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2014 Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Women’s Caucus for Art

posted by Christopher Howard — Oct 22, 2013

The Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA) has announced the recipients of its 2014 Lifetime Achievement Awards: Phyllis Bramson, Harmony Hammond, Adrian Piper, and Faith Wilding. The winners of the 2014 President’s Art and Activism Award are Janice Nesser-Chu and Hye-Seong Tak Lee.

Please join WCA for an awards celebration on Saturday, February 15, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois. The event will be held during the annual WCA and CAA conferences. The awards ceremony, open free of charge to the public, will take place from 6:00 to 7:30 PM, followed by a ticketed gala from 8:00 to 10:00 PM at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. The ticketed gala will include a walk-around gourmet dinner, open bar, and the opportunity to congratulate the awardees. Individual tickets may be purchased online for $150 prior to January 7 and for $165 thereafter.

2014 Lifetime Achievement Awardees

Phyllis Bramson is an artist and educator whose recent works use folly and innuendo as narrative tactics to embody exaggerated fictions about love. Infused with amusing anecdotes about life’s imperfections, her sensuous paintings are miniaturized schemes meandering through love, desire, pleasure, tragedy, and cosmic disorder. Bramson received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and taught for twenty-two years at the University of Illinois, Chicago, where she is now professor emerita. Since 2007, she has advised MFA students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Bramson has shown her work in over thirty solo and innumerable group exhibitions across the United States. In 2013, she will have one-person shows at Zolla/Lieberman Gallery in Chicago and at Littlejohn Contemporary in New York. Bramson was selected for the Annual Artists’ Interviews at CAA’s 2010 Annual Conference in Chicago, and in 2012 she received the Distinguished Artist of the Year/Chicago from the Union League Club of Chicago.

Harmony Hammond is an artist, writer, and educator who was a leading figure in the feminist art movement in New York in the early 1970s, cofounding A.I.R., the first women’s cooperative art gallery in New York, and the journal Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics. Her earliest feminist work combined gender politics with Postminimal concerns of materials and process, frequently occupying a space between painting and sculpture. Since 1984, Hammond has lived and worked in northern New Mexico. She taught at the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1998 to 2006. Hammond’s Wrappings: Essays on Feminism, Art, and the Martial Arts (1984) is a seminal publication on 1970s feminist art, and her book Lesbian Art in America: A Contemporary History (2000) received a Lambda Literary Award. Her artwork has been exhibited internationally and was featured in High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–1975 (2006–8) and WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (2007–8) In 2013, Hammond was honored with CAA’s Distinguished Feminist Award.

Adrian Piper is a conceptual artist and analytic philosopher. She received a BA in philosophy with a minor in medieval and renaissance musicology from the City College of New York and a PhD in philosophy from Harvard University. Piper became the first tenured African American woman professor in the field of philosophy. For her refusal to return to the United States while listed as a suspicious traveler on the Transportation Security Administration’s watch list, Wellesley College forcibly terminated her tenured full professorship in 2008. In 2011, the American Philosophical Association awarded her the title of professor emeritus. Piper’s two-volume, open-access study in Kantian metaethics, Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Volume I: The Humean Conception and Rationality and the Structure of the Self, Volume II: A Kantian Conception, was accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press in 2008 and praised as “groundbreaking,” “brilliant,” “indispensable,” and “original and important.” Piper introduced issues of race and gender into the vocabulary of Conceptual art as well as explicit political content into Minimalism. In 2000, she further expanded the vocabulary of Conceptual art to include Vedic philosophical imagery and concepts. Her artwork has enjoyed numerous national and international traveling retrospectives. She received CAA’s Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work in 2012. Piper lives and works in Berlin, where she runs the Adrian Piper Research Archive Foundation Berlin.

Faith Wilding is an intermedia artist, writer, and educator. She is professor emerita of performance art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a graduate faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and currently a visiting scholar at Brown University’s Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. Born in Paraguay, Wilding received a BA from the University of Iowa and an MFA from California Institute of Arts (CalArts). Wilding was a co-initiator of the Feminist Art Programs at Fresno State College and at CalArts and key contributor to the Womanhouse exhibition in 1970–71 with her Crocheted Environment installation and her Waiting performance. Her work with the feminist art movement in Southern California was chronicled in her book By Our Own Hands (1977) and later in The Power of Feminist Art (1994), edited by Norma Broude and Mary Garrard. Wilding’s art, which addresses the recombinant and distributed biotech body in two-dimensional and digital media, audio and video, and installations and performances, has been featured in major feminist exhibitions, including WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (2007–8), Sexual Politics (1995), Division of Labor: Women’s Work in Contemporary Art (1995), and re.act.feminism (2009). Wilding cofounded and collaborates with subRosa, a cyberfeminist cell of cultural producers using bioart and tactical performance in the public sphere to explore and critique the intersections of information and biotechnologies in women’s bodies, lives, and work. She is also the coeditor of Domain Errors! Cyberfeminist Practices! (2002).

2014 President’s Awardees for Art and Activism

Janice Nesser-Chu is an educator, mixed-media artist, and activist in the arts community. Her life’s work has centered on social activism, education, mentorship, and promotion of women in the arts. Nesser-Chu serves as the Legacy Campaign Director on the national board of WCA, on the WCA Saint Louis chapter board, and on the board of directors for ArtTable. Nesser-Chu was president of WCA from 2010 to 2012 and has served on the organization’s board for over eight years. She coordinated the 2011 Art and Social Justice Conference and sat on the advisory board and steering committee for the 2012 Cross-Cultural Engagement: Building a Diverse and Dynamic Community Conference, both held in Saint Louis. She recently served on the Forums Committee for Art Saint Louis and is a founder and past board member of the Northern Arts Council. Nesser-Chu is chair of the Arts and Humanities Department and a professor of art at Saint Louis Community College, Florissant Valley. Previously she served as the director of the school’s galleries and permanent collection and coordinator of the photography program. Nesser-Chu established the Women’s History Month (WHM) and World AIDS Day/Quilt display programs on her campus and continues to serve as the coordinator for WHM. She has a master’s degree in art from Webster University and a BA in journalism with a minor in political science from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Nesser-Chu has exhibited internationally for over twenty years.

Hye-Seong Tak Lee is an artist, curator, and lecturer from Gwangju, South Korea. While residing in various cities in North America over a ten-year period, she was active in immigrant communities, helping emerging artists enrich their environment through multicultural exhibitions. Since returning to South Korea, she has worked with expatriate artists to broaden her country’s cultural tolerance and expand the society of artists through events such as art classes, workshops, mural projects, and exhibitions. Lee is particularly determined to expand the visibility of women artists in Korea, whose accomplishments have been all but ignored because of the country’s focus on other significant democratic issues. In partnership with WCA’s International Caucus, Lee mounted the 2012 exhibition Woman + Body in Seoul and Gwangju. A survey of contemporary sexual personae—female, transgender, and male—Women + Body raised questions about stereotypes and prejudice, presented diverse points of view, and showcased significant Korean activist women artists spanning several generations, together with WCA activist women artists from the United States. Lee also participated in panel discussions related to gender policies and lectured on the contributions of women in the arts. Woman + Body opened the door for strengthening and widening women artists’ networks for both Koreans and Americans. Lee looks forward to curating more exhibitions with talented women artists from all over the world.

Background

WCA’s Lifetime Achievement Awards were first awarded in 1979 in President Jimmy Carter’s Oval Office to Isabel Bishop, Selma Burke, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Past honorees have represented the full range of distinguished achievement in the arts professions. This year’s awardees are no exception. The President’s Art and Activism Award is awarded each year to emerging or midcareer women whose life and work exemplifies WCA’s mission of creating community through art, education, and social activism.

Founded in 1972 in connection with CAA, WCA is a national member organization unique in its multidisciplinary, multicultural membership of artists, art historians, students, educators, and museum professionals. WCA is committed to recognizing the contribution of women in the arts; providing women with leadership opportunities and professional development; expanding networking and exhibition opportunities for women; supporting local, national, and global art activism; and advocating equity in the arts for all.