Swiss art curator Harald Szeemann (1933-2005) organized more than 150 exhibitions during a career that spanned almost five
decades. An advocate of contemporary movements such as conceptualism, land art, happenings, Fluxus and performance, and of
artists such as Joseph Beuys, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly and Mario Merz, 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.
He organized vast international surveys such as
documenta 5; retrospectives of individual artists including Sigmar Polke, Bruce Nauman, Wolfgang Laib, James Ensor, and Eugène
Delacroix; and thematic exhibitions on such provocative topics as utopia, disaster, and the "Plateau of Humankind." Szeemann's
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.
Among the most influential art curators of his generation, Harald Szeemann (Swiss, 1933-2005) organized more than 150 exhibitions
during a career that spanned almost five decades. Szeemann 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. In 1961 he became one
of the youngest museum directors in the world when he was appointed to head the Kunsthalle Bern. From 1961 to 1966, Szeemann
was also in charge of the exhibition program at the Städtische Galerie Biel. Szeemann gained prominence through a lively and
experimental series of exhibitions 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 twentieth-century modernism such as Dada and surrealism, including artists such as Marcel Duchamp,
Kazimir Malevich, and Vassily Kandinsky, as well as various fields of visual culture such as Art Brut, science fiction and
1943.28 linear feet
(3798 boxes, 448 flatfiles, 6 crates, 3 bins, 24 reels)
Library Reproductions and Permissions.
Open for use by qualified researchers with the following exceptions.