ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY (October 26, 2023) —The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) today announced that distinguished Black British scholar and art historian, Eddie Chambers, has placed his papers with the CCS Bard Archives, significantly enhancing the scope of CCS Bard’s research collections. This archival acquisition is the first in a series dedicated to Black Exhibition Histories, an initiative co-funded by the Marieluise Hessel Foundation which included the 2021 conference and 2022 publication Reshaping the Field: Arts of the African Diasporas on Display, published with Afterall in association with CCS Bard, Asia Art Archive, and the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts at the University of Gothenburg.
The collection spans the late 1970s to the 2010s and includes rare publications, invitations, flyers, press, photographs, and manuscripts primarily documenting British Black and Caribbean artists from the African Diaspora. “This archival collection broadens and expands the research collections at CCS Bard in a profound way, providing access to unique documentation that will support the writing of underserved exhibition histories and new scholarship,” states Ann Butler, Director of the Library and Archives at CCS Bard.
Eddie Chambers, whose broad area of expertise and scholarship is the art and art history of the African Diaspora, teaches at the University of Texas at Austin where he is the holder of the David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professorship in Art History. He has been professionally involved in the visual arts for four decades, first as an artist, then as a writer of art criticism and as an art curator. More recently, since the early 2000s, he has transitioned to academia, serving initially as a Visiting Professor at Emory University, Atlanta, before going on, in 2010, to his current position at the University of Texas at Austin.
In 1989 Eddie Chambers established the African and Asian Visual Artists’ Archive (AAVAA), the only dedicated research and reference facility in the UK at the time concerned with documenting the history and work of British-based Black artists. Chambers coordinated AAVAA until 1992. Chambers earned his PhD at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 1998, working under Professor Sarat Maharaj and external examiner Professor Stuart Hall. His doctorate focused on the press and other responses to a new generation of Black British artists who emerged in the 1980s.
Chambers has worked with a great many artists over the course of several decades, including Eugene Palmer, Vladimir Cybil Charlier, Frank Bowling, Denzil Forrester, Barbara Walker, and Alberta Whittle. Chambers has written several books, namely Run Through the Jungle: Selected Writings by Eddie Chambers (London: InIVA - The Institute of International Visual Arts, 1999); Things Done Change: The Cultural Politics of Recent Black Artists in Britain (Amsterdam/New York: Editions Rodopi, 2012); Black Artists in British Art: A History Since the 1950s (I. B. Tauris & Co Ltd, London and New York, Series: International Library of Visual Culture, 2014, reprinted, September 2015); Roots & Culture: Cultural Politics in the Making of Black Britain (I. B. Tauris & Co Ltd, London and New York, Series: International Library of Visual Culture, 2017); and World is Africa: Writings on Diaspora Art (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2021). His peer review texts, and other forms of writing have been published in Nka Journal of Contemporary African Art, Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, and Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art, and Art Monthly, among many others.
On November 6, 2023, Eddie Chambers will give a guest lecture entitled “The (Curious) Progress of Black British Artists” at CCS Bard, as part of the Center’s Speaker Series of public talks which are free and open to the public. For more information, please go to: https://ccs.bard.edu/events/553-eddie-chambers.
CCS Bard Archives
The Archives at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard Archives) serve as a collecting repository which actively acquires, preserves, and provides access to a wide range of primary materials documenting the history of the contemporary visual arts and the institutions and practices of exhibition-making since the 1960s. The CCS Bard Archives also serve as the institutional repository for the Center for Curatorial Studies and Hessel Museum of Art, complementing and enriching the Hessel Museum of Art’s rich permanent collection. The CCS Bard Library and Archives support research by a wide range of constituencies including students in the MA Program in Curatorial Studies, Bard students, faculty and staff, and international researchers and scholars whose work relies on access to primary materials documenting the contemporary arts.
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.