Norton Batkin, Founding Director of CCS Bard, Has Died - The World News

Norton Batkin, Founding Director of CCS Bard, Has Died

Norton Batkin, the founding director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College’s influential program that has fostered multiple generations of curators, died earlier this week, the institution announced Friday.

Batkin was brought on to lead CCS Bard in 1991 and served in that role until 2008. He also served as the dean of graduate studies from 2005 until 2021, and as a vice president beginning in 2009.

During his entire tenure at Bard, a small liberal arts college in upstate New York, he was a professor of philosophy and art history.

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A women in a green shirt and a brown skirt standing amid two sculptures of nude women on high pedestals.

“Norton always put the students and the value of a solid education above all else, believing always in the value of their scholarship,” Tom Eccles, the current leader of CCS Bard, wrote in a statement on Instagram.

Bard College President Leon Botstein, meanwhile, wrote, “Norton established CCS’s reputation for exacting intellectual standards and innovation in its Master’s Degree curriculum and in its exhibitions. He recruited a mix of outstanding teachers and renowned practitioners, and forged an international network of artists. Norton initiated the Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence, which is awarded annually to leading curators from around the globe.”

Botstein continued, “Norton will long be remembered as will his devotion to Bard. I cannot imagine a kinder, gentler colleague or a better friend possessed equally of a razor-sharp intellect and a stunning sense of irony and humor. Norton was a wise and noble soul.”

Notable alumni of CCS include Cecilia Alemani, who served as the artistic director of the 2022 Venice Biennale; Candice Hopkins, who recently curated the acclaimed “Indian Theater” exhibition at CCS Bard’s Hessel Museum of Art; and Ruba Katrib, who has served as curator and director of curatorial affairs at MoMA PS1 since 2021.

A memorial service for Batkin will be held in March.

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