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INVENTORY OF THE HARALD SZEEMANN PAPERS
2011.M.30  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Harald Szeemann's vast archive traces his career as a visionary curator of more than 200 exhibitions over the course of almost five decades, from 1957 to 2005. An advocate of movements such as conceptualism, land art, Happenings, and performance, and of artists such as Joseph Beuys, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, and Cy Twombly, Szeemann developed a new form of "exhibition-making" that centered on close collaborative relationships with artists and a sweeping global vision of contemporary visual culture. His papers thoroughly document his curatorial practice, including preliminary notes for many projects, written descriptions and proposals for exhibitions, installation sketches, photographic documentation, research files, and extensive correspondence with colleagues, artists and collaborators. At this time, only the photographic material in Series IV is available for research. The remainder of the archive is unprocessed. Each series will be opened for use as processing is completed.
Background
Perhaps the most influential curator of his generation, Harald Szeemann (Swiss, 1933-2005) organized more than 200 exhibitions over a career that spanned almost five decades. He studied art history, archaeology and journalism in Bern and Paris and had a brief but successful theatrical career before he organized his first exhibition in 1957. At age 28 he became one of the youngest museum directors in the world when he was appointed to head the Kunsthalle Bern in 1961. Szeemann gained prominence for a lively and experimental series of exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Bern that included early projects with Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, and Christo. In addition to showcasing current developments in contemporary art such as kinetic art, op art, and Happenings, Szeemann also examined areas of early 20th-century modernism such as Dada and surrealism, and artists such as Duchamp, Malevich, and Kandinsky.
Extent
1400.0 linear feet
Restrictions
Contact Library Reproductions and Permissions.
Availability
Series IV is open for use by qualified researchers with the following exceptions. Boxes 81, 214, and 224 are sealed pending further review. Boxes 82, 215, and 252-267 are unavailable until conservation treatment is completed. Audiovisual materials, nitrate negatives and computer files are unavailable until reformatted. The remainder of the archive is unprocessed. Each series will be opened for use as processing is completed.