Exhibitions Champion Women-Led Movements and Socially Engaged Art at CCS Bard

Two major exhibitions, Closer to Life: Drawings and Works on Paper in the Marieluise Hessel Collection and With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985, are now on view at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Just a short drive from New York City, these exhibitions at CCS Bard reexamine under-explored art movements and media, and provide a glimpse into the collecting history of CCS Bard Co-founder Marieluise Hessel, whose collection is in active use at the center of CCS Bard’s graduate program — and from which many of the works in Closer to Life and With Pleasure are drawn.

Comprising more than 75 works on paper from the Hessel Collection to track over four decades of collecting, Closer to Life explores drawing as a tool for reflection on issues of significant personal and social import. The exhibition features many artists whose work in the medium is underexamined within their larger oeuvre, from William Copley drawings that capture mid-century pop culture to recent acquisitions of works by Ulrike Müller. Additional artists include Joseph Beuys, Nick Cave, Nicole Eisenman, Rashid Johnson, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Gerhard Richter, Lorna Simpson, Rosemarie Trockel, Danh Vo, and David Wojnarowicz, among many others.

With Pleasure, the first large-scale North American survey of the women-led Pattern and Decoration (P&D) movement of the 1970s and ’80s, showcases major works from the Hessel Collection alongside significant loans from museums, private collections, and foundations to trace the movement’s reach in postwar American art. Countering the male-dominated minimalist aesthetics of the day, P&D celebrated color, excess, and the decorative. The exhibition examines the artists at the movement’s core, such as Valerie Jaudon, Robert Kushner, Kim MacConnel, and Barbara Zucker, as well as those whose contributions to P&D have been under-recognized, like Merion Estes, Dee Shapiro, Kendall Shaw, and Takako Yamaguchi; and those who are not normally considered in the context of P&D, such as Emma Amos, Billy Al Bengston, Al Loving, and Betty Woodman. 

To learn more about CCS Bard’s summer exhibitions, visit ccs.bard.edu.

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