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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 2017 award year is September 1, 2015–August 31, 2016. The Mather award may be given for work that originated before the indicated period provided that such work extends into the award period.

2016 Winner

Chika Okeke-Agulu
Postcolonial Modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria

This book is a significant and pioneering analysis of “postcolonial modernism” in the African context of Nigeria, especially of the 1960s, and is an important contribution to the historicization of contemporary art.  Okeke-Agulu has written extensive criticism around contemporary African art and offers a model of art criticism of historically underrepresented regions (Sub Saharan Africa), with attention to postcolonial theory, globalization, and African modernism. This book is the first critical art historical study of African art in the context of contemporary political developments. Despite our so-called global thinking, it is still rare to see modernism applied to art that is not Western.  The Mather Award would help encourage other close analytical examinations of African art and might help normalize such a juxtaposition.

Jury: Julie Codell, Arizona State University, chair; T.J. Demos, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Josephine Gear, New York University.

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 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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