Endowment Coincides with CCS Bard’s Permanent Reinstallation of Keith Haring Wall Drawing
Created During 1981 Visit to Bard College
Egyptian Author Haytham el-Wardany Appointed 2022-23 Fellow
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (September 21, 2022)—Bard College announced today it has received $3.2 million to endow in perpetuity the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism, an annual faculty position that brings a prominent scholar, activist, or practicing artist to teach and conduct research within the Center for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard) graduate program and the undergraduate Human Rights Program. The endowment is made possible by a grant of $800,000 from the Keith Haring Foundation and matching funds from the Marieluise Hessel Foundation and benefactor George Soros. First launched in 2014, the fellowship embodies the shared commitment of Bard and the Keith Haring Foundation to imaginatively explore the complex connections between sociopolitical engagement and artistic practice. It also speaks to the historic relationship between the college and Keith Haring, which is further honored with CCS Bard’s permanent reinstallation of a wall drawing the artist created in an act of spontaneity while visiting the campus in 1981.
In conjunction with the gift and reinstallation, Bard simultaneously announced that writer Haytham el-Wardany has been named the 2022-23 recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship and will be in-residence on campus during the spring semester to teach and conduct research. El-Wardany brings to Bard students a deep knowledge of philosophy, critical theory, aesthetics, history, and literature with a focus on social movements in the Middle East and around the globe. Using collective reading as a vehicle for cultural research and debate, his teaching will bring a richly literary and global dimension to CCS Bard and the Human Rights Program’s curricula, advancing Bard College’s mission of cultivating critical thinking and creative action through deeper understandings of human history, society, and the arts.
“To sustain this fellowship as a catalyst for new research and a benefit to our students, I am delighted that the Keith Haring Foundation has generated a permanent endowment for one of our most successful pedagogical and research positions,” said Tom Eccles, Executive Director of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. “The Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism has, for eight years, drawn a broad array of scholars and activists, both local and international, with a diverse range of interests to Bard’s graduate and undergraduate programs. Responsive to current concerns and urgencies, the fellows are all changemakers in their respective fields.”
“Haytham el-Wardany is a complex and elegant thinker whose work as a writer and a teacher demonstrates the power of close reading for understanding and engaging in both the arts and politics,” said Thomas Keenan of Bard’s Human Rights Project. “We look forward to welcoming him on campus to expand on a body of work that actively responds to current debates and provides new frameworks for students to build critical bridges between art and activism.”
“The Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism has been an enormous source of pride for the Keith Haring Foundation for the last eight years. It is a nod to the spirit and belief of Keith Haring that both art and activism can complement one another and bring about social and political change. We are honored to partner with the Marieluise Hessel Foundation and George Soros to ensure this critical work continues perpetually,” said Gil Vazquez, Executive Director of the Keith Haring Foundation.
About the Haring Wall Drawing In the early 1980s, Keith Haring was invited by Bard College Professor of Art History Tom Wolf to speak at the Procter Art Center (now the Fisher Studio Arts Building) about his practice and personal ethics around graffiti art. Prior to the talk, in an act of spontaneity, using a fat Magic Marker, Haring drew a series of five crawling babies on the wall of Wolf’s office. During a phase of construction and expansion in the Fisher Arts Studio Building, a portion of the wall with the drawing was carved out and moved to Wolf’s new office located in a different building on campus.
With Wolf’s imminent retirement from Bard College, the work will be transferred from the Department of Art and Art History to CCS Bard to undergo conservation and stabilization. It will be permanently installed in the CCS Bard Library, where students, researchers, and guests will have continued access to Haring’s work, illustrating the connection between Keith Haring and Bard College.
About Haytham el-Wardany El-Wardany is a writer and translator, living and working between Berlin and Cairo, whose practice combines fiction, essays, prose, theory, poetry, and experimental writings. Reflecting on the experiences and aftermath of protests and uprisings in Egypt and the surrounding region, el-Wardany’s work explores what it means to live together. His current research concerns examining the fugitive and fragile spaces where the process of inheriting a (traumatic) past can take place. His forthcoming book, Banat Awa and The Missing Letters, considers forgotten expressions of hope within Arabic fables—where animals speak and humans listen—as crucial to a moment of post “Arab Spring” speechlessness. In previous publications, including The Book of Sleep (Al-Karma 2017, Seagull Books 2020) and How to Disappear (Kayfa ta 2013-2017), el-Wardany has examined the agency and potential of passivity, through regimes of listening and the dialectics of sleep and vigilance amid social protests.
El-Wardany is the recipient of the Cairo International Book Fair award for best collection of short stories for his most recent book Irremediable (2021); art residencies with Thkio Ppalies (Cyprus, 2020) and Para Site (Hong Kong, 2018); and grants from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Beirut, 2019) and the State of Berlin (2021). El-Wardany has organized and conducted workshops around creative writing and is a member of different collective learning and reading groups. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Cairo University.
El-Wardany’s appointment follows that of Constantina Zavitsanos, who was named the 2021-22 Fellow. More information on the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism, as well as previous fellows, can be found at ccsbard.edu
About the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College Founded in 1990, CCS Bard is the leading international graduate program dedicated exclusively to curatorial studies, a field exploring the historical, intellectual, and social conditions that inform exhibition-making. With the Marieluise Hessel Collection of Contemporary Art at its core, alongside an extensive and growing library and archival holdings, CCS Bard has served as an incubator for the most experimental and innovative practices in artistic and curatorial practice. Broadly interdisciplinary, CCS Bard encourages students, faculty, and researchers to question the critical and political dimension of art and its social significance.
About the Human Rights Project The Human Rights Project, founded at Bard in 1999, introduced the first interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program in Human Rights in the United States. The Project maintains a special interest in freedom of expression and the public sphere, and through teaching, research, and public programs is committed to exploring the too-often neglected cultural, aesthetic, and representational dimensions of human rights discourse. Since 2009, the Human Rights Project has collaborated with CCS Bard on the development of seminars, workshops, research projects, and symposia aimed at exploring the intersections between human rights and the arts. While academic in nature, this research and teaching 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 during his life. 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 communities impacted by systemic inequity. In 1989, Haring established a foundation to ensure that his philanthropic legacy would continue indefinitely.
The Keith Haring Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit entities 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 enrich the lives of young people and the support of organizations which engage in education, prevention, and care with respect to AIDS and HIV infection. The Foundation additionally maintains a collection of Haring’s art and archives and funds exhibitions, programming, and publications that serve to contextualize and illuminate the artist’s work and philosophy. www.haring.com.