The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (CCS Bard) was founded in 1990 as an exhibition and research center for the study of late twentieth-century and contemporary art and culture and to explore experimental approaches to the presentation of these topics and their impact on our world.

Since 1994, the Center for Curatorial Studies has presented rotating temporary exhibitions of contemporary art in the 9,500 square-foot CCS Galleries. Designed by architect Jim Goettsch and Nada Andric, the Galleries include advanced storage facilities and a special gallery designed for the presentation of video art and works on film.

In 2006, the Center for Curatorial Studies inaugurated the Hessel Museum of Art, a new 17,000 square-foot building dedicated to the Marieluise Hessel Collection of over 1,700 contemporary works. The new museum provides an educational venue for Bard students as well as the wider public, and a place to test out the possibilities of exhibition making utilizing the remarkable resources of the collection as a whole. 

Exhibitions in the Hessel Museum of Art compliment the extensive exhibitions curated for the CCS Galleries.