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Distinguished Feminist Award

The Distinguished Feminist Award, first presented in 2009, honors a person who, through his or her art, scholarship, or advocacy, has advanced the cause of equality for women in the arts. This award replaces the Annual Recognition Awards given by CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts (CWA) from 1996 to 2008 at a ceremony at the Annual Conference.

2016 Winner

Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems has produced one of the most wide-ranging and engaged bodies of work of any contemporary artist, addressing the grand narrative themes of American life: race, sex, gender, familial relationships, politics, class, and the manifestations of power. The predicaments and complexities of being human resonate through her work: sexual politics and feminism for Carrie Mae Weems is not an isolated set of issues, but resonate through all aspects of social structures.

Weems is best-recognized for working with photographic series – sometimes in relationship with text – which build narratives to address the politics of representation. While Ain’t Jokin’ (1988) gets straight to the heart and pain of white supremacy as expressed through “jokes,” The Kitchen Table Series (1990) is more allusive and evocative in suggesting to the audience what the possibilities are for living well together and alone, between sexes, generations, through change and with care for self and other.

More recent works examine political structures, memory, and the making of history and identity. Including sound, holography and video, the complexity of installations like Lincoln, Lonnie and Me (2012), referencing the aging female body, memory’s disintegration, and political history as co-formative of identity, retain the compositional elegance of the earlier works, making viewers complicit in acts of understanding and memories mislaid.

Jury: Hilary Robinson, Middlesex University, chair; Claudia Sbrissa, St. John’s University; and Kathleen Wentrack, Queensborough Community College, City University of New York.

Past Winners

Read a list of all winners of the Distinguished Feminist Award. Recipients of the CWA Annual Recognition Awards have included Agnes Gund, Louise Bourgeouis, Linda Nochlin, Nancy Spero, Betye Saar, and Moira Roth, among others.

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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