Charles Rufus Morey Book Award
The Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, named in honor of one of the founding members of CAA and first teachers of art history in the United States, was established in 1953. This award honors an especially distinguished book in the history of art, published in the English language. Preference is given to books, including catalogues raisonnés, by a single author, but major publications in the form of articles or group studies may be included. Publication of documents or inventories, unless specifically in the context of an exhibition, are also eligible. The 2013 award year covers books published between September 1, 2011, and August 31, 2012.
In How a Revolutionary Art Became Official Culture: Murals, Museums, and the Mexican State (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012), Mary K. Coffey contends that the work of Mexican muralists in the early twentieth century was co-opted by governmental and cultural institutions to serve an ideology often directly at odds with the artists’ original aims. Furthermore, she expands traditional narratives that cast the works of Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and others as uncomplicated monuments to social equality and lays bare the ways in which the Mexican muralists often reinscribed restrictive gender norms and promoted myths about mestizo identity. Beautifully illustrated and designed, How a Revolutionary Art Became Official Culture offers not only exciting revelations about Mexican modernism, but it also presents a highly original way to consider the connections between the avant-garde and the state. Coffey’s meticulously researched and vigorously argued account offers a paradigm of art-historical scholarship at its finest.
The first Morey award went to H. W. Janson in 1956 for Apes and Ape Lore in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. He also received the award again in 1961 for Sculpture of Donatello. A three-time winner, Erwin Panofsky, was recognized for Early Netherlandish Painting (1957), Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art (1964), and Tomb Sculpture (1968). Since then, a wide range of books covering all areas and periods of art history have been awarded, including, most recently, Anthony J. Barbieri-Low’s Artisans in Early Imperial China (2009), Elizabeth C. Mansfield’s Too Beautiful to Picture: Zeuxis, Myth, and Mimesis (2008), and Peter Selz’s Art of Engagement: Visual Politics in California and Beyond (2007).
CAA has begun accepting nominations for the 2014 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award.