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Vija Celmins and Apichatpong Weerasethakul Win Carnegie Prize and Fine Prize
Vija Celmins, American, b. 1938, Night Sky #16, 2000-2001, oil on linen mounted on wood panel, 31 x 38 in. (78.7 x 54.6 cm), The Art Supporting Foundation to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

PITTSBURGH, PA.- The Latvian-born New York-based artist Vija Celmins and Apichatpong Weerasethakul from Bangkok, Thailand, were awarded prizes at the opening ceremonies of Life on Mars, the 2008 Carnegie International.

Celmins received the Carnegie Prize for work including her Night Sky series of paintings, a selection of which are on view in the exhibition. The Carnegie Prize includes a $10,000 award and the Medal of Honor, designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, made by Tiffany & Co., and first issued at the 1896 International.

"Vija Celmins is an exceptional artist whose singular work is one of the visual landmarks of our era. The Carnegie Prize awarded to her this evening is well-deserved," says Richard Armstrong, the Henry J. Heinz II director of Carnegie Museum of Art.

The opening of the 55th Carnegie International marked the inauguration of the Fine Prize, created to honor an emerging artist whose work is on view in the exhibition. The $10,000 award is part of a $5 million gift made by The Fine Foundation in support of the International.

"Apichatpong Weerasethakul's 4-channel video is a memorable event in the Carnegie International, offering a lively view of contemporary Thai culture. The narrative audio and visual is especially engaging," added Armstrong.

The Carnegie International has been presented by Carnegie Museum of Art since 1896 and is North America's preeminent survey of contemporary art from around the world. Douglas Fogle is the curator of Life on Mars, the 2008 Carnegie International. Members of the Jury of Award included 2008 Carnegie International advisory committee members Daniel Birnbaum, director, Städelschule Art Academy and Portikus Gallery, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Richard Flood, chief curator, New Museum, New York, NY; Eungie Joo, director and curator of education and public programs, New Museum, New York, NY; and Chus Martinez, director, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Carnegie Museum of Art Board chairperson William E. Hunt, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Board Trustee Lea H. Simonds, and Richard Armstrong.

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