Skip Navigation

Programs » Awards for Distinction

Frank Jewett Mather Award

The Frank Jewett Mather Award, first presented in 1963 for art journalism, is named in honor of the art critic, teacher, and scholar who was affiliated with Princeton University until his death in 1953. It is awarded for significant published art criticism that has appeared in publication in a one-year period; from September 1–August 31 of the year prior to the granting of the award in February.

2020 WINNER

Darby English, To Describe a Life: Notes from the Intersection of Art and Race Terror, Yale University Press, 2019  

The jury has unanimously selected Darby English’s To Describe a Life: Notes from the Intersection of Art and Race Terror. Emerging from a series of lectures, English’s text develops ideas raised in his previously published work about race, violence, temporality, and the possibility of the encounter with art to signal a way forward in a moment of national crisis. Delivering on a call to “look as we live; in our skin, as discomfiting even excruciating as that can get sometimes,” English unpacks works as memory-bearing bodies: waiting for the collapse of Zoe Leonard’s stacked volumes; locked in a cocoon of slowed perception with Kerry James Marshall’s painted police officer; anxiously surveying and reading the sociological space of William Pope.L’s Skin Set Drawings; and looking down upon and crouching aside Boym Partners’ replica of the Lorraine Motel. Engaging with a broad literature that runs from Wittgenstein to Baldwin to Green Lantern, English’s writing is sophisticated in its theoretical framework and powerful in its prose.  

Jury: John Cunnally, Iowa State University, chair; Andrew Wasserman, Independent Scholar; and David Trend, University of California, Irvine.

PAST WINNERS

The Frank Jewett Mather Award has been presented to many well-known art critics and writers. In the 1960s, awards were presented to Max Kozloff, Barbara Rose, and Clement Greenberg, while Lawrence Alloway, Rosalind Krauss, and Lucy R. Lippard were recipients in the 1970s. The Mather awards of the 1980s were given to Robert Hughes, Leo Steinberg, and Douglas Crimp, among others, followed by Eleanor Heartney, Arthur C. Danto, and Christopher Knight in the 1990s. In 2009, Boris Groys was honored for his essays in Art Power, which address curatorship and criticism of modern and contemporary art in public venues.

2019 Julia Bryan-Wilson 
Fray: Art + TextilePolitics (University of Chicago Press, 2017) 

2019 Rebecca M. Schreiber 
The Undocumented Everyday: Migrant Lives and the Politics of Visibility (University of Minnesota Press, 2018) 
Jury: John Cunnally, Iowa State University, chair; Blake Stimson, University of Illinois atChicago; David Trend, University of California, Irvine

2018 Elise Archias
The Concrete Body: Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneemann, Vito Acconci (Yale University Press, 2016)
Jury: John Cunnally, Iowa State University, chair; David Trend, University of California, Irvine; and Blake Stimson, University of Illinois at Chicago.

2017 Laura Marks
Jury: Blake Stimson, University of Illinois, Chicago, chair; T. J. Demos, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Josephine Gear, New York University.

2016 Chika Okeke-Agulu
Jury: Julie Codell, Arizona State University, chair; T.J. Demos, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Josephine Gear, New York University.

2015 No award given this year.

2014 T. J. Demos
Jury: Peter Chametzky, University of South Carolina, chair; Julie Codell, Arizona State University; and Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh

2013 Hal Foster and Claire Bishop
Jury: Florencia Bazzano-Nelson, Smithsonian American Art Museum, chair; Peter Chametzky, Southern Illinois University; and Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh

2012 David Antin
Jury: Florencia Bazzano-Nelson, Tulane University, chair; Peter Chametzky, Southern Illinois University; and Terry Smith, University of Pittsburgh

2011 Luis Camnitzer
Jury: Paul Krainak, Bradley University, chair; Peter Frank, THE Magazine; and Florencia Bazzano-Nelson, Tulane University

2010 Terry Smith
Jury: Alejandro Anreus, William Paterson University; Peter Frank, THE Magazine; and Paul Krainak, Bradley University

2009 Boris Groys
Jury: Peter Frank, Riverside Art Museum; Paul Krainak, Bradley University; and Alejandro Anreus, William Paterson University

2008 Chris Kraus
Jury: Charles Reeve, Ontario College of Art and Design, chair; Alejandro Anreus, William Paterson University; Charles Hagen, University of Connecticut, Storrs; and Catherine Lord, University of California, Irvine

2007 Jerry Saltz
Jury: Charles Reeve, Ontario College of Art and Design, chair; Charles Hagen, University of Connecticut, Storrs; and Catherine Lord, University of California, Irvine

2006 Gregg Bordowitz and Okwui Enwezor
Jury: James Meyer, Emory University, chair; Charles Hagen, University of Connecticut; Catherine Lord, University of California, Irvine; and Charles Reeve, Ontario College of Art and Design

2005 Garth Clark
Committee: Sue Taylor, Portland State University, chair; Janet Koplos, Art in America; James Meyer, Emory University; and Greg Sholette, independent artist and writer

2004 Guerrilla Girls
Committee: James Yood, Northwestern University, chair; Janet Koplos, Art in America; Gregory Sholette, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Sue Taylor, Portland State University

2003 Roberta Smith
Committee: W. Jackson Rushing, University of Houston, chair; Gregory Sholette, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Sue Taylor, Portland State University; and James Yood, Northwestern University

2002 Arlene Raven
Committee: Jonathan Katz, State University of New York, Stony Brook, chair; Joanna Frueh, University of Nevada, Reno; W. Jackson Rushing, University of Houston; and James Yood, Northwestern University

2001 Peter Halley
Committee: Jonathan Katz, State University of New York, Stony Brook, chair; Joanna Frueh, University of Nevada, Reno; Amelia Jones, University of California, Riverside; and W. Jackson Rushing, University of Houston

2000 Moira Roth and Catherine Lord
Committee: Jonathan Katz, City College of San Francisco, chair; Joanna Frueh, University of Nevada, Reno; Amelia Jones, University of California, Riverside; and Joseph Mashek

1999 Mira Schor
Committee: Amelia Jones, University of California, Riverside, chair; Richard Martin, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Joseph Masheck, Hofstra University; and John Hallmark Neff, Terra Museum of American Art

1998 Jeremey Gilbert-Rolfe

John Hallmark Neff, Terra Museum of American Art, chair; Dave Hickey, University of Nevada; and Joseph Masheck, independent critic

1997 Christopher Knight
Committee: Suzanne Muchnic, Los Angeles Times, chair; Dave Hickey; and Lowery Stokes Sims, Metropolitan Museum of Art

1996 Arthur C. Danto
Committee: Frances Colpitt, University of Texas at San Antonio, chair; David Carrier, Carnegie Mellon University; Thomas McEvilley, Artforum; and Suzanne Muchnic, Los Angeles Times

1995 Jan Avgikos
Committee: Frances Colpitt, University of Texas at San Antonio, chair; David Carrier, Carnegie Mellon University; Victor Margolin, University of Illinois, Chicago; and Suzanne Muchnic, Los Angeles Times

1994 Dave Hickey
Committee: Victor Margolin, University of Illinois, Chicago, chair; David Carrier, Carnegie Mellon University; Frances Colpitt, University of Texas; and Joan Hugo, California Institute of the Arts

1993 Thomas McEvilley
Committee: Lowery Stokes Sims, Metropolitan Museum of Art, chair; Joan Hugo, California Institute of the Arts; and Victor Margolin, University of Illinois, Chicago

1992 Shifra Goldman and Eleanor Heartney
Committee: Lowery Stokes Sims, Metropolitan Museum of Art, chair; Joan Hugo, California Institute of the Arts; and John Kissick, Pennsylvania State University

1991 Lowery Stokes Sims
Committee: Jonathan Fineberg, University of Illinois, chair; Shifra Goldman, Rancho Santiago College; and Patricia Mathews, Oberlin College

1990 Martha Gever and Jan Zita Grover
Committee: Douglas Crimp, chair; Hunter Drohojowska; and Xenia Zed

1989 Douglas Crimp
Committee: Robert Storr, chair; Yve-Alain Bois; and Arlene Raven

1988 Germano Celant
Committee: Susan Larsen, chair; and Thomas McEvilley

1987 Carter Ratcliff
Committee: Ruth Weisberg, University of Southern California, chair; Franz Schulz, Lake Forest College; and Joan Marter

1986 Benjamin H. D. Buchloh
Committee: Melinda Wortz, chair; William Olander; and Moira Roth

1985 Robert Hughes
Committee: Jane Livingston, chair; Robert Berlind; Jonathan Fineberg, University of Illinois

1984 Leo Steinberg
Committee: Janet Kardon, chair; Brenda Richardson; John Russell

1983 Donald Kuspit
Committee: Jeanne Siegel, chair; Brian O’Doherty; and Dianne Vanderlip

1982 Robert Hughes
Committee: Kirk Varnedoe, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, chair; Jan Butterfield; and Amy Newman

1981 Robert Rosenblum
Committee: Franz Schulz, Lake Forest College; Linda Cathcart; and Peter Schjeldahl

1980 Peter Schjeldahl
Committee: Alfred Frankenstein, chair; Linda Nochlin, Vassar College; and Robert Rosenblum

1979 John Russell
Committee: Alfred Frankenstein, chair; Linda Nochlin, Vassar College; and Robert Rosenblum

1978 Linda Nochlin
Committee: Elizabeth Baker, chair; Lucy R. Lippard; and Alfred Frankenstein

1977 Amy Goldin
Committee: Irving Sandler, State University of New York, Purchase, chair; Elizabeth Baker; and Lucy R. Lippard

1976 Elizabeth Baker
Committee: Tom Hess, chair; Wayne Anderson; and Irving Sandler, State University of New York, Purchase

1975 Lucy R. Lippard
Committee: Tom Hess, chair; Wayne Anderson; and Irving Sandler, State University of New York, Purchase

1974 Lincoln Kirstein
Commitee: Rosalind Krauss and Margit Rowell, cochairs; Hilton Kramer; and Annette Michaelson

1973 Rosalind Krauss
Committee: Robert Rosenblum, chair; Lawrence Alloway; Elizabeth Baker; and Margit Rowell

1972 Lawrence Alloway
Committee: Shirley Blum, chair; Alfred Frankenstein; and Edward Fry

1971 Alfred Frankenstein
Committee: Barbara Rose, chair; Shirley Blum; and Robert Rosenblum

1970 Barbara Rose
Committee: Martin L. Friedman; Donald Judd; and Robert L. Herbert

1969 Clement Greenberg
Comitteme: Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr.; Ada Louise Huxtable;and Frederick S. Wight

1968 Ada Louise Huxtable
Committee: Milton Brown; William Seitz; and William Agee

1967 Barbara Rose
Committee: Lincoln Johnson; Ellen Johnson; Robert Goldwater; and Robert Rosenblum

1966 Max Kozloff
Committee: Charles P. Parkhurst; Frank Trapp; and Lincoln Johnson

1965 Brian O’Doherty
Committee: S. Lane Faison, Jr.; George Hamilton; and Peter Selz

1964 Creighton Gilbert and Harold Rosenberg
Committee: Arline B. Saarinen; John McAndrew; and Creighton Gilbert, Yale University

1963 Lewis Mumford and Dore Ashton
Committee: Peter H. Selz; James S. Ackerman, Harvard University; Herschel B. Chipp; Sam Hunter; and Allen S. Weller