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 2013 award year is September 1, 2011–August 31, 2012.
Kay Rosen uses words and letters to examine the ways in which language structures knowledge—particularly an awareness of self and place. She first gained prominence in the 1980s alongside more pointedly feminist artists such as Nancy Dwyer, Jenny Holzer, and Barbara Kruger, all of whom used language to address issues of gender and power. Rosen’s art, however, is less concerned with enlisting words as a tool for political messaging than with demonstrating what language can do on its own, through its structure and letters, which the artist thinks of as “body parts.” For Rosen, language can subvert verbal systems of power and offer alternative ways of reading and constructing meaning without being filtered through the intentional voice of the artist. In her work, as seen in her recent exhibition Kay Rosen at Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia (June 28–November 3, 2013), viewers encounter language as an object to be seen as well as a text to be read—at once, a page, a sign, an object, and a painting.
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.
CAA will begin accepting nominations for the 2015 Artist Award for a Distinguished Body of Work later this spring.