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Calder Foundation Announces Rachel Harrison as the 2011 Calder Prize Winner
Harrison’s Zombie Rothko, 2011 will be on view at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Dorsoduro 701, Venice from 1–6 June 2011. Photo: John Berens. Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Calder Foundation and the Scone Foundation are pleased to announce the 2011 Calder Prize Laureate, Rachel Harrison. A work by the artist will be on view at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection during the opening week of the Venice Biennale.

The Calder Prize, in the amount of 50,000 USD, honors contemporary artists who have completed exemplary work early in their careers. In addition to the cash prize, the recipient benefits from a residency at the Atelier Calder and the placement of a signature work in a major public collection.

True to the spirit of Alexander Calder, Harrison blurs the lines between abstraction and figuration, as well as sculpture and other media, by negotiating both imagined and existing space. The Prize honors the artist’s hybrid and reference-laden use of photography, found objects, and sculptural elements to elicit highly intellectualized cognitive as well as real-time visceral responses from her viewers. Harrison’s work challenges us to reconsider the definition of sculpture, while simultaneously recontextualizing it within the history of art.

Born in New York City in 1966, Harrison currently lives and works in Brooklyn. Her work has been exhibited worldwide since the early 1990s, including the artist’s recent solo exhibition Consider the Lobster, curated by Tom Eccles, Center for Curatorial Studies, Hessel Museum, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (2009), which traveled as HAYCATION, curated by Daniel Birnbaum and Melanie Ohnemus, Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2010) and Conquest of the Useless, curated by Iwona Blazwick, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2010). Harrison has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions, such as Notations/Everyday Disturbances at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2011); Modern British Sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2011); Contemporary Art from the Collection and The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); the Venice Biennale (2003, 2009) and the Whitney Biennial, New York (2002, 2008).

Harrison is the fourth artist to receive the Calder Prize. The impact of this recognition is evident in the success of past recipients. The inaugural 2005 Prize laureate, Tara Donovan, was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2008. In 2007, Bernard Kouchner, French Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, awarded the prize to Zilvinas Kempinas, who went on to represent Lithuania in the 2009 Venice Biennale. Tomas Saraceno, who received the 2009 award from French Minister of Culture Christine Albanel, continues to exhibit successfully around the world, including an upcoming solo exhibition of his Atelier Calder project Cloud Cities at Maison Hermès in Toyko in 2012.

The Calder Prize grew out of the success of the Atelier Calder residency program, which operates of Calder’s home and studio in Saché, France. The Atelier Calder was created over twenty years ago by Calder's wife Louisa and daughters Sandra Calder Davidson and Mary Calder Rower, with the invaluable assistance of Stanley Cohen, Calder's lawyer, long-time friend and neighbor in Saché. Currently under the Presidency of Alfred Pacquement, the Atelier Calder was established in conjunction with the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP) and receives additional financial support from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication (DRAC Centre), the Région Centre and the Calder Foundation. The Atelier Calder works closely with the Calder Foundation and the Scone Foundation to make this award possible.

The Calder Foundation, founded in 1987 by Alexander S.C. Rower, aims to preserve the integrity of Alexander Calder’s life and work. The Foundation’s projects include collaborating on exhibitions and publications on the artist, organizing and maintaining the Calder archive, examining works attributed to Calder and preparing the catalogue raisonné, which currently documents over 22,000 works by the artist.

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