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New School Art Collection records

 Record Group
Identifier: NS-03-05-03


This collection consists of records relating to the administration and programming of the New School Art Collection from 1987 to 2003, primarily during the tenure of Kathy Goncharov, who curated the collection from 1987 to 2000. The New School Art Collection was formally established in 1960 through a donation from Albert and Vera List.


  • 1987 - 2003



3.9 Cubic Feet (4 boxes, 7 folders)

Language of Materials


Scope and Content of Collection

The collection consists primarily of the files of Kathleen Goncharov, curator of the New School Art Collection from 1987 to 2000. Some committee files here were created in 1986 and a few files date from after 2000. Those files dating after the summer of 2000 were likely not created by Goncharov; they may have been created by her successor, Stefano Basilico.

There are two main series, Administration and governance, and Programming. The first series contains materials related to New School Art Collection policies and committees, the acquisition and sale of artwork, inventories and installation of work, collaborations with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, grant proposals, and other administrative files. The series also includes files related to special programs and events from around the New School.

The Programming series contains documentation of events, talks, exhibitions and public programs initiated and organized by Goncharov at the New School. The series also includes documentation of activities proposed by Goncharov and Sondra Farganis for the DIAL (Distance Instruction for Adult Learning) platform.

Access Note

Collection is open for research use, except for the audiovisual recordings described below. The New School Archives will digitize audiovisual materials for researchers willing to pay a digitization fee. Please contact for further information.

Use Note

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact:


Kathleen Goncharov, who was curator of the New School Art Collection from 1987 until 2000, received a BA in fine art in 1974 and an MA in history in 1975, both from Central Michigan University, and an MMP degree in museum practice from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1979. Before accepting the position of curator of the New School Art Collection, Goncharov was director of exhibitions at Creative Times, Inc. Goncharov was the commissioner of the United States pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale, for which she invited Fred Wilson to represent the United States with his exhibition, "Speak of Me as I am.”


While the New School had been commissioning and collecting art from as early as 1931, the New School Art Collection was formally established in 1960 with a multi-year donation by Albert and Vera List, through the Albert A. List Foundation. The Lists were longtime patrons of the New School and members of the New School Associates, a group which programmed events and raised funds for the school. Vera List (1908-2002), who sat on the New School Board of Trustees, became the first chair of the New School University Art Collection. The first curator of the collection was Paul Mocsanyi, director of the New School Art Center, shortly after the founding of the Center. Mocsanyi retired as director of the Art Center in 1976 but remained curator of the art collection until 1985. According to documents in the New School Art Center records (NS.03.05.02), by 1976 the New School owned 135 artworks, which included murals by José Clemente Orozco, Thomas Hart Benton, Camilo Egas, and the mosaic by Gonzalo Fonseca, created for the New School's 66 West Twelfth Street building, as well as sixty-one works on extended loan to the New School. The New School Art Collection file in the New School Art Center records (NS.03.05.02) documents a flurry of donations of art to the New School in the early 1980s, as well as efforts led by Mocsanyi to auction and sell work from the collection. This file also documents development of policy for the collection, including defining the duties of curator and characterizing the nature and driving principles for expanding the collection. Vera List remained deeply invested in the art collection for forty years. Named a life trustee of the New School in 1985, documentation shows her going on frequent gallery trips in the 1990s with Kathleen (Kathy) Goncharov, Mocsanyi's successor as curator, to purchase works that she would then donate to the New School.

Unlike many other university or college art collections, which primarily exhibit artwork in dedicated gallery space, the New School Art Collection has always been installed in the lobbies, hallways, classrooms and offices across campus, as well as in the president's residence. While this may have arisen out of necessity--there have always been competing demands for space at the school--it was also fundamental to the intention behind the collection, to encourage New School students' interrogation of the social value and function of art as integral to developing their understanding the contemporary world. For many years, the New School Art Collection also ran a student art lending program, initiated by Vera List, that made it possible for students to borrow works from the collection to hang in their dormitory rooms over the course of the school year.

After her appointment as curator in 1987, Kathy Goncharov began to more clearly articulate the collecting mission and to systematically build the art collection. The goal was now to build a collection of new, cutting edge, provocative works by emerging younger artists. Other documents in these files evidence Goncharov's interest in promoting under-represented artists and artists of color. This focus played a great part in shaping the development of the collection from at least the 1990s onwards, and also influenced Vera List's purchases for the collection. After selling many older artworks and replacing them with contemporary work that fit the honed mission, Goncharov built the collection from approximately two hundred works in 1987 to include more than a thousand works by the mid-1990s.

The New School Art Collection has long been under the oversight of the Board of Trustees of the university, with a succession of board subcommittes advising its daily operation throughout the 1990s. From around 1994, the Art Collection fell under the auspices of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. Although Goncharov's position never became formally part of the Center, Goncharov collaborated closely with Sondra Farganis, director of the Vera List Center, on grant writing, event organization, and representing the collection online. She was also responsible for organizing special programs about contemporary art in close collaboration with the Center.

In 1996, as part of early efforts to explore the pedagogical promise of the "world wide web," the New School launched a website for the Art Collection as part of its DIAL (Distance Instruction for Adult Learning) platform. This project was part of a larger effort to align the work of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and the Art Collection, with the pedagogical mission of the school.

Kathy Goncharov left her post as curator in 2000 (see her farewell remarks, box 2, folder 53), and was succeded by Stefano Basilico. The announcement of Basilico's appointment and his plans for the collection will be found in a memorandum in the General folder (Box 1, folder 3).


Organized in two series: 1. Administration and governance 2. Programming

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These records were selected by Silvia Rocciolo, curator of the New School Art Collection, from the files in the Art Collection office, and transferred to the New School Archives in 2016.

Related Materials

Documents regarding the New School Art Collection prior to 1985 will be found in the New School Art Center records (NS.03.05.02).

The Independent Study Oral History Project on New School History (NS070102) includes an oral history interview with Vera List Center director Sondra Farganis:

The Vera List Center of Art and Politics audiovisual collection (NS.07.02.03) holds audio recordings of the "Considering Joseph Beuys" symposium:, as well as video recordings from the series, "On-Line Art World: A Work in Progress."

Guide to the New School Art Collection records
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
December 9, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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