NEW YORK, NY.- The Studio Museum
has awarded the 2009 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize to Glenn Ligon. Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden announced the award to over 700 supporters and friends, including George Wein, at the Museums Gala 2009 on October 26.
Jazz impresario, musician and philanthropist George Wein established the Prize in 2006 to honor his late wife Joyce Alexander Wein, a woman whose life embodied a commitment to the power and possibilities of art and culture. Joyce was a dedicated Trustee of The Studio Museum in Harlem and was deeply involved with philanthropy and the arts throughout her life. Inspired by Joyces lifelong support of living artists and envisioned as an extension of the Studio Museums mission to support experimentation and excellence in contemporary art, the Wein Prize recognizes and honors the artistic achievements of an African-American artist who demonstrates great innovation, promise and creativity, and includes an unrestricted monetary award of $50,000. Previous recipients include Nadine Robinson (2008), Trenton Doyle Hancock (2007) and Lorna Simpson (2006).
A distinguished panel consisting of Eungie Joo, Director and Curator of Public Programs, the New Museum; Carter Foster, Curator of Drawings, the Whitney Museum of American Art; Nancy L. Lane, Trustee and Chair, Acquisition Committee, The Studio Museum in Harlem; and Naomi Beckwith, Assistant Curator, the Studio Museum, met in September to select just one winner from a competitive pool of candidates recommended by nominators nationwide.
In receiving this prize, which is so much in the spirit of both Joyce and Georges longtime support for the arts, said Glenn Ligon, I realized that while I sometimes take for granted the things that I do in my studio, other people think deeply about, appreciate and cherish the work I make. I am honored.
A New York-based conceptual artist, Ligon has a wide-ranging art practice in multiple media, including text-based painting, neon, print, installation and video. His work engages social and personal histories, memory, and the ways in which groups and individuals are representedrevealing the complexities and subtleties of social constructs of race, language, sexuality and gender.
Born in the Bronx in 1960, Ligon received a BA from Wesleyan University in 1982. In addition to Stranger, his 2001 solo exhibition at The Studio Museum in Harlem, he has had solo museum exhibitions at the Power House, Memphis (2008); the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2000); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1996); and the Kunstverein München, Germany (2001). His work has been included in numerous national and international group shows, including Documenta XI, Kassel, Germany (2002); the Venice Biennale (1997); and the Whitney Biennial (1991, 1993).
Ligons work is represented in many public collections, including those of The Studio Museum in Harlem; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In addition, he has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work, including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (1997) and two National Endowment for the Arts grants (1982, 1989).