The exhibition in Bobst Library’s Fales Special Collections Gallery includes archival and new material from the interdisciplinary artist who taught at NYU for 15 years.

The artist stands in an art gallery between two paintings in her Liz Taylor Series
Kathe Burkhart with two of her Liz Taylor Series paintings, part of a 2012 exhibition at NYU Steinhartdt's 80WSE gallery. (Photo courtesy of Kathe Burkhart)

LifeWork: The Kathe Burkhart Papers, an exhibition of drawings, paintings, photographs, writing, video, and two site-specific installations from the noted feminist interdisciplinary artist, will be presented Sept. 19–Dec. 12 in the Fales Special Collections Gallery on the second floor of the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 70 Washington Square South.

The solo exhibition features archival material and new work—some of which has never been shown in public—from the artist who taught at NYU from 2000 to 2015. The university acquired Burkhart’s papers in 2016 as part of its Downtown Collection documenting the city’s vibrant arts scene from the 1970s to the early 1990s.

Highlighting the exhibition are 60 drawings that will be hung above glass cases displaying Burkhart’s journals, which she describes as the foundation of her artistic and literary practice.

“The interplay between what you see on the wall and what you read in her journals will give you an idea of the totality of her practice,” said Nicholas Martin, NYU Special Collections Curator for the Arts and Humanities, who organized the exhibition with Burkhart.

Burkhart is an interdisciplinary feminist artist who is perhaps best known for her Liz Taylor Series of paintings. Described as both a conceptual and installation artist, Burkhart works in multiple media, and often combines painting, photography, video, poetry and collage. Based in New York and the Netherlands, Burkhart has been featured at Moma PS1 in New York, Rozenstraat, Netherlands and Fri/Art, Fribourg, Switzerland. Her art has been included in group shows in New York, London, Toronto, Amsterdam, and Washington, D.C. Burkhart is also a poet and author of four books.

Acquired in 2016, the Kathe Burkhart Papers consists of paper and electronic files and audio and video recordings that document Burkhart’s professional and personal life from the 1960s until 2017. Items include artwork, press clips and releases, grant proposals, datebooks, notebooks, and journals. There are documents about The Liz Taylor Series as well as files related to her writing, such as correspondence and diaries of her Aunt Grace Knipe, the inspiration for her 2006 book, Between the Lines.

“The exhibition will connect the various strands of a diverse and polymathic practice, presenting primary information that is critical to a deep interdisciplinary understanding of the work,” Burkhart said. “My life has always informed my work, but with this exhibition, the raw materials of the work are literally composed of personal ephemera.”

Accompanying the exhibition are three panel discussions featuring Dutch and American curators, artists, and writers, including Hendrik Folkerts, Arnisa Zeqo, Karen Finley, Catherine Lord, Lia Gangitano, and Avital Ronell. They are:

Othering CalArts, Sept. 28, 2023 at 6 p.m.  A celebration of trailblazing women artists who studied and/or taught at the California Institute of the Arts.

Who’s Afraid of Kathe Burkhart?, Oct. 20, 2023 at 1 p.m. An exploration of the artist’s polymath visual art practice.

LifeWork: Language, Literature, and the Archive, Nov. 16, 2023 at 6 p.m. A panel discussion focused on Burkhart’s literature, writing, and the archive itself.

The exhibition is open Monday–Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. An opening reception is set for Sept. 19 from 6–8 p.m. The opening event is free but registration is required and can be completed by visiting this site.  The exhibition was supported by the Mondriaan Fund.

About the NYU Division of Libraries

The NYU Division of Libraries comprises five libraries in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn, and one each in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. Its flagship, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library on Washington Square, received 3 million visits last year. The Libraries’ online catalog provides access to a world of content, such as millions of book volumes, e-books, serial titles, oral histories, and documents from more than 43,000 linear feet of archives. For more information about the NYU Libraries, please visit

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