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College Art Association

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Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement

The Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement, first presented in 1988, celebrates the career of an artist who, among other distinctions, has demonstrated particular commitment to their work throughout a long career and has had an important impact nationally and internationally on the field.

2017 Winner

Faith Ringgold

Born in Harlem, New York City, in 1930, Faith Ringgold is an artist, feminist, activist, and educator, and widely considered the most influential living African American artist. Growing up in Harlem during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, she suffered from asthma and art became her refuge. She earned BS and MA degrees in art from the City College, the City University of New York, and taught in the NYC public school system for almost twenty years. Since the 1970s Ringgold has been an activist and cofounder of several feminist and antiracist organizations, along with artist Poppy Johnson, art critic Lucy Lippard, and her daughter Michelle Wallace, among others.

Her acclaimed artistic practice spans many media, including painting, quilts, sculpture, performance, and children’s books. Civil Rights, racial justice, feminism, and art history are consistent themes. Her innovative exhibition Dancing at the Louvre: Faith Ringgold’s French Collection and other “story quilts” and Tar Beach are now in the art-historical canon. Ringgold’s American People Series used her “black light” technique to reject the color white and create contrast with color instead of value. She was “in pursuit of a more affirmative black aesthetic.” Ringgold’s art has been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. Her art is included in many private and public art collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Baltimore Museum of Art, Williams College Museum of Art, High Museum of Art, and Philip Morris Collection. “No other creative field is as closed to those who are not white and male as is the visual arts. After I decided to be an artist, the first thing that I had to believe was that I, a black woman, could penetrate the art scene, and that, further, I could do so without sacrificing one iota of my blackness or my femaleness or my humanity,” she has said. Ringgold moved to Englewood, New Jersey, in 1992 where she continues to live and work. Last year the Museum of Modern Art acquired her monumental painting American People Series #20: Die (1967) and installed it in the lobby.

Jury: Patricia Cronin, Brooklyn College, The City University of New York, chair; Lynne D. Allen, Boston University; and Judith Kirshner, The Art Institute of Chicago.

Past Winners

One of CAA’s most illustrious prizes, the Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement has recognized the long, prominent, and influential careers of many contemporary artists, among them Joan Mitchell and Louise Bourgeois in the 1980s; Willem de Kooning, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, and John Baldessari in the 1990s; and Alison Knowles, Elizabeth Murray, and Chris Burden in the present decade.

2016 Carmen Herrera
Jury: Susan Taylor, New Orleans Museum of Art, chair; Patricia Cronin, Brooklyn College, City University of New York; and Judith Kirshner, The Art Institute of Chicago

2015 Keith Sonnier
Jury: Roy Dowell, Otis College of Art and Design; Darby English, Clark Art Institute;and Susan Taylor, New Orleans Museum of Art.

2014 Yvonne Rainer
Jury: Judith K. Brodsky, Rutgers University, chair; Roy Dowell, Otis College of Art and Design; and Darby English, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

2013 Ellsworth Kelly
Jury: Ian Berry, Skidmore College, chair; Judith K. Brodsky, Rutgers University; and Roy Dowell, Otis College of Art and Design

2012 David Hammons
Jury: Ian Berry, Skidmore College, chair; Judith K. Brodsky, Rutgers University; and Helen Molesworth, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

2011 Lynda Benglis
Jury: Stephanie Barron, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, chair; Ian Berry, Skidmore College; and Hannah Higgins, University of Illinois, Chicago

2010 Suzanne Lacy
Jury: Stephanie Barron, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, chair; Hannah Higgins, University of Illinois, Chicago; and Alison de Lima Green, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

2009 Chris Burden
Jury: Stephanie Barron, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, chair; Hannah Higgins, University of Illinois, Chicago; and Ann Temkin, Museum of Modern Art

2008 Sylvia Sleigh
Jury: Leo Morrissey, Winston-Salem State University, chair; Robert Berlind, Purchase College, State University of New York; and Ann Temkin, Museum of Modern Art

2007 Will Barnet
Jury: Leo Morrissey, Winston-Salem State University, chair; Robert Berlind, Purchase College, State University of New York; and Ann Temkin, Museum of Modern Art

2006 Elizabeth Murray
Jury: Hearne Pardee, University of California, Davis, chair; Georgia Strange, Indiana University; Leo Morrissey, Winston-Salem State University; and Robert Berlind, Purchase College, State University of New York

2005 Nancy Spero
Committee: Richard Roth, Virginia Commonwealth University, chair; Hearne Pardee, University of California, Davis; Buzz Spector, Cornell University; and Georgia Strange, Indiana University, Bloomington

2004 Wayne Thiebaud
Committee: Richard Roth, Virginia Commonwealth University, chair; Hearne Pardee, University of California, Davis; Buzz Spector, Cornell University; and Georgia Strange, Indiana University, Bloomington

2003 Alison Knowles
Committee: Richard Roth, Virginia Commonwealth University, chair; Bailey Doogan, University of Arizona; Buzz Spector, Cornell University; and Ann Tucker, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

2002 Miriam Schapiro
Committee: Bailey Doogan, University of Arizona, chair; Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, independent artist, New Mexico; Richard Roth, Virginia Commonwealth University; and Anne Tucker, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

2001 Hollis Sigler and May Stevens
Committee: Bailey Doogan, University of Arizona, chair; Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, independent artist, New Mexico; Holly Block, Art in General; Archie Rand, Columbia University; and Anne Tucker, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

2000 Robert Blackburn
Committee: Deborah Willis, Smithsonian Institution, chair; Holly Block, Art in General; Joe Deal, Rhode Island School of Design; and Archie Rand, Columbia University

1999 John Baldessari
Committee: William D. Paul Jr., University of Georgia, chair; Holly Block, Art in General; Younghee Choi Martin, independent artist; and Joe Deal, Washington University in St. Louis

1998 Paul Cadmus and Agnes Martin
Committee: William D. Paul Jr., University of Georgia, chair; Joe Deal, Washington University in St. Louis; Younghee Choi Martin, independent artist; and Deborah Willis, Smithsonian Institution

1997 Peter Voulkos
Committee: Deborah Willis, Smithsonian Institution, chair; Rupert Garcia, independent artist; Younghee Choi Martin, independent artist; and Bill Paul, University of Georgia

1996 Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Committee: Deborah Willis, chair; Rupert Garcia; Richard Hunt; and Joyce Kozloff

1995 Ida Applebroog
Committee: Harry Rand, chair; Pat Adams; Rupert Garcia; Joyce Kozloff; and Margaret Lazzari

1994 Helen Frankenthaler
Committee: Harry Rand, chair; Pat Adams; and Margaret Lazzari

1993 Willem de Kooning
Committee: Whitney Davis, chair; Jack Perry Brown; and James Marrow

1992 Rupert Garcia
Committee: Joseph Mannino, chair; Camille Billops; Phillip Chen; and Margaret Lazzari

1991 Hans Haacke
Committee: Ann Page, chair; Margo Kren; Joseph Mannino; and John O’Connor

1990 Jacob Lawrence
Committee: Sam Gilliam Jr., chair; Audrey Flack; Keith Morrison; Anne Page; and Esther Parada

1989 Louise Bourgeois
Committee: Sharon Gold, chair; Deborah Butterfield; Sam Gilliam; Douglas Huebler; and Joan Semmel

1988 Joan Mitchell
Committee: Cynthia Carlson, chair; Siah Armajani; John Baldessari; Sharon Gold; and Ray Yoshida

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