As Performance Space New York celebrates its 40th year of fostering and presenting work that centers interdisciplinary work, bold experimentation, community-and-world building, and expression as protest, the organization announces a major partnership with the Keith Haring Foundation. In 1980, Haring received a studio residency within the P.S. 122 building, where he developed what would become his iconic painting style. Performance Space shares with and draws inspiration from Haring’s drive to bring together diverse voices and artistic media, combining seemingly disparate trends in New York culture to create a body of work that captures the spirit of our time. As a centerpiece of this partnership, Performance Space will name its main black box space the Keith Haring Theatre, presenting an exhilarating cohesion of the organization’s and the Foundation’s visions. In addition to the Theatre, the $1,000,000 award from the Keith Haring Foundation will fund the Keith Haring Curatorial Fellowship, a two-year leadership position for a young curator that culminates in their own independent project, as well as an annual, free-to-the-public Keith Haring Lecture Series.
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. 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.
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