Art historian Robert Storr has bequeathed the majority of his massive personal archive to the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. The gift, described by CCS Bard executive director Tom Eccles as “gamechanging,” encompasses more than 25,000 volumes. Among them are books on twentieth-century art history, criticism, theory, and literature as well as artist monographs, rare periodicals, and out-of-print exhibition catalogues from major international museums and galleries. Also included are Storr’s personal papers, works by major artists from his own collection, and a number of studies that were given to him over the course of his career by various artists, among them Louise Bourgeois, Yto Barrada, Leon Golub, Jenny Holzer, Gerhard Richter, and Rachel Whiteread.
“My goal in passing along these materials is to provide students with pieces of the puzzle they aren’t likely to find in standard texts on modern and contemporary art or online,” said Storr. “I hope to link them physically as well as conceptually with the multiplicity of art tendencies, discourses, situations and scenes they will need to know about and be comfortable with when making decisions about the vitally and contentiously cosmopolitan reality for which they’ll be responsible. Libraries are worlds but never worlds unto themselves. They are only meaningful if used as jumping-off points for further explorations.”
Storr was a curator at the Museum of Modern Art from 1990 to 2002. In 2007, he became the first American to curate the main exhibition of the Venice Biennale. He served as dean of the Yale University School of Art from 2006 to 2016. His gift to CCS Bard is meant to honor his long-running relationship with the school, which began in the 1980s, when he was the Milton Avery Professor of Painting at Bard College. Store was a faculty member from 1999 to 2008 and has over the years served as a thesis advisor and as a member of the CCS Bard Graduate Committee.
“[Storr’s gift] expands the historical time periods represented in our collections to include the early 20th century, creating greater context for the research and innovation generated by the CCS Bard graduate program,” said Eccles, who is additionally the founding director of the Hessel Museum of Art. “We thank Robert for his generosity in donating his collection, so it may serve as a living resource for current and future generations of curatorial leadership.”