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Tiona Nekkia McClodden. Photo: Bard College.

Bard Names Tiona Nekkia McClodden the Keith Haring Fellow in Art and Activism

The Center for Curatorial Studies and the Human Rights Project at Bard College announced today that Tiona Nekkia McClodden has been selected as the fifth recipient of the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism, an annual award that provides a scholar, activist, or artist with the opportunity to teach and conduct research at the school.

An interdisciplinary artist and curator, McClodden often critically examines intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and social commentary in her work, which ranges from documentary film and experimental video to sculpture and sound installation. Her research at Bard College will continue her ongoing exploration of underexamined black artists, including the poets Essex Hemphill and Brad Johnson, and the composer Julius Eastman—all of whom produced work at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

In an interview with Juliana Halpert for artforum.com, McClodden discussed the making of her work The Brad Johnson Tape, for which she read a text written by Brad Johnson out loud during ten different exercises, or scenes. “I want to put myself through these situations to experience the same feeling I got from reading him—to feel the thing I feared and desired the most in an attempt to invoke a pure jouissance,” she said.

McClodden’s performance installation CLUB, which addresses “the liminal potential of night clubs, their ability to temporarily dissolve rules that govern our everyday lives and allow people from different backgrounds to interact more freely,” is currently on view at Performance Space New York, the Manhattan venue where Haring held his first studio exhibition.

The fellowship is made possible through a five-year grant from the Keith Haring Foundation. McClodden will join Bard in September and will teach students at the college during next year’s spring semester.

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