CCS Bard’s summer exhibitions delve into video art and black melancholy

Reflecting the experimental nature of its acclaimed contemporary art program, the summer season at the Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College ranges from grand presentations by video artists pushing the boundaries of the medium to an investigation examining the under-recognized intersections of blackness and of melancholy in the history of art. . Opening June 25, exhibits include:

Dara Birnbaum: Reaction, the first retrospective of the artist’s work in the United States, traces the indelible contributions she has made to the global histories of video, conceptual art, performance and appropriation. The title of the exhibition echoes Birnbaum’s longstanding stance towards mass media: through form and method, she consistently elaborated a vision of art as an enabling force to disrupt silent acquiescence. to authority. Including works from 1975 to 2011, Reaction focuses on major installations, many of which have not been seen in the United States for years, as well as key single-channel archival videos and documents that provide a broad and deep view of his practice.

Ain Bailey, “Untitled” (2022)

Bringing together the works of 28 artists, black melancholy expands and complicates the notion of melancholy in art history and Western cultures. Between painting, sculpture, film, photography, works on paper and sound from the end of the 19th century to the present day, the exhibition opens a dialogue with the traditional discourses of the history of art around the representation of melancholy. Presenting funds from the Marieluise Hessel collection, black melancholy first works, new commissions and debuts on the US East Coast, bringing together artists from the Caribbean, Europe, West Africa and North America. Among them are William Artis, Ain Bailey, Roy DeCarava, Ja’Tovia Gary, Kenyatta AC Hinkle, Sargent Claude Johnson, Rashid Johnson, Valerie Maynard, Charles McGee, Shala Miller, Tyler Mitchell, Arcmanoro Niles, Zohra Opoku, Rose Piper, Pope .L, Augusta Savage, Lorna Simpson, Charisse Pearlina Weston and Alberta Whittle.

Martine Syms: Grio College broadens the notion of “curriculum” to something much more varied than is generally thought: an incessant and itinerant education that encompasses all of our intellectual life, built from theories, thinkers, culture, music , ideas and teachers who influence us, formally and informally, over time. Grio College is the fictional school in the Syms feature The Desperate African (2022), in which an artist attends an intoxicating and passionate MFA program in a pastoral setting (much like Syms herself did). Giving its title to this exhibition, Grio College serves here as the context for this staging of the artist’s work over the past five years (2017-22), a prolific period of activity and development. One of the most insightful and important artists for showing how digital media works and shapes our culture, Syms constantly explores representations of blackness and its relationship to vernacular, feminist thought and radical traditions. The exhibition Grio College presents important new and recent videos and installations while highlighting the artist’s ongoing commitment to photography, highlighting the many methods by which she produces images and how photography underpins her multi-faceted art through form.

For more information on CCS Bard’s summer shows, visit

Martine Syms, “Ugly Plymouths” (2020)

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