The Keith Haring Foundation donates $400,000 to establish Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at Bard College
The Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism is an appropriate tribute to the life and work of Keith Haring, whose contributions to the visual arts and to human rights activism cannot be separated. Just as his playful and sometimes controversial work injected political questions about HIV/AIDS and gay identity into a generally complacent art world, so his activism helped mainstream advocacy organizations understand the AIDS crisis as a broad human rights issue rather than the problem of a specific community. It is this complicated engagement between human rights and the arts that the two Bard programs seek to honor—and to emulate—in the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism.
The Fellowship will bring one prominent scholar, activist, or artist to Bard per year. The Fellow will spend one semester in residence at Bard, teaching in the CCS Bard and Human Rights Program, and pursuing his or her own research project.
The Keith Haring Fellow will be selected through a nomination and review process that will be overseen by Tom Eccles, Executive Director of CCS Bard; Paul O’Neill, the Director of the CCS Bard graduate program; and Thomas Keenan, the Director of the Bard College Human Rights Project.
Bard College will begin seeking nominations and accepting applications for the Keith Haring Fellowship beginning in February, and the first Fellow will be announced in Spring 2014.
About the Center for Curatorial Studies and the Human Rights Project
Bard College seeks to realize the best features of American liberal arts education, enabling individuals to think critically and act creatively based on a knowledge and understanding of human history, society, and the arts. Two pioneering programs developed under this mission are the Center for Curatorial Studies and the Human Rights Project. The Human Rights Project, founded in 1999, developed the first interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program in Human Rights in the United States. HRP maintains a special interest in freedom of expression and the public sphere, and explores the too-often neglected cultural, aesthetic, and representational dimensions of humans rights discourse.
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 and its graduate program have provided one of the world’s most forward thinking teaching and learning environments for the research and practice of contemporary art and curatorship. Broadly interdisciplinary, CCS Bard encourages students, faculty and researchers to question the critical and political dimension of art, its mediation and its social significance. CCS Bard cultivates innovative thinking, radical research and new ways to challenge our understanding of the social and civic values of the visual arts. CCS Bard provides an intensive educational program alongside its public events, exhibitions, and publications, which collectively explore the critical potential of the institutions and practices of exhibition-making. It is uniquely positioned within the larger Center’s tripartite resources, which include the internationally renowned CCS Bard Library and Archives and the Hessel Museum of Art, with its rich permanent collection.
Since 2009, CCS Bard and HRP have collaborated on a series of seminars, workshops, research projects, and symposia aimed at exploring the intersections between human rights and the arts, and doing so in a manner that takes neither term for granted but in fact uses their conjunction to raise critical, foundational questions about each. While academic in nature, this research and teaching nevertheless draws heavily on the realm of practice, involving human rights advocates, artists, and curators.
About the Keith Haring Foundation
Keith Haring (1958-1990) generously contributed his talents and resources to numerous causes. He conducted art workshops with children, created logos and posters for public service agencies, and produced murals, sculptures, and paintings to benefit health centers and disadvantaged communities. In 1989, Keith established a foundation to ensure that his philanthropic legacy would continue indefinitely.
The Keith Haring Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit groups that engage in charitable and educational activities. In accordance with Keith’s wishes, the Foundation concentrates its giving in two areas: The support of organizations which provide educational opportunities to underprivileged children and the support of organizations which engage in education, prevention and care with respect to AIDS and HIV infection.
Keith Haring additionally charged the Foundation with maintaining and protecting his artistic legacy after his death. The Foundation maintains a collection of art along with archives that facilitate historical research about the artist and the times and places in which he lived and worked. The Foundation supports arts and educational institutions by funding exhibitions, educational programs, acquisitions and publications that serve to contextualize and illuminate the artist’s work and philosophy.