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Frank Jewett Mather Award

The Frank Jewett Mather Award, first presented in 1963 for art journalism, is named in honor of the art critic, teacher, and scholar who was affiliated with Princeton University until his death in 1953. It is awarded for significant published art criticism that has appeared in publication in a one-year period; the 2014 award year is September 1, 2012–August 31, 2013. The Mather award may be given for work that originated before the indicated period provided that such work extends into the award period.

2014 Winner

T. J. Demos The Migrant Image

T. J. Demos (photograph by Joy Schendledecker)

T. J. Demos’s The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2013) eloquently analyzes contemporary art that engages the current political reality of continual humanitarian crises while maintaining an open-ended appeal to the imagination. Writing politically and polemically, he offers well-articulated studies of works by artists such as Ursula Biemann, Emily Jacir, Lamia Joreige, Steve McQueen, the Otolith Group, Ahlam Shibli, and Hito Steyerl that take us deep into a South African gold mine, Palestinian refugee camps, Guantanamo Bay, Beirut, Baghdad, Gujarat, and the Sahara, and along other political, economic, and artistic borders. Through a series of incisive readings Demos builds a compelling case for the significance of current artistic practices that employ nontraditional documentary strategies (for which he identifies appropriate precedents) to “construct imaginative possibilities that await potential realization … to mobilize energy that will help bring about reinvented possibilities.”

Past Winners

The Frank Jewett Mather Award has been presented to many well-known art critics and writers. In the 1960s, awards were presented to Max Kozloff, Barbara Rose, and Clement Greenberg, while Lawrence Alloway, Rosalind Krauss, and Lucy R. Lippard were recipients in the 1970s. The Mather awards of the 1980s were given to Robert Hughes, Leo Steinberg, and Douglas Crimp, among others, followed by Eleanor Heartney, Arthur C. Danto, and Christopher Knight in the 1990s. In 2009, Boris Groys was honored for his essays in Art Power, which address curatorship and criticism of modern and contemporary art in public venues.

Read a list of all winners of the Frank Jewett Mather Award from 1963 to the present.

Award Nominations

CAA has begun accepting nominations for the 2016 awards. Please review the guidelines to familiarize yourself with the nomination process and to download, complete, and submit the requested materials. Deadline: July 31, 2015, for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Awards, and the Frank Jewett Mather Award; August 31, 2015, for all others.

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