2023 Guggenheim Fellowships Awarded to Three Bard College Faculty Members and Four Bard AlumnaeANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded 2023 Guggenheim Fellowships to three Bard faculty members and four Bard alumnae. Felicia Keesing, David and Rosalie Rose Distinguished Professor of Science, Mathematics, and Computing, Laura Larson, cochair of photography at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Jordan Weber, visiting artist in residence at Studio Arts, artist Diane Severin Nguyen MFA ’20, photographer Sasha Phyars-Burgess ’10, artist Jessica Segall ’00, and artist Martine Syms MFA ’18 have been named 2023 Guggenheim Fellows.
Chosen through a rigorous review process from nearly 2,500 applicants, Keesing, Larson, Weber, Nguyen, Phyars-Burgess, Segall and Syms were among a diverse group of 171 artists, writers, scholars, and scientists to receive a 2023 Fellowship. Keesing was awarded a Fellowship for her research on the ecology of infectious diseases, Larson for her work in photography, Weber for his work in the arts, Nguyen for her work in the arts, Phyars-Burgess for her work in photography, Segall for her work in the arts, and Syms for her work in the arts.
“Like Emerson, I believe that fullness in life comes from following our calling,” said Edward Hirsch, President of the Guggenheim Foundation and 1985 Fellow in Poetry. “The new class of Fellows has followed their calling to enhance all of our lives, to provide greater human knowledge and deeper understanding. We’re lucky to look to them to bring us into the future.”
In all, 48 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 72 different academic institutions, 24 states and the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from 31 to 85. Close to 50 Fellows have no current full-time college or university affiliation. Many Fellows’ projects directly respond to issues like the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, democracy and policing, scientific innovation, climate change, and identity.
Created and initially funded in 1925 by Senator Simon and Olga Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon Guggenheim, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has sought since its inception to “further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions.” Since its establishment, the Foundation has granted nearly $400 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors. The great range of fields of study is a unique characteristic of the Fellowship program. For more information on the 2023 Fellows, please visit the Foundation’s website at gf.org.
Felicia Keesing’s research focuses on the ecology of infectious diseases in New York's Hudson Valley and in the savannas of central Kenya. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley. Keesing was awarded the United States Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2000), and has been the recipient of grants from National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, among others. She was coeditor of Infectious Disease Ecology: Effects of Ecosystems on Disease and of Disease on Ecosystems (Princeton University Press, 2008), and has also contributed to articles such as Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ecology Letters, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Proceedings of the Royal Society, Ecology, BioScience, Conservation Biology, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, and Canadian Journal of Zoology.
Laura Larson’s work looks to the history of photography as a documentary practice to tell personal and sociocultural narratives. From 2002-2019, she was represented by Lennon, Weinberg Gallery in New York, where she presented four one-person exhibitions, including Complimentary (2002), Apparition (2005), and Electric Girls and the Invisible World (2009). Larson’s work has been featured at a variety of institutions, including Art in General, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Centre Pompidou, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. Her exhibitions have been reviewed in Artforum, Hyperallergic, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and TimeOut New York. Larson is also the author of two books, Hidden Mother (2017), and City of Incurable Women (2022), both of which feature her research into 19th century photography.
Jordan Weber is a New York- and Midwest-based regenerative land sculptor and activist who works at the crossroads of social justice and environmental racism. He has been an inaugural Harvard LOEB/ArtLab Fellow, a Blade of Grass Fellow, and an Iowa Arts Council Fellow, and has held residencies at Yale University’s inaugural Environmental Humanities, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and Washington University’s Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Equity (CRE2) in St. Louis. He has been the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2022 United States Artists Award, Creative Capital Award, Joan Mitchell Award, Tanne Arts Foundation award, and African American Leadership Forum Grant. Weber is also working with Bard College on plans for a public art project, details of which will be announced later this year.
Diane Severin Nguyen MFA ’20 is an artist who works with photography and time-based media. Her solo and two-person exhibitions include IF REVOLUTION IS A SICKNESS at SculptureCenter, New York, and The Renaissance Society, Chicago; Between Two Solitudes at Stereo, Warsaw; Tyrant Star at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Minor twin worlds, with Brandon Ndife, at Bureau, New York; Reoccurring Afterlife, at Empty Gallery, Hong Kong; and Flesh Before Body at Bad Reputation, Los Angeles. Nguyen has also been featured in multiple group exhibitions, including Greater New York at MoMA PS1, New York; Metabolic Rift at Berlin Atonal, Berlin; Made in L.A. 2020: a version at Hammer Museum and The Huntington, Los Angeles; and Bodies of Water: 13th Shanghai Biennale, at Power Station of Art, in Shanghai. Her work is in the collections of the Hammer Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, and The Escalette Collection of Art at Chapman University.
Sasha Phyars-Burgess ’10 was born in Brooklyn, New York to Trinidadian parents and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is interested in using photography education as community empowerment, and her first monograph, Untitled, explores the African diaspora around the world.
Jessica Segall ’00 is an artist who uses hostile and threatened landscapes as the sites for her work. While embedded in these sites, she plays with both the risk of engaging with the environment and the vulnerability of the environment itself. Segall's work is built on a foundation of research that often includes cross-disciplinary collaboration and collaboration with scientists, activists and non-human beings. Her work has been featured internationally, including at COP 26, The Fries Museum, the Coreana Museum of Art, the Havana Bienal, the Queens Museum of Art, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the National Museum of Jewish American History, the Inside Out Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Vojvodina, the National Gallery of Indonesia, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Croatia, the Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery and the National Symposium for Electronic Art. Segall has also received grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, the Harpo Foundation, the Virginia A Groot Foundation, the FST Studioprojects Fund, the Puffin Foundation, the Arts Envoy Program and Art Matters. Her work has been featured in Cabinet Magazine, the New York Times, Sculpture Magazine, Mousse Magazine and Art in America. Her work is in the collections of the Museum de Domijnen and the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.
Martine Syms MFA ’18 is an artist who has earned wide recognition for a practice that combines conceptual grit, humor, and social commentary. Her work has been shown extensively, including solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and ICA London. She has also done commissioned work for brands such as Prada, Nike, and Celine, among others. She is a recipient of the Creative Capital Award, a United States Artists fellowship, the Tiffany Foundation award, and the Future Fields Art Prize. She is in a band called Aunt Sister and hosts Double Penetration, a monthly radio show on NTS. Syms also runs Dominica Publishing.
About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year, residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 11 programs; nine early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 163-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.
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