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The Museum of Arts and Design announces Burke Prize 2018 finalists and exhibition
Installation view of 'Tanya Aguiñiga: Craft & Care'. Photo by Jenna Bascom. Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of Arts and Design announced the finalists for the inaugural Burke Prize for contemporary craft. The prize, named for craft collectors Marian and Russell Burke, drew an outstandingly diverse and highly competitive pool of five hundred artists working to expand the field of craft. Open to professional artists under the age of forty-five working in glass, fiber, clay, metal, or wood, the Burke Prize was determined by a jury of professionals in the fields of art, craft, and design.

The sixteen finalists were chosen for their accomplished work, strong use of materials, innovative processes, and conceptual rigor and relevance. The finalists are:

Tanya Aguiñiga, Los Angeles, CA • Leonardo Benzant, Richmond Hill, NY • Brittany Cox, Seattle, WA • Annie Evelyn, Louisville, KY • Josh Faught, San Francisco, CA • Holland Houdek, Rochester, NY • Merritt Johnson, Sitka, AK • Heidi Lau, New York, NY • Ted Lott, Cooperstown, NY • Cannupa Hanska Luger, Glorieta, NM • Roberto Lugo, Elkins Park, PA • Anna Mlasowsky, Seattle, WA • Jordan Nassar, Brooklyn, NY • William J. O'Brien, Chicago, IL • Ibrahim Said, Greensboro, NC • Olivia Valentine, Des Moines, IA

Speaking to the jury's selection, MAD Trustee Marian Burke, who endowed the prize together with her husband, Russell, said: "We are thrilled to support MAD in championing the next generation of artists. The finalists exemplify the possibilities inherent in craft, and point to an exciting future."

The first winner of the Burke Prize, who will receive an unrestricted award in the amount of $50,000,will be announced this fall during the MAD Ball, the Museum's annual gala.

"Conceived in the tradition of other major prizes like the Turner Prize and the Loewe Craft Prize, the Burke Prize seeks to encourage growth and experimentation among the next generation of artists," said Christopher Scoates, MAD's Nanette L. Laitman Director. "The inaugural finalists are pushing the boundaries of craft through the use of unexpected materials and methods. By showcasing their innovation and talent to international audiences, the prize illuminates the role craft plays in today's world while looking toward the future of the field."

"Craft—as a term and as a field—is very complex, and predicting what its future holds is an ambitious endeavor, yet it is clear that craft is alive and well," said MAD Chief Curator Shannon R. Stratton. "Those of us close to the craft world know its historical connection to activism and politics, but in the current political climate, a new generation is reclaiming it. The power of craft as a tool of protest, storytelling, and connection will only continue to grow."

The finalists will be featured in the exhibition The Burke Prize 2018: The Future of Craft Part 2, on view at MAD from October 3, 2018, until March 17, 2019. The exhibition will include thirty-six works, from jewelry to installation, furniture, and digital media. Representing ten states and thirteen cities across the United States, the sixteen finalists comprise an ethnically and racially diverse group with an equitable gender breakdown. The Burke Prize and exhibitioncontinue the Museum's founding mission of championing artists working in craft media and methodologies, bringing attention to the breadth and variety of work being made by young artists nationwide.

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