Dealer Gavin Brown Donates His Archive to Bard College’s Curatorial Studies Program

Gavin Brown, the dealer who helped make famous artists such as Arthur Jafa, Laura Owens, Peter Doig, and many more, has donated a range of materials related to his now-defunct Manhattan gallery to Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies in Upstate New York.

For 26 years, Brown ran Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, which showed artworks ranging from Jafa’s video Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death to early Rirkrit Tiravanija pieces involving pad Thai cooked for live audiences. Founded in 1994, the gallery shuttered in 2020 when Brown joined Gladstone Gallery, where he is now a partner.

Also among the artists that showed at the gallery are Mark Leckey, Alex Katz, Elizabeth Peyton, Sturtevant, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and more. Many of those artists accompanied Brown when his gallery merged with Gladstone.

Brown’s archive headed to Bard includes catalogues, documentation related to the gallery, and files on the artists he showed. Some of these materials are set to appear in a group exhibition of art owned by Bard College this summer at the curatorial studies program’s Hessel Museum of Art.

“Gavin Brown’s Enterprise was as much a social space as an influential pillar of the commercial gallery world, and it remains a key touchstone for independent representation within the arts community,” Tom Eccles, executive director of CCS Bard, said in a statement. “The archives preserve and make public a dynamic history of a space known for challenging convention and for dynamic exhibition making.”

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