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 2013 award year is September 1, 2011–August 31, 2012. The Mather award may be given for work that originated before the indicated period provided that such work extends into the award period.
For over thirty years Hal Foster has been an extraordinarily prolific and influential critic and theorist of modern and contemporary art whose writing is theoretically sophisticated yet lucidly readable. In The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012), he demonstrates how these artists instantiated their generation’s ambivalent, distressed, but not despairing relationship to the image world they inhabited and remade. A second book, The Art-Architectural Complex (London: Verso, 2011), takes off from Pop’s image skepticism and adds to it concepts from Minimalism, site- and medium-specific art, and the political economy in an aesthetically and ideologically grounded critique of the “banal cosmopolitanism” of much contemporary, global, corporate, and institutional architecture.
In Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (London: Verso, 2012), the art critic, art historian, and curator Claire Bishop has articulated an important historical overview of the global emergence of participatory art, also called social practice, as a series of aesthetic, ethical, and political projects that have dynamically engaged audiences in order to promote emancipatory social relations. Sheaddresses key examples and their interaction with audiences since the early twentieth century, thus richly grounding her study in art history and aesthetic theory. Her controversial and thought-provoking conclusions courageously trouble our assumptions about the effectiveness of political artworks, questioning their oppositional quality, their effects on the audiences they reach, and their relation to the institutions that promote them. Artificial Hells is noteworthy for its inclusive character, considering artists and collectives active in Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America, and the United States.
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.
CAA has begun accepting nominations for the 2014 Frank Jewett Mather Award.