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CAA Announces 2010 Awards for Distinction

posted by Christopher Howard — Jan 08, 2010

CAA announces today the recipients of its 2010 Awards for Distinction. These annual awards honor outstanding achievements in the visual arts and reaffirm CAA’s mission to encourage the highest standards of scholarship, practice, and teaching.

CAA President Paul B. Jaskot will formally recognize the honorees and present the awards at Convocation, to be held during CAA’s 98th Annual Conference on Wednesday evening, February 10, 2010, 5:30–7:00 PM, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The Annual Conference—hosting scholarly sessions, panel discussions, career-development workshops, art exhibitions, a book and trade fair, and more—is the largest gathering of artists, art historians, students, and arts professionals in the United States.

With these awards, CAA honors the accomplishments of individual artists, art historians, authors, conservators, curators, and critics whose efforts transcend their individual disciplines and contribute to the profession as a whole and to the world at large.

Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement
Suzanne Lacy

The continuum of Suzanne Lacy’s career mirrors the history of contemporary art: performance, installation, activism, social practice, and public engagement. An internationally regarded artist whose work includes installations, video, and performance, Lacy has addressed issues of sexual violence, aging, incarceration, illness, poverty, and a range of social-justice issues for almost four decades. Beginning in the early 1970s as a student at University of California, Fresno, and then in the Feminist Art Program at California Institute for the Arts, she was an integral and pioneering member of the Women’s Studio Workshop, Woman’s Building, and other important landmarks of feminist art. Since then, Lacy has maintained a career resolute in its commitment to feminism and social change.

Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work
Emory Douglas and Barkley L. Hendricks

Emory Douglas and Barkley L. Hendricks have long challenged the art world’s boundaries and received definitions in different but historically important ways. While working on opposite coasts and in different mediums, they transformed how African Americans saw themselves, and how they were seen. Emerging during the mid-1960s at a time of intense social upheaval, the two made work that was confrontational and incendiary, subversive and sly. While Douglas worked outside the confines of the art world as the Black Panther Party’s minister of culture, contributing to the Black Panther newspaper, Hendricks worked inside it without succumbing to the pressures and proscriptions against painting, particularly observational painting, and, to go one step further, portraiture.

Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art
Holland Cotter

As a staff art critic at the New York Times for more than ten years, Holland Cotter has been remarkable for his unwavering attention to the work of those less recognized—including women artists, artists of color, and artists from all five boroughs of New York—giving important visibility to work of all kinds. His subjects have ranged from Italian Renaissance painting to street-based communal work by artist collectives. Writing widely about non-Western art and culture as well, Cotter has introduced readers to a broad range of contemporary Chinese art and helped bring contemporary art from India to wider critical notice.

Frank Jewett Mather Award
Terry Smith

Terry Smith is that rare art and social historian able to write criticism at once alert to the forces that contextualize art and sensitive to the elements and qualities that inhere to the works of art themselves. His most recent book, What Is Contemporary Art? (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), contains a series of interrelated essays that unpack a vast range of topics and issues and take the reader on a theoretical tour through some of the world’s most influential art museums, laying bare their conflicted missions and studying the heightening distinction, and dispute, between modern and contemporary art.

Distinguished Feminist Award
Griselda Pollock

Griselda Pollock has earned a reputation not only as an influential scholar of modern and contemporary art and cultural studies, but also as a pioneer of feminist art, scholarship, and criticism. Her writings—including her groundbreaking 1980 monograph on Mary Cassatt and the pioneering volume Old Mistresses: Women, Art, and Ideology (New York: Pantheon Books, 1981), coauthored with Rozsika Parker—have had a major influence on feminist theory, feminist art history, and gender studies. Teaching at Leeds University since 1977, she was appointed chair in social and critical histories of art in 1990 and has served as director of the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory, and History.

Distinguished Teaching of Art Award
Dean Nimmer

Dean Nimmer, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts College of Art, has had a distinguished, dynamic, and astonishing career as an educator, empowering generations of artists through his enthusiasm and unbridled creativity. After thirty-four years of teaching painting, drawing, and printmaking in Boston, Nimmer thwarted all expectations for a retired professor by embarking on a second career as community arts educator, author, and provocateur. His recently published book, Art from Intuition: Overcoming Your Fears and Obstacles to Making Art (New York: Watson-Guptill, 2008), is a vehicle for him to share his wisdom with a new generation of artists and educators.

Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award
Richard Shiff

The impact of Richard Shiff, who holds the Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art and directs the Center for the Study of Modernism at the University of Texas at Austin, on the teaching of art history comes not only through his many scholarly contributions to the field, but also through his extraordinary forty years of active teaching and mentorship. Students and colleagues alike praise his long and influential career, describing how he teaches art history within many contexts, weaving together elements of formal analysis, connoisseurship, and theory within the larger web of human history and experience. Shiff’s talent for merging the sometimes-uncomfortable process of learning with playfulness and adventure instills a love of discovery and thought in all who have experienced his charisma, no matter their chosen life path.

Charles Rufus Morey Book Award
Cammy Brothers

When one considers the vast bibliography on Michelangelo, it is a tribute to Cammy Brothers that her book is such a readable and masterful work of new scholarship and substantial insight into both the artist’s working methods and his modes of thinking. Remarkably erudite, Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008) marshals compelling visual evidence along with literary, historical, and philosophical support on behalf of a fresh and persuasive argument.

See the shortlist for the Morey award.

Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award
Debra Diamond, Catherine Glynn, and Karni Singh Jasol, Gardens and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur

Gardens and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur (Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2008) documents an exhibition that dramatically debuted to wide audiences a body of nineteenth-century Jodhpur painting little known even to experts in the field. The authors Debra Diamond, Catherine Glynn, and Karni Singh Jasol, with their fellow contributors Jason Freitag and Rahul Jain, are to be commended for this publication, which makes a major contribution to the study of the art of Southeast Asia through the production of breathtaking color plates and a text that impressively grounds the work in the context of Jodhpur history and the Nath religious sect.

See the shortlist for the Barr award.

Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize
Michael Schreffler, “‘Their Cortés and Our Cortés’: Spanish Colonialism and Aztec Representation”

In his methodologically sophisticated and skillfully argued article, published in the December 2009 issue of The Art Bulletin, Michael Schreffler examines a key moment of cultural exchange and the misunderstandings to which it gave rise. Bravely departing from the consensus that Spanish conquistadors’ accounts of Aztec painting they saw at Antigua in 1519 constitute objective primary evidence about Aztec art, he offers instead a complex, nuanced, yet always clear explanation of what the accounts reveal about the colonizers and their subjective attitudes toward Aztec culture.

Art Journal Award
Joanna Grabski, “Urban Claims and Visual Sources in the Making of Dakar’s Art World City”

Joanna Grabski’s fascinating and ambitious essay, published in Art Journal in Spring 2009, is rich in first-hand information from her years of experience with the artists and institutions that make up this West African metropolis. Understanding the Senegalese capital as both site for innovative art practices, research, and international exchange, the author effectively demonstrates that in the hands of the city’s artists found objects have produced artworks and environments that meld their histories with languages of local form that reverberate with each other to piercing levels of impact.

CAA/Heritage Preservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation
David Bomford

David Bomford, currently associate director for collections at the J. Paul Getty Museum, is celebrated for more than forty years of scholarship, practical application, and leadership in the field of paintings conservation. Beginning in 1968 as an assistant restorer at the National Gallery in London, he assumed the role of senior restorer by 1974, a position he held until 2005. In the course of his work, Bomford has advanced the study of art conservation to new levels by combining science, art history, and practical conservation knowledge in his extraordinary list of publications, and by spearheading the influential interdisciplinary study of technical art history. He wrote the single-most useful book for introducing both students and the public to the profession of paintings conservation, Conservation of Paintings (London: National Gallery Publications, 1997), which has become a standard reference guide for the discipline.


For more information on the 2010 Awards for Distinction, please contact Emmanuel Lemakis, CAA director of programs. Visit the Awards section of the CAA website to read about past awards recipients.