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Artist Award for a Distinguished Body of Work

The Artist Award for a Distinguished Body of Work, first presented in 1988, is a peer award given to an artist for exceptional work through exhibitions, presentations, or performances. This award is presented to a living artist of national or international stature and must tie him or her to an exceptional recent exhibition; the 2017 award year is September 1, 2015–August 31, 2016.

2016 Winner

Arlene Shechet

Over the past two decades, sculptor Arlene Shechet has produced an inimitable body of work across a wide range of media—from paper to plaster to glass to ceramics. Approaching all of these materials with an experimental sensibility, she has explored issues as diverse as the way things are made and concepts such as balance, imperfection, and beauty alongside a probing examination of aesthetic categories and boundaries, especially those separating art from craft or ornament. Shechet’s practice also extends to issues of installation as seen in her 2015 mid-career survey exhibition, Arlene Shechet: All At Once. This exhibition sensitively shaped the viewing experience through provocative sightlines and the creation of unusual, new relationships between objects. This aspect of the exhibition in addition to the distinguished body of work it brought together demonstrates the artist’s critical capacity for breathing new life into media and processes often neglected in the contemporary art world.
Arlene Shechet: All At Once was the artist’s first museum survey. This major exhibition featured over 150 objects that traced the development of her innovative practice over the past 20 years. Arlene Shechet: All at Once was organized by Jenelle Porter, Mannion Family Senior Curator at the ICA Boston.

Jury: Elissa Auther, Museum of Arts and Design and the Bard Graduate Center, chair; Thomas Lax, The Museum of Modern Art; Beauvais Lyons, University of Tennessee.

Past Winners

In the twenty-two years since the Artist Award for a Distinguished Body of Work was first presented, the majority of recipients have been women. Four of the first five—Elizabeth Murray, Howardena Pindell, Rachel Rosenthal, and Ann Hamilton—are women, as are seven recent winners, which include Yoko Ono, Mary Heilmann, Lynda Benglis, Adrian Piper, and Elaine Sturtevant. Other recipients of the award include Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, and Fred Wilson.

Read a list of all winners of the Artist Award for a Distinguished Body of Work from 1988 to the present.

Award Nominations

CAA has begun accepting nominations for the 2017 awards. Please review the guidelines to familiarize yourself with the nomination process and to download, complete, and submit the requested materials. Deadline: July 31, 2016, for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Awards, and the Frank Jewett Mather Award; August 31, 2016, for all others.

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