Nayland Blake (image courtesy of Bard and Nayland Blake)

Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson has announced the appointment of artist and educator Nayland Blake as the new chair of its Studio Arts Program. Succeeding Ellen Driscoll, who will return to the school’s studio arts faculty, Blake will begin their tenure in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Blake graduated from Bard with a BFA in sculpture in 1982 and went on to earn an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. They currently serve as chair of the ICP-Bard Program in Advanced Photographic Studies, a two-year MFA jointly offered by Bard and the International Center of Photography.

The Brooklyn-based artist is known for working across mediums — sculpture, drawing, performance, and video among them — to dissect and comment on race and gender identity, with a particular focus on queer representation. Their assemblage-style works, which combine diverse appropriated objects with a humorous irreverence reminiscent of Mike Kelley, never shy away from difficult-to-tackle subjects, from the HIV/AIDS pandemic to the culture wars.

“Nayland Blake has a long history with Bard and a significant appreciation for what makes the institution unique. At the same time, they bring an important new perspective to imagining the future of Bard’s Studio Arts program,” said Bard’s Dean of the College, Deirdre D’Albertis, in a press statement.

“What all members of the program have commented on and appreciate already about Nayland is their commitment to students, faculty, and staff in the program all being heard and considered in building toward that future.”

Hyperallergic interviewed Blake for the podcast Art Movements in June 2019. Listen to the episode here.

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