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BACA Award 2012 winner Mary Heilmann exhibits at Bonnefantenmuseum
© Mary Heilmann; private collection. Foto courstesy Hauser & Wirth

MAASTRICHT.- The Bonnefantenmuseum presented the BACA Award (Biennial Award for Contemporary Art) for the seventh time. The BACA Award 2012 was awarded by the Governor Theo Bovens to the American artist Mary Heilmann. The award ceremony took place in the Gouvernement of the Province of Limburg, in the presence of Mayor Onno Hoes, and previously mentioned Governor. The award comprises a sum of 50,000 Euros, an exhibition in the Bonnefantenmuseum and a catalogue published.

The 2012 recommending committee comprised Jenni Lomax, director of the Camden Arts Centre in London and Roland Wäspe, director of the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen in Switzerland. Paula van den Bosch, curator of contemporary art with the Bonnefantenmuseum, was the secretary of the committee. This committee was unanimous in its choice of the artist Mary Heilmann, for her exceptional oeuvre and her great influence on younger generations of artists.

The Bonnefantenmuseum presents a large-scale retrospective of the Laureate Mary Heilmann entitled Good Vibrations, which will run until 27 January 2013. It is her first large-scale retrospective in Europe. The exhibition will travel to the Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design in Nuremberg in March 2013.

Good Vibrations is also the title of the catalogue. A beautifully crafted, and very complete catalogue of 235 pages, published by the Bonnefantenmuseum and the Staatliches Museum für Kunst und Design in Nuremberg.

BACA Projects are two exhibitions in honour of the BACA Laureate 2012 Mary Heilmann: Theatre of Thought shows the work of six artists from the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. Heavy Lights is an impressive site-specific installation in the Bonnefantenmuseum, by the American artist Maya Hayuk.

With the granting of the BACA Award to Mary Heilmann, the Bonnefantenmuseum honors an artist with an exceptional oeuvre. The Bonnefantenmuseum hopes to broaden Mary Heilmann's oeuvre in Europe through the award and exhibition.

Mary Heilmann, born in San Francisco in 1940, spent her childhood on the beaches of Los Angeles, returning to her hometown at the age of thirteen. She studied literature at the University of California and saw the emergence of the Beat Generation. She studied poetry and ceramics at San Francisco State College and made sculptures of clay, wood, tar and steel, while dreaming of Fluxus happenings and Warhol's Factory in New York. When she moved to the Big Apple in 1968, she immersed herself in the bohemian lifestyle of the avant-garde. She started by creating sculpture, feeling an affinity with Bruce Nauman, Keith Sonnier and Eva Hesse, but switched in 1970 to painting – a medium that had been utterly dismissed at the time. As a painter in New York and a teacher in California, she worked on the sidelines of the art world for a long time, until she regained popularity in the mid-eighties through the gallery of Pat Hearn and through younger artists' recognition of Mary Heilmann as an important predecessor.

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