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Distinguished Feminist Awards

CAA presents two annual Distinguished Feminist Awards: one presented to a visual artist or designer who, through outstanding efforts in their practice or advocacy, has advanced the cause of equality for women in the arts; one presented to a scholar who, through outstanding efforts in their scholarship, curatorial practice, or advocacy, has advanced the cause of equality for women in the arts. This award was established in 2007 to honor a person who, through their art, scholarship, or advocacy, has advanced the cause of equality for women in the arts. From 1996 to 2008, this award was presented as an Annual Recognition Award by CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts (CWA) at a ceremony at the Annual Conference.

2019 WINNERS

Senga Nengudi–Visual Artist

For more than fifty years, Senga Nengudi has been making multimedia work encompassing sculptural installation, photography, drawing, and dance in a manner that expresses her own identity as woman, as a woman of color, and as an artist. Her works are declarations of the power of the female body and of the black feminist vision. In her pedagogical career teaching art to youth as well as college-level artists she has generously passed on the values of her life work as well as served as a role model for women looking for a way to integrate their art into daily life and to use their work to activate and enlighten their communities with dignity, grace, and a measure of magic and goddess strength. She has always used a variety of natural (sand, dirt, rocks,

seed pods) and unconventional (panty hose, found objects, masking tape) materials to fashion her works, utilizing these materials as a jazz musician would notes and sounds to improvise a composition. 

Born in 1943 in Chicago, Nengudi lives and works in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her work has been featured in the recent group exhibitions Blues for Smoke (2012) at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art (2012) at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, the Grey Art Gallery, and the Studio Museum of Harlem; Now  Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–80 (2011) at the Hammer Museum, MoMA PS1, and the Williams College Art Museum. Her works are included in the collections  of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Carnegie

Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Studio Museum in Harlem; and Brooklyn Museum. Nengudi’s work can be seen at her website — http:// sengasenga.com/

Anna C. Chave—Scholar

Anna C. Chave, Professor Emerita of Art History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, is a widely read, influential, and experimental historian whose revisionist readings of Minimalism and her monographs on Rothko and Brancusi (Yale University Press, 1991 and 1993), have influenced a generation of scholars. For more than thirty years she has been concerned with issues of gender and identity, reception and interpretation, mainly with respect to twentieth-century art. Her brave and outspoken scholarship, research, public lectures, and publications are heralded internationally.

Seventeen years prior to the #MeToo movement, at Princeton University, feminists celebrated the thirty-year achievements of feminist scholarship after the publication of Linda Nochlin’s canonical text, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” There, Chave delivered a paper that discussed how the sexual violence that she experienced as an undergraduate student became her motivation for becoming a feminist scholar. However, at the time, feminists themselves had difficulty in accepting Chave’s experience, and when all the conference papers were published as a book, Women Artists at the Millennium (MIT Press, 2006), hers was excluded.

Despite this Chave has a long and consistent history of publishing essays such as “I Object: Hannah Wilke’s Feminism” (2009); “Revaluing Minimalism: Patronage, Aura, and Place” (2008); “Dis/Cover/ing the Quilts of Gee’s Bend, Alabama” (2008); “Normal Ills’: “On Embodiment, Victimization, and the Origins of Feminist Art” (2006); “Eva Hesse: A Girl Being a Sculpture” (1992), among others. Chave’s record places her solidly in feminism’s avant-garde.

Jury: Janet Goldner, independent artist, New York City, cochair; Arnold Joseph Kemp, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, cochair; Elizabeth Duffy, independent artist, New York City; Jeannene Przyblyski, California Institute of the Arts

PAST WINNERS

Since 2009, the Distinguished Feminist Award has honored such influential leaders in the visual arts field as Griselda Pollock, Faith Ringgold, Lucy R. Lippard, and many more. For past winners of the CWA Annual Recognition Awards, scroll down further.

2018 Lynn Hershman Leeson — Visual Artist
2018 Lowery Stokes Sims — Scholar
Jury: Claudia Sbrissa, St. John’s University, chair; Janet Goldner, independent, New York City; Arnold Joseph Kemp, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Jeannene Przyblyski, California Institute of the Arts.

2017 Joan Marter
Jury: Hilary Robinson, Middlesex University, chair; Claudia Sbrissa, St. John’s University; and Kathleen Wentrack, Queensborough Community College, The City University of New York.

2016 Carrie Mae Weems
Jury: Hilary Robinson, Middlesex University, chair; Claudia Sbrissa, St. John’s University; and Kathleen Wentrack, Queensborough Community College, City University of New York

2015 Amelia Jones
Jury: Maria Elena Buszek, University of Colorado, Denver, chair; Hilary Robinson, Middlesex University; and Kathleen Wentrack, Queensborough Community College, City University of New York.

2014 Lorraine O’Grady
Jury: Anne Swartz, Savannah College of Art and Design, chair; Julia Bryan-Wilson, University of California, Berkeley; and Maria Elena Buszek, University of Colorado, Denver

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold (photograph by Grace Matthews)

2013 Harmony Hammond and Martha Rosler
Jury: Anne Swartz, Savannah College of Art and Design, chair; Julia Bryan-Wilson, University of California, Berkeley; and Maria Elena Buszek, University of Colorado, Denver

2012 Lucy R. Lippard
Jury: Frima Fox Hofrichter, Pratt Institute, chair; Julia Bryan-Wilson, University of California, Berkeley; and Anne Swartz, Savannah College of Art and Design

2011 Faith Ringgold
Jury: Lowery Stokes Sims, Museum of Arts and Design, chair; Frima Fox Hofrichter, Pratt Institute; and Moira Roth, Mills College

2010 Griselda Pollock
Jury: Lowery Stokes Sims, Museum of Arts and Design, chair; Diane Burko, professor emerita, Philadelphia Community College; and Moira Roth, Mills College

2009 Guerrilla Girls
Jury: Lowery Stokes Sims, Museum of Arts and Design, chair; Diane Burko, Philadelphia Community College; and Moira Roth, Mills College

CWA Annual Recognition Awards

From 1996 to 2008, the Committee on Women in the Arts presented Annual Recognition Awards during a ceremony at the CAA Annual Conference. At its October 2007 meeting, the CAA Board of Directors voted to establish a twelfth Award for Distinction, the Distinguished Feminist Award, which honors a person who, through his or her art, scholarship, or advocacy, has advanced the cause of equality for women in the arts. The Distinguished Feminist Award replaces the committee’s Annual Recognition Award.

2008 Amalia Mesa-Bains and Celia Álvarez Muñoz

2007 Judith Brodsky and Ferris Olin

2006 Moira Roth and Trinh T. Minh-ha

2005 Beverly Buchanan and Lowery Stokes Sims

2004 Betye Saar and Nancy Spero

2003 Elizabeth Catlett and June Wayne

2002 Janet Cox-Rearick and Jaune Quick-To-See Smith

2001 Elsa Honig Fine

2000 Carolee Schneemann, Mary Garrard, and Norma Broude

1999 Samella Lewis

1998 Linda Nochlin

1997 Louise Bourgeouis

1996 Agnes Gund