (February 23, 2022)—The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) today announced its spring and summer season at the Hessel Museum of Art, showcasing the work of new curatorial voices, under-recognized art histories, and major exhibitions of video art. Recognized for its innovative and experimental contemporary art program, curated by CCS Bard curatorial staff, faculty, students, and practitioners from around the world, the Hessel Museum also provides a core component of CCS Bard’s graduate program for curatorial studies and home to the Marieluise Hessel Collection, considered among the most significant contemporary art collections on a university campus.

The forthcoming season embraces the range and diversity of CCS Bard’s field of study and research, including major solo exhibitions of Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms (Bard College, MFA’17); Black Melancholia, a group exhibition of artists from late 19th century to the present day that complicates the traditional representations of melancholy in Western art history; and Interference, a series of fourteen exhibitions independently curated by the graduating members of CCS Bard’s masters program, who capture the uncertainty and adaptability of these times in their research and work.

 “CCS Bard’s Hessel Museum of Art provides a critical platform for curators to catalyze new thinking and for contemporary artists to present groundbreaking work,” said Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College and Founding Director of the Hessel Museum of Art. “With this lineup of spring and summer exhibitions, we build on a long history of ambitious programming that sparks new conversations on art and exhibition making today.”

More information on each exhibition follows below.

April 2 – May 29, 2022
Interference presents fourteen new exhibitions and curatorial projects that probe the hybrid conditions, change, and adaptation that have defined life and, in turn, contemporary art and curatorial practice, since the start of the pandemic. Each exhibition is independently curated by a member of CCS Bard’s graduating class, who began their study in Fall 2020, and draws upon the Marieluise Hessel Collection and CCS Bard’s Library and Archives as a launch pad to put forward original research on emerging and overlooked contemporary art and artists.

Containing a myriad of inquiries, Interference collectively explores new approaches to histories, archives, notions of embodiment, artistic production, and the gallery space itself. Among the exhibitions on view are site-specific commissions by Peruvian artist Rita Ponce De León and American artist Alan Ruiz, a survey of contemporary Latinx photography, and an exhibition juxtaposing the cultural and carceral histories of the Hudson Valley that were central to the region’s development.

Exhibitions organized by CCS Bard Class of 2022: Isabella Achenbach, Eduardo Alfonso, Angelica Arbelaez, Eugenia Braniff, Junni Chen, Sofia D’Amico, Laura Hakel, Hana Halilaj, Min Sun Jeon, May Makki, Claire Sammut, Danni Shen, Dominika Tylcz, and Guy Weltchek.

Dara Birnbaum: Reaction
June 25 – November 27, 2022  
The first retrospective of Dara Birnbaum’s work in the United States, Reaction charts a wide and in-depth view of the artist’s extraordinary and influential practice, marking the indelible contribution Birnbaum has made not only to American art but to the international movements of Conceptual, performance, and appropriation art. Including works from 1975 to 2011, Reaction focuses on key single-channel videos and major installations, many not seen in the United States for years, including Damnation of Faust (1984), Will-O’-the-Wisp (1985), and Hostage (1994), among others. An accompanying presentation of archival material will illustrate her rigorous and interdisciplinary method, while illuminating the multifaceted contexts of her work in art, music, and politics.

Organized by Lauren Cornell, Chief Curator of the Hessel Museum of Art and Director of the Graduate Program at CCS Bard, the retrospective illuminates a groundbreaking artistic practice based in deep study and deconstruction of technological context, message, and medium. The exhibition will be accompanied by a forthcoming catalogue, published by Dancing Foxes and CCS Bard with the Miller ICA, with contributors including: Alex Kitnick, Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Culture at Bard College; Jordan Carter, Dia Art Foundation curator; Erika Balsom, media scholar and critic; Giampaolo Bianconi, Museum Brandhorst curator and writer; and Legacy Russell, The Kitchen’s Executive Director and Chief Curator, in conversation with Elizabeth Chodos, Director of Miller ICA; as well as Lauren Cornell.

Dara Birnbaum: Reaction is generously supported by Lonti Ebers. Major additional support is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Dara Birnbaum: Reaction is also made possible through the generous support of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation.

Martine Syms: Grio College
June 25 – November 27, 2022
The practice of Martine Syms is distinguished by its boundlessness: her subjects move across media—print and web publishing, photography, moving image, installation, AI, software—dissolving the lines between these forms. One of the most insightful and important artists to show how digital media shapes our culture, Syms often draws upon personal stories, oral histories, and cultural references to create transfixing fictions that reflect back on contemporary life and subjecthood.

Martine Syms: Grio College presents an expansive selection of Syms’ work, featuring major new and recent works. The exhibition includes her now iconic installation on gesture and femininity Borrowed Lady (2016), which was recently acquired by the Marieluise Hessel Collection, as well as recent installations Ugly Plymouths (2020), an immersive one-act play across three screens, and DED (2021), a gripping animation that follows an avatar of the artist moving through a digital netherworld.

Grio College also emphasizes the artist’s versatile approach to photography, highlighting the many scales and methods through which she approaches image-making. Installations such as Misdirected Kiss (2016) and Grand Calme (2018), never before seen in the U.S., demonstrate how her research-based projects come to build entire environments, with photographs placed on the floor, walls, and interwoven into layered collages.

The exhibition is also accompanied by a screening of Syms’ first feature film The African Desperate (2022), and premieres related new photographic works and drawings.

Martine Syms: Grio College is curated by Lauren Cornell, Chief Curator of the Hessel Museum of Art and Director of the Graduate Program at CCS Bard.

Black Melancholia
June 25 – October 16, 2022
Bringing together the work of twenty-eight artists of African descent, Black Melancholia expands and complicates the notion of melancholy in Western art history and cultures. Including new commissions as well as painting, sculpture, film, photography, works on paper, and sound, from the late 19th century to the present day, the exhibition opens a dialogue with traditional art historical discourses around the representation of melancholia.

Black Melancholia pushes beyond the iconography of melancholia as an art historical subject and psychoanalytical concept to subvert highly racialized discourses in which notions of longing, despair, sadness, and loss were not only pathologized, but also reserved for white cis (fe-)male subjects. The exhibition aims to create a generative space for inspiration, solace, and refuge through a presentation that blends new and recent works with pieces from the late 19th to mid-20th century by artists whose careers never reached full recognition or potential during their lifetimes due to systemic erasure.

Included artists are Clay Apenouvon, Ain Bailey, Edward Mitchell Bannister, Selma Burke, Roy DeCarava, Ja’Tovia Gary, Cy Gavin, Lyle Ashton Harris, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Sargent Johnson, Rashid Johnson, Valerie Maynard, Charles McGee, Danielle Mckinney, Shala Miller, Tyler Mitchell, Arcmanoro Niles, Otobong Nkanga, Zohra Opoku, Pope.L, Walter Price, Augusta Savage, Lorna Simpson, Charisse Pearlina Weston, Charles White, and Alberta Whittle.

On view in the CCS Bard Galleries at the Hessel Museum of Art, Black Melancholia is organized by Nana Adusei-Poku, Associate Professor and Luma Foundation Scholar at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. 

About the Hessel Museum of Art
CCS Bard’s Hessel Museum of Art advances experimentation and innovation in contemporary art through its dynamic exhibitions and programs. Located on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, the Hessel organizes and presents group exhibitions and thematic surveys, monographic presentations, traveling exhibitions, as well as student-curated shows that are free and open to the public. The museum’s program draws inspiration from its unparalleled collection of contemporary art, which features the Marieluise Hessel Collection at its core and comprises more than 3,000 objects collected contemporaneously from the 1960s through the present day.

The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College
The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) is the leading institution dedicated to curatorial studies, a field exploring the conditions that inform contemporary exhibition-making and artistic practice. Through its Graduate Program, Library and Archives, and the Hessel Museum of Art, CCS Bard serves as an incubator for interdisciplinary practices, advances new and underrepresented perspectives in contemporary art, and cultivates a student body from diverse backgrounds in a broad effort to transform the curatorial field. CCS Bard’s dynamic and multifaceted program includes exhibitions, symposia, publications and public events, which explore the critical potential of the practice of exhibition-making.

 Exhibitions at CCS Bard are made possible with support from the Marieluise Hessel Foundation, the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Foundation, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, the Board of Governors of the Center for Curatorial Studies, the CCS Bard Arts Council, and the Center’s Patrons, Supporters, and Friends.