The Prince and Princess of Asturias have presided over the ceremony held in the Museo del Prado
where they have awarded Antoni Muntadas the 2009 Velazquez Prize. The award was bestowed in recognition of his outstanding and intense career and contribution to contemporary national and international art.
The Velazquez Prize, which comes with a cash award of 125,000 euros ($170,000), has been presented by the Spanish Culture Ministry since 1992. It is given to candidates proposed by fine arts academies, modern and contemporary art museums, art critics' associations and other institutions linked to the plastic arts.
The panel of judges was headed by the general director of Fine Arts and Cultural Assets, Jose Jimenez, and included 2008 Velazquez winner Cildo Meireles, art critics Simon Marchan Fiz and Anna Maria Guasch and several gallery and museum directors.
Besides Meireles, past winners of the prize have included Ramon Gaya, Antoni Tapies, Pablo Palazuelo, Juan Soriano, Antonio Lopez and Luis Gordillo.
Antoni Muntadas (born in 1942 in Barcelona) is a multidisciplinary, media artist, sometimes also referred to as Antonio Muntadas or, simply, Muntadas. Since 1971, he lives and works in New York. Muntadas was a Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT,1977-1984, and is currently Visiting Professor with MIT Visual Arts Program. His work has been exhibited widely, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Biennale, documenta 6 and documenta X.
In 1995, he was awarded an Ars Electronica Honorary Mention for his well-known work "The File Room". It is an early and ongoing Internet art project, started in 1994, consisting of an open database of cases of censorship. Another long-term work, "On Translation", deals with language and the notion of translation, interpretation and transcription. The project was realized in various formats over the years, including several different exhibitions and a website hosted by the seminal Internet art gallery äda'web.