Performance Space New York has entered a major new partnership with the Keith Haring Foundation, which has awarded the organization a $1 million grant in support of the creation of a new two-year curatorial fellowship. In honor of Haring’s legacy and history with the forty-year-old organization—the artist developed his iconic painting style during a studio residency within the abandoned PS 122 building where the nonprofit was founded in 1980—Performance Space New York has named its black box space the Keith Haring Theater, where it will host the Keith Haring lecture series, which is free to the public, later this year.
“This landmark year offers Performance Space an opportunity to consider what’s ahead through those who, in its vital past, likewise looked ahead at the better futures art and activism could imagine and catalyze,” reads a statement issued by the contemporary performance venue. “Keith Haring fluidly engaged a variety of disciplines—as seen in his curating of performance (Acts of Live Art) at Club 57—and in his street art, exhibitions, and collaborations combined a playful sensibility with trenchant social commentary and, in the late 1980s, HIV/AIDS activism. This alliance highlights Performance Space’s history of engaging artists building intersecting paths between disciplines and challenging given forms—in conjunction with their transcendence of the norms around them.”
The organization also announced the appointment of Suzanne Geiss—who coauthored a Keith Haring monograph with Jeffrey Deitch that was published by Rizzoli International in 2008—as its new board president and of Kaneza Schaal, a New York–based theater artist, as the board’s vice president. Commenting on Performance Space New York’s collaboration with the foundation, Geiss said: “A key part of our mission—combining disciplines and communities, and taking inspiration from nightlife—is very much in the spirit of the way Keith Haring viewed the world. Haring’s work, his synthesis of different forms of expression into one vocabulary, also really encapsulated the energy of the East Village. In this same neighborhood, now, with the naming of the theater and the various programs surrounding this partnership, his legacy will constantly be fresh on the mind of artists and audiences of all different generations.”