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Second Sotheby's prize awarded to help fund exhibition on the history of Black cinema
A child leaning on a cane watching Dana Levy, "The weight of things", 2015. Photo by: Sharon Glazberg.


LONDON.- Sotheby’s today announced the winner of the 2018 Sotheby’s Prize, which, in its second year, continues to celebrate curatorial excellence and champion the work of innovative institutions who strive to break new ground and challenge our understanding of art today. Presented to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (opening in Los Angeles in late 2019), the $250,000 award will support their exhibition, Regeneration: Black Cinema 1900-1970 which opens in the autumn of 2020. The first exhibition of its kind, Regeneration will reveal the important and under-recognised history of African American filmmakers in the development of American cinema. It will explore African American representation in motion pictures from its advent to just beyond the Civil Rights era.

Speaking about the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures’ exhibition, Co-creator of the Sotheby’s Prize & Chair of the Sotheby’s Prize Jury, and also Chairman and Executive Vice President of Sotheby’s Allan Schwartzman said: “In the US over the last few years there has been an overdue re-examination of artists of African descent, but no museum has really looked closely at this in the realms of popular culture. This exhibition looks at the popular culture of cinema through the eyes of the filmmakers and artists who grew up in that culture.”

Launched in May 2017, the Sotheby’s Prize offers an annual sum of up to $250,000 to recognize curatorial excellence and help facilitate exhibitions that explore overlooked or under-represented areas of art history. In addition to the main prize, a sum of $10,000 is also awarded to a number of institutions whose exhibitions and initiatives are judged by the jury panel to be inspiring and transformative. Between them, the commended list embraces both established and underrepresented artists, as well as the relatively unexplored aspects of sexuality and race in art, while at the same time supporting inspired new plans for community-based mobile exhibitions.

Robin Woodhead, Sotheby’s Prize co-creator and Chairman of Sotheby’s International, said: “This year we decided to acknowledge five exhibitions because there was such depth of very strong applications. We've come to realize, even in the first year of the Prize, that the commendations have made a big difference for the museums in their ability to raise funds from other sources and to gain support within their own communities.”

This year marked the first occasion on which a UK exhibition received a commendation. The Wallace Collection was awarded $10,000 towards its exhibition revealing the untold story of Henry Moore's lifelong fascination with armour at the Wallace Collection, inspiring the creation of his celebrated Helmet Head series. Speaking about The Wallace Collection in particular, Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England and a juror for the Sotheby’s Prize, commented: “This exhibition shows us the mind of the artist as he encountered these historic objects and how they sparked his imagination and became the root of new art. The attention that this show will bring to the holdings of armour at the Wallace Collection, the fact that collections like this are very much alive and very much resources for artists, was something that we ourselves appreciated.”

The full list of commended institutions below:

• Henry Moore: The Helmet Heads at the Wallace Collection in London, England (March-July 2019)

• ZUMU - A Museum on the Move: Next stop: Hura, Israel (Summer 2019

• For Today I Am a Boy: Contemporary Queer Abstraction at Des Moines Art Centre in Des Moines, Iowa, USA (June-September 2019)

• Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott at Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinatti, Ohio, USA (September 2019-February 2020)

• Jackson Hlungwani: Alt and Omega at the Norval Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa (February-July 2020)

In its second year, the Sotheby’s Prize garnered interest from around the globe with a total of 93 applications from institutions in 19 different countries across all major continents. Covering a remarkably diverse range, applications were received for exhibitions exploring different aspects and dialogues around geography, race, gender, and sexuality, among other themes.





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