Skip Navigation

Programs » Awards for Distinction

Art Journal Award

Established in 2000, the Art Journal Award is presented to the author of the most distinguished contribution—article, interview, conversation, portfolio, review, or any other text or visual project—published in Art Journal during the previous year.

2021 WINNER

Sampada Aranke, “Blackouts and Other Visual Escapes,” Art Journal, vol. 79, no. 4 (Winter 2020): 62–75 

The committee unanimously chose Sampada Aranke’s “Blackouts and Other Visual Escapes” as the most distinguished contribution to Art Journal in 2020. The author offers an eloquent inquiry into the aesthetics of Blackness that troubles the racialized politics of visibility and advances an ethical theory of reception. Through close analyses of artworks by Jack Whitten, Melvin Edwards, and Kerry James Marshall, Aranke proposes that visual representations verging on abstraction and illegibility catalyze embodied modes of relating to Black histories and experiences. According to the author, this aesthetic strategy destabilizes a subject/object divide fundamental to slavery and its afterlives, undermines the violence of the gaze, and activates a distribution of the self into the sensorial field of the artwork. Aranke masterfully intertwines Black studies with phenomenological and anthropological theories to show the entanglement of material and social formations in the experience of art and interracial relations. By selecting artworks in various media that place different constraints on the visual encounter with histories of anti-Black violence, Aranke advances a model of art spectatorship centered on the capacity of Black aesthetics to compel anti-essentialist relations of contingency, dependency, and care. 

Jury: Phil Taylor, Princeton University; Jessica L. Horton, University of Delawareand Cristina Albu, University of Missouri, Kansas City. 

Past Winners

The Art Journal Award was first presented in 2001 to Miwon Kwon for her article “The Wrong Place,” originally written to accompany an exhibition at the Ottawa Art Gallery. In addition to numerous art historians, the award has also been given to a curator (Nato Thompson, 2005) and an artist (Simon Leung, 2008).

2020 Philip Glahn and Cary Levine, “The Future Is Present: Electronic Café and the Politics of Technological Fantasy,” Art Journal, vol. 78, no. 3 (Fall 2019): 100–121   
Jury: Maureen Connor, Queens College, co–chair; Cristina Albu, University of Missouri–Kansas City, co–chair; and Jessica L. Horton, University of Delaware.

2019 Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra, “Beyond Evil: Politics, Ethics, and Religion in Léon Ferrari’s Illustrated Nunca más” Art Journal, vol. 77, no. 3 (Fall 2018) 
Jury: Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh, chair; Delinda Collier, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Maureen Connor, Queens College 

2018 Heather Igloliorte, “Curating Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: Inuit Knowledge in the Qallunaat Art Museum” (Summer 2017)
Jury: Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh, chair; Delinda Collier, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Iftikhar Dadi, Cornell University.

2017 Amy A. DaPonte, “Candida Höfer’s Türken in Deutschland as ‘Counter-publicity’” (Winter 2016)
Jury: Patricia C. Phillips, Moore College of Art & Design, chair; Delinda Collier, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Iftikhar Dadi, Cornell University

2016 Abigail Satinsky, “Movement Building for Beginners”  (Fall 2015)
Jury: Joanna Grabski, Denison University, chair; Patricia Phillips, Rhode Island School of Design; and Judith Rodenbeck, University of California, Riverside

2015 Anna Chave, “Grave Matters: Positioning Carl Andre at Career’s End” (Winter 2014)
Jury: Hannah Feldman, Northwestern University, chair; Joanna Grabski, Denison University; and Janet Kaplan, Moore College of Art and Design.

2014 Jeanne Dunning, “Tom Thumb, the New Oedipus” (Winter 2013)
Jury: Hannah Feldman, Northwestern University, chair; Joanna Grabski, Denison University; and Janet Kaplan, Moore College of Art and Design

2013 Julia Bryan-Wilson, “Invisible Products” (Summer 2012)
Jury: Caroline A. Jones, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, chair; Carol Becker, Columbia University; and Hannah Feldman, Northwestern University

2012 Colby Chamberlain and Triple Canopy, “The Binder and the Server” (Winter 2011)
Jury: Alexander Alberro, Barnard College, chair; Carol Becker, Columbia University; and Caroline A. Jones, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2011 Kirsten Swenson, Janet Kraynak, Paul Monty Paret, and Emily Eliza Scott, “Land Use in Contemporary Art” (Winter 2010)
Jury: Ann Gibson, University of Delaware, chair; Carol Becker, Columbia University; and Caroline A. Jones, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2010 Joanna Grabski, “Urban Claims and Visual Sources in the Making of Dakar’s Art World City” (Spring 2009)
Jury: Steven Nelson, University of California, Los Angeles, chair; Alexander Alberro, Barnard College; and Ann Gibson, University of Delaware

2009 Richard Meyer, “‘Artists sometimes have feelings’” (Winter 2008)
Jury: Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York University, chair; Alexander Alberro, Barnard College; and Steven Nelson, University of California, Los Angeles

2008 Simon Leung, “The Look of Law” (Fall 2007)
Jury: Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York University, chair; Steven Nelson, University of California, Los Angeles; and Alexander Alberro, University of Florida

2007 Sean Cubitt, “Grayscale Video and the Shift to Color” (Fall 2006)
Jury: Darby English, University of Chicago, chair; Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York University; and Joanna Roche, California State University, Fullerton.

2006 Mark Cheetham, “Matting the Monochrome: Malevich, Klein, and Now” (Winter 2005)
Jury: Joanna Roche, California State University, Fullerton, chair; Deborah Willis, New York University; Darby English, University of Chicago; and Elizabeth Kotz, University of Minnesota

2005 Nato Thompson, “Strategic Visuality: A Project by Four Artist/Researchers” (Fall 2004)
Committee: Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Harvard University, chair; Joanna Roche, California State University, Fullerton; Deborah Willis, New York University; and Darby English, University of Chicago

2004 Jenni Sorkin, “Envisioning High Performance” (Summer 2003)
Committee: Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Harvard University, chair; Joanna Roche, California State University, Fullerton; Jacquelyn Days Serwer, Corcoran Gallery of Art; and Deborah Willis, New York University

2003 Rainer Usselmann, “18.Oktober 1977: Gerhard Richter’s Work of Mourning and Its New Audience” (Spring 2002)
Committee: Valerie J. Mercer, Detroit Institute of Arts, chair; Maurice Berger, Vera List Center for Art and Politics; Jacquelyn Days Serwer, Corcoran Gallery of Art; and Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Harvard University

2002 Joanna Roche, “Performing Memory in Moon in a Tree: Carolee Schneemann Recollects Joseph Cornell” (Winter 2001)
Committee: Valerie J. Mercer, City College, City University of New York, and independent curator, chair; Maurice Berger, Vera List Center for Art and Politics; Connie Butler, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Jacquelyn Days Serwer, Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC

2001 Miwon Kwon, “The Wrong Place” (Spring 2000)
Committee: Valerie J. Mercer, City College, City University of New York, and independent curator, chair; Maurice Berger, Vera List Center for Art and Politics; Connie Butler, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Holland Cotter, New York Times