February 23, 2015 - Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College - Martha Wilson and Christine Tohme to receive the 2015 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence
February 23, 2015

Martha Wilson and Christine Tohme to receive the 2015 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence

Photo: Lisa Quiñones.

Martha Wilson and Christine Tohme to receive 2015 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence from The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College

www.bard.edu/ccs

The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) is pleased to announce that Martha Wilson, Founding Director of Franklin Furnace in New York City, and Christine Tohme, Founding Director of Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, Lebanon, are the recipients of the 2015 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. The awards will be presented at a gala celebration and dinner held on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at Capitale, 130 Bowery, in New York City, and be presented by Susanne Ghez, Adjunct Curator, Department of Contemporary Art, The Art Insitute of Chicago and Former Executive Director of The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago, and Jay Sanders, Whitney Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. 

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please contact Ramona Rosenberg at T +1 845 758 7574 or rrosenberg [​at​] bard.edu.

Tom Eccles, Executive Director of CCS Bard states: “We are delighted that two extraordinary pioneers from very different parts of the globe have been selected for this year’s award.  Both Christine Tohme and Martha Wilson represent the dedication, persistence, and vision that every young curator should aspire to.  Each in their own way has been a transformative figure often working in challenging environments and under difficult conditions.”

Martha Wilson is a pioneering feminist artist and gallery director, who over the past four decades created innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity.  She has been described by New York Times critic Holland Cotter as one of “the half-dozen most important people for art in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s.”  In 1976 she founded Franklin Furnace, an artist-run space that champions the exploration, promotion, and preservation of artist books, temporary installation, performance art, as well as online works.  She has received fellowships for performance art from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; Bessie and Obie awards for commitment to artists’ freedom of expression; a Yoko Ono Lennon Courage Award for the Arts; a Richard Massey Foundation-White Box Arts and Humanities Award; and in 2013 received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University.

Christine Tohme is an independent curator and founder/director of Ashkal Alwan – the Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts. Founded in Beirut in 1993, Ashkal Alwan is committed to the production, research, and circulation of contemporary artistic and intellectual practices. In 2002, the association initiated Home Works: A Forum on Cultural Practices, a multidisciplinary platform that brings together artists, writers, thinkers, filmmakers, and choreographers, among others, for a public program of exhibitions, panel discussions, film screenings, and performances. In 2011, Ashkal Alwan opened its first multipurpose space and launched the Home Workspace Program, an annual tuition-free art-study program. Tohme received a Prince Claus Award in 2006 for her contribution to the development of critical culture in Lebanon and beyond. She is on the board of Marsa (Beirut), a sexual health center that provides specialized medical services for the general public as well as at-risk youth and marginalized communities. Tohme is also on the board of SAHA (Istanbul), an association supporting contemporary art from Turkey.

About CCS Bard’s Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence
For 18 years, the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College has celebrated and awarded the individual achievements of a leading curator or curators whose lasting contributions have shaped the way we conceive of exhibition-making today. Since 2012, the award has been given under the name of patron Audrey Irmas, who has bestowed the endowment for the Award. Irmas is a board member of CCS Bard and an active member of the Los Angeles arts and philanthropic community. The award has been designed by artist Lawrence Weiner, and is based on his 2006 commission Bard Enter, conceived for the entrance to the Hessel Museum of Art at CCS Bard.

The awardee is selected by an independent panel of leading contemporary art curators, museum directors, and artists. Past recipients include Harald Szeemann (1998), Marcia Tucker (1999), Kasper König (2000), Paul Schimmel (2001), Susanne Ghez (2002), Kynaston McShine (2003), Walter Hopps (2004), Kathy Halbreich and Mari Carmen Ramírez (2005), Lynne Cooke and Vasif Kortun (2006), Alanna Heiss (2007), Catherine David (2008), Okwui Enwezor (2009), Lucy Lippard (2010), Helen Molesworth and Hans Ulrich Obrist (2011), Ann Goldstein (2012), Elisabeth Sussman (2013), and Charles Esche (2014). The award reflects CCS Bard’s commitment to recognizing individuals who have defined new thinking, bold vision, and dedicated service to the field of exhibition practice. 

About the Center for Curatorial Studies
The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) was founded in 1990 as an exhibition and research center for the study of late 20th-century and contemporary art and culture and to explore experimental approaches to the presentation of these topics and their impact on our world. Since 1994, the Center for Curatorial Studies and its graduate program have provided one of the world’s most forward thinking teaching and learning environments for the research and practice of contemporary art and curatorship. Broadly interdisciplinary, CCS Bard encourages students, faculty and researchers to question the critical and political dimension of art, its mediation, and its social significance. CCS Bard cultivates innovative thinking, radical research, and new ways to challenge our understanding of the social and civic values of the visual arts. CCS Bard provides an intensive educational program alongside its public events, exhibitions, and publications, which collectively explore the critical potential of the institutions and practices of exhibition-making. It is uniquely positioned within the larger Center’s tripartite resources, which include the internationally renowned CCS Bard Library and Archives and the Hessel Museum of Art, with its rich permanent collection.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please contact Ramona Rosenberg at T +1 845 758 7574 or rrosenberg [​at​] bard.edu.


Center for Curatorial Studies and
Hessel Museum of Art
Bard College, PO Box 5000 
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000 
T +1 845 758 7598 / ccs [​at​] bard.edu

Martha Wilson and Christine Tohme to receive the 2015 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence from CCS Bard
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