Above: Tiona Nekkia McClodden. Photo by Texas Issaiah via Bard College
The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) and the Human Rights Project at Bard College are pleased to announce that Tiona Nekkia McClodden has been selected as the fifth recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism. Made possible through a five year-grant from the Keith Haring Foundation, the Haring Fellowship is an annual award for a scholar, activist, or artist to teach and conduct research in the Center for Curatorial Studies and the Human Rights Project at Bard College.
McClodden, an artist, and curator, has looked critically at intersections of race, gender, sexuality and social commentary through an interdisciplinary practice that includes documentary film, experimental video, sculpture, and sound installation, over the last two decades. McClodden is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them the 2017 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and the 2016 Pew Fellowship in the Arts in Philadelphia. She has exhibited her work at many venues internationally, including the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Whitney Museum of American Art, MOCA LA, MCA Chicago, MOMA PS1, the Kansai Queer Film Festival in Osaka and Kyoto, Japan, and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. She was one of six American artists selected by CFC Media Lab, the National Film Board of Canada, and JustFilms/Ford Foundation for the inaugural “Open Immersion” project, fostering experiments with virtual reality storytelling around questions of inclusion and racial and social justice.
McClodden’s research at Bard College will continue her ongoing exploration of key black artists, the poets Essex Hemphill and Brad Johnson, and the composer Julius Eastman, all of whom produced influential but presently understudied works at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Her extensive notes, audio interviews, and ephemera on these artists, gathered amidst the absence of official archives or estates, will lead to a publication on their work.
McClodden is the curator of the exhibitions A Recollection and Predicated, both featured within Julius Eastman: That Which is Fundamental, shown in Philadelphia in May 2017 and in 2018 at The Kitchen in New York, where the black, gay minimalist composer and performer appeared many times before the end of his life. Her current performance installation, CLUB, explores what she calls “the liminal potential of nightclubs, their ability to temporarily dissolve rules that govern our everyday lives and allow people from different backgrounds to interact more freely.” It runs from May 3–26 at Performance Space 122 in Manhattan, the space in which Keith Haring had his first studio exhibition.
“Tiona Nekkia McClodden’s practice of retrieving, exhibiting, and teaching around important but under-known cultural figures provides a potent model for challenging received art histories,” said Lauren Cornell, Director of the Graduate Program at CCS Bard and Chief Curator, Hessel Museum of Art.
“Tiona Nekkia McClodden’s work echoes the life and passions of Keith Haring, his raucous joy, and fervent commitments,” said Thomas Keenan, director of Bard’s Human Rights Project. “For all of their archival richness, though, her projects are very much of the moment: pointed interventions in a world still marred by prejudice, discrimination, and violence.”
McClodden will take up her one-year appointment in September 2018, and spend the spring semester of 2019 teaching at the College. She succeeds the curator Galit Eilat, architects Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal, the artist and curator Shuddhabrata Sengupta, and the first recipient, artist Jeanne van Heeswijk.