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Art professor Harry Roseman and English professor David Means are awarded prestigious Guggenheim Foundation fellowships

Professor of Art Harry Roseman and Visiting Associate Professor of English David Means are among the 175 scholars, artists and scientists from the United States and Canada newly selected by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for its highly sought-after fellowships, which assist research and artistic creation. In nearly ninety years the foundation has granted over $306 million in Fellowships to more than 17,500 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, poets laureate, winners of the Pulitzer Prize and Fields Medal, as well as recipients of other major internationally recognized honors.

Guggenheim Fellows are selected on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, and this year’s successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants. Grants are made for a minimum period of six months and a maximum of twelve, with no special conditions attached so that Fellows may spend their funds in any manner they deem necessary to their work.

 “Since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has always bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue the tradition with this wonderfully talented and diverse group,” said president Edward Hirsch.

The great variety of backgrounds, fields of study, and accomplishments of Guggenheim Fellows is one of the most unique characteristics of the program; this year’s Fellows represent fifty-six disciplines and range in age from thirty to seventy-six. Notably, in 1925 the first group of fifteen Guggenheim Fellows included both famed composer Aaron Copland and Vassar history professor Violet Barbour.

About Harry Roseman

Harry Roseman is a widely exhibited visual artist who has taught at Vassar since 1981.

His varied pieces incorporate such elements as sculpture, photography, painting, and drawing, in both three-dimensional and web-based forms. “The subjects of my work are the bend of a curve, the meeting of edges, the turn of a fold, the weight and nature of objects, the conjunction of idea and object, the way an idea sits in an object, next to an object and the way surface can obscure and also reveal,” wrote Roseman in his artist’s statement for the Guggenheim Fellowship. “One of my aims is to close the distance between thinking, looking, and making, to the point where it is hard to tell the difference.”

In addition to numerous solo exhibitions, Roseman has produced several major commissioned public sculptures. Among them he completed the 40-foot-long bronze sculptural relief “Subway Wall” in 1990 for the subway station located directly under the 60 Wall Street building in New York City (then the J.P. Morgan & Co. headquarters, now the Deutsche Bank headquarters), through a public-private sponsorship between J.P. Morgan and the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Arts for Transit program. In 2001 Roseman’s sculpture “Curtain Wall” was installed in the arrivals area of the International Air Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, after four years of development. The 600-foot-long work depicts cloth and curtains, suggesting wind movement, clouds, and the sky. His work North Entrance was permanently installed in the handicap entrance on the north side of Vassar’s Thompson Memorial Library in 2012 (http://alums.vassar.edu/news/2011-2012/120808-roseman.html).

Many of Roseman’s other pieces are held in the permanent collections of such prominent institutions as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Cincinnati Museum of Art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Philadelphia Art Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.

About David Means 

David Means is an internationally acclaimed short story writer and the author of four books, who has taught at Vassar since 2001.  His most recent short story collection The Spot was a New York Times Notable Book in 2010. His second collection Assorted Fire Events (2000) won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Critic Circle Award. NPR described his collection The Secret Goldfish (2005), which was a finalist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize, as "More than impressive.  Means can produce work that holds up even in comparison with his most-gifted Midwestern ancestors, such as Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway."

His collections have been translated into nine languages, including Chinese, Swedish, French, German, Korean, and Italian, and Means has twice been selected for the O. Henry Award given to short stories of exceptional merit. Means explained that with his Guggenheim Fellowship he will work on a longer fiction narrative and finish a sequence of short stories; an earlier story in the sequence, "The Chair," was published in The Paris Review and selected for 2012 Best American Short Stories.

In The New York Times Richard Eder praised Means’ writing as, "Achingly intelligent. . .With his jump-cut shifts, startling connections and breathtaking disconnections, the author stands as one of our most gifted young writers.” While James Wood wrote in the London Review of Books that, "Means offers an exquisitely precise and sensuous register of an often crazy reality.  Sentences gleaming with luster are swan throughout the stories.  One will go a long way with a writer possessed of such skills." 

Means’ stories appear frequently in The New Yorker, Harpers, Esquire, Zoetrope, and The Paris Review, and have been selected for such distinguished anthologies as Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Ecco Book of Contemporary Short Fiction (edited by Joyce Carol Oates). Two of his stories have also been produced for spoken-word performance by the NPR program Selected Shorts.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, April 16, 2013