Bard Graduate Center opens two new exhibitions

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Bard Graduate Center opens two new exhibitions
Kwakwaka'wakw, Koskimo. Wolf headdress (xisiwe), acquired 1900. Wood, pigment, hair (synthetic?). Courtesy of the Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, 16/8200.

NEW YORK, NY.- Richard Tuttle: What is the Object? – co-curated by the artist – invites visitors to actively participate in creating the meaning of the items in the exhibition, an eclectic selection of decorative and functional objects that Tuttle has collected over the last five decades.

The exhibition grows out of the artist's lifelong curiosity and fascination with objects, and how humans use tangible things to make abstract meaning. Reflecting the artist's inquisitive and playful approach to his practice, visitors will be invited to touch and handle over 70 items drawn from Tuttle's personal collection of objects. Visitors can lift objects from their pedestals, interacting with items ranging from ceramic teacups and decorative sculptures to vintage fabrics and antique curios. In another integral contribution to the exhibition, Tuttle has also designed sculptural furniture to display the objects,

Each object is accompanied by an index card with text written by Tuttle over the course of decades outlining the piece's "biography" – both objective details (including material, provenance, price) and subjective narratives (e.g., Tuttle's first encounter with the object, details on works of art he created that have some relationship with the object). These writings hint at Tuttle's own relationship with his collection, and the role of each object in his life and artistic practice. His information is a springboard for visitors' own experience of the collection as they themselves answer the question, "What is the Object?"

Richard Tuttle: What is the Object? will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue-designed by Tuttle in collaboration with Belgian book designer and publisher Luc Derycke-which features photography of Tuttle's collection, an interview with Tuttle, and essays by Renee Gladman and Peter N. Miller.

Conserving Active Matter
February 25 – July 10, 2022

Conserving Active Matter explores the science, philosophy, and art of conserving objects, calling on visitors to reexamine their relationship with the objects in their daily lives. The exhibition examines four central questions: "What is Conservation?" "How are Things Active?" "Who Acts on Objects, When and Why?" and "Where is the Future of Conservation?" The exhibition provides visitors with an appreciation for conservation as a subjective practice, performed in different ways across time periods and cultures, while remaining a common thread throughout human history.

Featuring more than 70 objects from five different continents, Conserving Active Matter looks at different philosophies and traditions of conservation, and the variety of ways that objects change over time, whether by natural or human intervention. Objects examined include: a Korean shaman painting, a paleolithic hand axe, baseball cards, the IBM Leapfrog (a prototype for a touchscreen tablet dating from the 1990s), works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Neri Oxman, and Hopi "living clay" ceramic canteens. With objects that display the conservation efforts of prior generations, the exhibition examines how scientists, curators, and collectors value-or resist-changes in objects.

The exhibit looks at how conservators are addressing threats to cultural heritage, the surprising impacts of climate change on object conservation, the importance of including non-Western and indigenous perspectives and collaborators, and evolving conceptions of the very definition of preservation.

Conserving Active Matter is the culmination of BGC's ten-year-long "Cultures of Conservation" initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Since 2012, the initiative has been connecting the perspectives of conservation to an interdisciplinary notion of the "human sciences." The exhibition is a collaborative curatorial effort among BGC faculty members Peter N. Miller (dean), Ivan Gaskell (professor), Aaron Glass (associate professor), Meredith Linn (assistant professor and director of master's studies), Jennifer Mass (Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Cultural Heritage Science), Soon Kai Poh (project director and Conservation as a Human Science Fellow), and Ittai Weinryb (associate professor).

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