CAA News Today

Recipients of the 2013 Awards for Distinction

posted by Christopher Howard — Jan 09, 2013

CAA has announced the recipients of the 2013 Awards for Distinction, which honor the outstanding achievements and 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.

CAA will formally recognize the honorees at a special awards ceremony during Convocation at the 101st Annual Conference in New York, on Wednesday evening, February 13, 2013, 5:30–7:00 PM, at the Hilton New York. Led by Anne Collins Goodyear, president of the CAA Board of Directors, the awards ceremony will take place in East Ballroom, Third Floor. Convocation and the awards ceremony are free and open to the public. The Hilton New York is located in midtown Manhattan, at 1335 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue), New York, NY 10010.

The 2013 Annual Conference—presenting 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.

Ellsworth Kelly, Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement

For over seventy years, Ellsworth Kelly has forged an independent and influential career as a draftsman, painter, sculptor, photographer, and printmaker. Born in 1923, Kelly entered the United States Army after early studies at Pratt Institute. After serving in the 603rd Engineers Camouflage Battalion from 1943 to 1945, he entered the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1946. It was during his time in Paris, from 1948 to 1954, that Kelly experimented with chance compositions, surreal forms, and bold colors and in doing so built the foundation for his lifelong investigation of abstraction in art. In 1956, Betty Parsons Gallery hosted the first solo exhibition of his work in New York, and inclusion in key exhibitions followed: Sixteen Americans at the Museum of Modern Art (1959), Primary Structures at the Jewish Museum (1966), and Serial Imagery at the Pasadena Art Museum (1968). The Museum of Modern Art in New York staged his first retrospective in 1973, with additional surveys taking place at the Stedelijk Museum (1979), the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume (1992), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1996), Haus der Kunst, Munich (2011), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2012). For the artist and jury member Roy Dowell, Kelly’s “deceptively simple paintings and drawings have been a symbol of that elusive and inexplicable quality of rightness and accuracy of vision that I value in art. The sustained intelligence and rigor of his practice is most admirable as he offers to his audience an example of unwavering conviction and elegance.”

Elaine Sturtevant, Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work

For over four decades, the American-born, Parisian-based artist Elaine Sturtevant has been creating blindingly original works. Because her work calls into question our deep ties with authorship as the defining quality of any artwork, it has perplexed both the art world and the general public, as demonstrated by her recent solo exhibition, Rock & Rap /c Simulacra at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York (May 4–June 23, 2012), her first in the United States in seven years. From the 1960s to the 1990s, Sturtevant based her appropriation-based work only on cultural iconography that was tied to specific artists, be that Andy Warhol or Joseph Beuys. In 2004, she started looking at commercial television imagery as a readymade and found—in its brain-numbing repetition—a recognizable source that was less revered than her art-historical precedents but upon which she could perform the same revelatory operation. While Sturtevant’s multiscreen installations are now widely exhibited and celebrated, their existence has helped clarify the type of critical discourse she had hoped to instigate in 1965, when she first showed her paintings.

T. J. Clark, Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art

CAA recognizes T. J. Clark, professor emeritus of the History of Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley, as an influential, prolific, and inspired art historian and cultural critic. For over forty years he has written scholarly books, journal articles, exhibition reviews, and essays on the history of European and American art from the Renaissance to the present. Since the early 1970s, with the publication of two seminal books on French nineteenth-century realism—The Absolute Bourgeois and The Image of the People—his voice has been consistently recognized for its articulate, committed advocacy of the social and political significance of art. An enormously influential essay from that time called for “a new art history,” one founded on the responsibility of the historian or critic for situating aesthetic objects and approaches within the larger frame of cultural critique. From these early books and articles, with their Marxist and theoretical orientation, through subsequent studies of Impressionism and Édouard Manet (1980s), Abstract Expressionism (1990s), and Nicolas Poussin and Pablo Picasso (2000s), Clark has engaged the foundations and outcomes of the phenomenon of modernity in art. Over many years of writing on art, culture, and politics for the London Review of Books and the New Left Review, as well as his contributions to the collective Retort, he has provided us with a large body of work that addresses the significance of the expanded field of the visual arts in the world today.

Hal Foster and Claire Bishop, Frank Jewett Mather Award

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.

Harmony Hammond and Martha Rosler, Distinguished Feminist Award

CAA recognizes Harmony Hammond for her outstanding contributions to feminist and queer culture through art, writing, curating, teaching, and activism. Since the 1960s, she has created muscular, tactile paintings and sculptures that have redefined abstraction in contemporary art. Once at the forefront of the feminist reclamation of craft-based processes throughout the 1970s, Hammond has continued to innovate brilliantly with materials. Her most recent monochromes persistently grapple with the physical properties of paint and are intricately related to a feminist and queer politics of spectatorship. A founding member of A.I.R. Gallery and the Heresies Collective, Hammond has organized many exhibitions featuring women artists throughout her career. She has also been the leading light for promoting, documenting, and historicizing lesbian artists in the United States. Based in New Mexico, Hammond remains an active art critic and advocate for local art production and is a brilliant, generous teacher who energetically mentors students in their study of art making, art history, and aikido, a Japanese martial art.

For over forty years, Martha Rosler’s pioneering work as an artist, activist, and educator has consistently put her at the leading edge of contemporary art. Since her groundbreaking Body Beautiful and Bringing the War Home collages of the late 1960s, she has been acknowledged as an incisive analyst of the myths and realities of contemporary culture and is recognized among the most influential artists of her generation. Rosler’s prolific, boundary-shattering practice—including work in video, photo-text, performance, and installation—has taken on questions of public space, systems of transportation, issues of war, surveillance, and information, and women’s voices and experience regarding all of the above. She has also covered these subjects with her students at Rutgers University, where she taught for thirty years, in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, and most recently at the dozens of international lectures and workshops that have increasingly intersected with her often-collaborative studio practice. Rosler’s critical writing is also recognized for the same, lucid perspectives on the ongoing, ever-evolving connections among consumerism, technology, politics, sexism, class divisions, and violence that are reflected in her artwork.

Buzz Spector, Distinguished Teaching of Art Award

Buzz Spector has influenced students at the important institutions where he has worked since 1978, including Washington University in Saint Louis, Cornell University, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His guidance goes beyond those he has directly taught, as his writings, artworks, installations, and conceptual theories have challenged artists everywhere. Spector has examined our body of knowledge, its means of dissemination through the trusted authority of the published book, and the ephemeral act of reading. His students and colleagues spoke of his engagement as a teacher, how he conveys a flow of energy, information, and concepts to them, describing him as “profound,” “inspiring,” and “a strong advocate” who is “personally committed to his students.” His personal style is “extremely astute, honest, and humorous in his approach” with “insightful, encouraging critique.” Spector can “begin a discussion with an essential question and then spend the hours it takes to tease out literary and scientific references, contemporary art themes, and personal poignancies.” Most of all, he “imparts knowledge as a way to expand how one thinks about one’s own possibility and potential.”

June Hargrove, Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award

June Hargrove, a professor of nineteenth-century art in the Department of Art and Archaeology at the University of Maryland in College Park, has maintained her enthusiasm for teaching and scholarship through her keen ability to nurture and educate generations of students. While maintaining high standards for her students, Hargrove gives freely of her own time beyond the classroom so that students discover in her a compassionate and thoughtful mentor. Striking a careful balance, Hargrove has found the time to create new courses that embrace the interests of students while widening the breadth of her own knowledge. She has been able to distill large, complex ideas in survey courses, expanding further on issues of race, sexuality, or gender, going beyond what textbooks might cover. Hargrove has also helped connect younger scholars to established art historians and museum curators beyond their own immediate environment. From all of these achievements, she has revealed a fundamental passion for teaching, for making ideas come alive, to generations of undergraduate students first at Cleveland State University and then for decades at the University of Maryland.

Mary K. Coffey, Charles Rufus Morey Book Award

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 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.

Philipp Kaiser and Miwon Kwon, Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award

The exhibition catalogue for Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 (Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, 2012) presents a stimulating, long-overdue scholarly assessment of this international phenomenon. Wresting the history of Land art from its ossified foundations and courageously bringing an unruly topic into clear focus, the curator Philipp Kaiser and the scholar Miwon Kwon join forces to produce this appropriately expansive, decidedly revelatory, and eminently readable publication. Through scholarly essays, interviews, a checklist, and photodocumentation, Ends of the Earth remaps the geography of the movement, proposing that sites international and urban were as critical to Earthworks as the desert landscapes of the American Southwest, leaving as a trace of its labors a sturdy, earthy catalogue that serves as a further “non-site” for the resolutely uncontainable projects that redefined aesthetic practice in the 1960s and 1970s and that resonate anew in our ecologically challenged times.

Joanne Pillsbury, Miriam Doutriaux, Reiko Ishihara-Brito, and Alexandre Tokovinine, Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums, Libraries, Collections, and Exhibitions

Edited by Joanne Pillsbury, Miriam Doutriaux, Reiko Ishihara-Brito, and Alexandre Tokovinine, Ancient Maya Art at Dumbarton Oaks (Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2012) represents a substantial and long-lasting scholarly and publishing achievement. It is also a highly readable reference work, offering insight into the traditions of sculpture, ceramics, jade, and painting of the Maya cultures of ancient America. The volume, one in a series documenting Precolumbian art at Dumbarton Oaks, meticulously catalogues nearly one hundred works and features scholarly essays addressing the formation of the collection by Robert Woods Bliss and providing background to Maya civilization and the role of ritual objects in its politics, religion, and society. With contributions by nineteen specialists, Ancient Maya Art at Dumbarton Oaks is a model of scholarly collaboration in which different voices echo the variety of objects and ensure the most recent knowledge, particularly regarding advances in epigraphy and subsequent reinterpretations. That the roster of scholars includes not only American curators, professors, and archeologists, but also experts from Guatemala and Mexico, reflects a new level of international cooperation in this sometimes-contentious territory.

Yukio Lippit, Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize

Yukio Lippit’s essay “Of Modes and Manners in Japanese Ink Painting: Sesshū’s Splashed Ink Landscape of 1495,” published in the March 2012 issue of The Art Bulletin, is a new look at a master work of medieval Japanese ink painting that has commonly been studied biographically and interpreted as a pictorialization of Zen Buddhism. Lippit’s evenhanded approach builds upon earlier interpretations but makes artistic intentions only one facet of his considerations. He elucidates the scroll in its entirety, focusing on the work’s splashed ink landscape and prose preface, painted and written by Sesshū Tōyō himself, as well as the poetic inscriptions added to the work by six leading Zen monks after the artist gifted the scroll to his student, Josui Soen. Lippit broadens his engagement by looking at it through the lens of a semiotician and a social and cultural historian. Elegantly constructing his argument, the author writes in clear and compelling terms, making his case for the specialist and nonspecialist alike.

Lance Mayer and Gay Myers, CAA/Heritage Preservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation

Lance Mayer and Gay Myers have carved a unique position within the field of art-historical preservation. Their fine book American Painters on Technique: The Colonial Period to 1860 (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011) brings together two lifetimes’ worth of research, insight, and dedication, forming a testament to their authority in an engaging text that will have a profound impact on the way historians think, and on the way conservators make treatment decisions. Since the late 1970s, Mayer and Myers have worked as consultant conservators to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in Connecticut and as independent advisers to numerous collectors and leading institutions. They have studied and treated many of the finest American paintings, such as Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851), Samuel F. B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre (1831–33), and Rembrandt Peale’s George Washington (Patriae Pater) (1824). Mayer and Myers have also mentored budding conservators, and their résumés detail a stream of excellent publications and presentations ranging from scholarly articles to university courses, public lectures, and treatments.

Art Journal Award

The recipient of the 2013 Art Journal Award is Julia Bryan-Wilson for “Invisible Products,” published in the Summer 2012 issue.

Morey and Barr Award Finalists

CAA recognizes the 2013 finalists for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award and the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for their distinctive achievements:

The Morey award finalists for 2013 are:

The finalist for the 2013 Barr award is:

The finalist for the 2013 Barr Award for Smaller Museums, Libraries, Collections, and Exhibitions is:


For more information on the 2013 Awards for Distinction, please contact Emmanuel Lemakis, CAA director of programs. Visit the Awards section of the CAA website to read about past recipients.