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April 10
Gavin Brown Donates Archive from His Eponymous Gallery to CCS Bard
Resnicow and Associates: Juliet Sorce / Chelsea Beroza / Emilia Litwak
Tel: +1 212-671-5158 / 212-671-5165 / 212-671-5168
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ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY (April 10, 2024)—The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College announced today it has acquired the archive of legendary New York art gallery, Gavin Brown’s enterprise (GBE). Donated by gallerist Gavin Brown, the archive represents a 26-year history of one of New York City’s most innovative art spaces, home to a generation of many of today’s most important artists, including Joan Jonas, Alex Katz, Mark Leckey, Arthur Jafa, Elizabeth Peyton, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Laura Owens, Elaine Sturtevant, Peter Doig, and LaToya Ruby Frazier, among others.

Alongside comprehensive artist files, exhibition histories, catalogs, and documentation, the archive contains an intimate portrait of the New York art world from the mid-1990s through 2020. Beginning with the gallery’s opening at its Broome Street location in 1994, the archive traces the evolution of Gavin Brown’s enterprise through its relocation to the Meatpacking District in 1997 (replete with the bar, Passerby, and a fully functional disco floor designed by Piotr Uklański), to its move to the West Village in 2003, and finally to Harlem in 2013, where it famously premiered Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, The Message is Death. A selection of works from the archive will be on view this June as part of the exhibition Start Making Sense, which draws on CCS Bard’s holdings to examine the complexity of how art gains meaning through the advocacy of curators, fellow artists, gallerists, and others who form what is commonly referred to as the “art community.”

“Gavin Brown’s enterprise was as much a social space as an influential pillar of the commercial gallery world, and it remains a key touchstone for independent representation within the arts community,” said Tom Eccles, Executive Director of CCS Bard. “The archives preserve and make public a dynamic history of a space known for challenging convention and for dynamic exhibition making.”

The Gavin Brown’s enterprise archive joins a growing list of gallery archives, including those of Colin de Land and Pat Hearn, held at CCS Bard. Other additions have included most recently the archival holdings of curator Robert Storr and art historian Eddie Chambers respectively.

“The archives at CCS Bard are an unparalleled public resource documenting the history of contemporary exhibition-making. The donation of Gavin Brown’s archival holdings deepens our collections to provide unprecedented insight into the workings of the iconic gallery and broader contemporary art world during a critical period of inflection and growth,” states Ann Butler, Director of the Library and Archives at CCS Bard.

CCS Bard’s 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.

About Start Making Sense
On view at CCS Bard’s Hessel Museum of Art, June 22 – October 20, 2024
Start Making Sense draws upon the exceptional holdings at CCS Bard—the Marieluise Hessel Collection, the many gifts of contemporary art received from donors over the past two decades, and the CCS Bard Archives. The exhibition “reads” these works through the lens of the center’s extensive archive and special collections, drawing a complex picture of how art gains meaning through the advocacy of curators, fellow artists, gallerists, and others who form what is commonly referred to as the “art community.” Featuring artworks primarily from the 1990s, and works by Ida Applebroog, Mark Dion, Andrea Fraser, Lyle Ashton Harris, Mary Heilmann, Chris Ofili, Catherine Opie, Laura Owens, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Christopher Wool, among others, Start Making Sense highlights moments of critical cultural significance and exhibitions during this decade that changed how we see art today and whose voices and artwork made that possible.

Start Making Sense is curated by Ann Butler, Director of the Library and Archives and Tom Eccles, Executive Director, CCS Bard with Marina Caron (CCS Bard ’23).

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.