Alex J. Taylor has been awarded the Smithsonian American Art Museum
s 2011 Terra Foundation for American Art
International Essay Prize. Taylors winning essay Unstable Motives: Propaganda, Politics and the Late Work of Alexander Calder focuses on Calders late-career mobiles and stabiles, made from the 1950s until his death in 1976, and explores the contradictory ideologies that Calders abstraction could serve. The essay will be published in the Spring 2012 issue of the museums journal American Art (vol. 26, no. 1).
Taylor is the second winner of the $500 prize, which recognizes excellent research and writing by a scholar in the field of American art history based outside the United States. The annual award, established in 2009, supports essays that advance the understanding of historical American art and demonstrate new findings and original perspectives.
I am grateful to the Terra Foundation for its continued support of excellence and scholarship and for its vision that encourages looking at American art from an international perspective, said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Each year, a four-member international review panel evaluates essays submitted for the prize following a call for papers. The 2011 reviewers are Michael Hatt, professor of art history at the University of Warwick in Britain; Ursula Frohne, professor of art history at the Universität zu Köln in Cologne, Germany; Eric de Chassey, director of the Académie de France à Rome, in Rome; and Rebecca Zurier, associate professor of the history of art and faculty associate in the program in American culture at the University of Michigan. The final decision is made from among the panels top-ranked candidates by American Arts executive editor in consultation with its editorial board.
Taylor, who is an Australian citizen, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. Taylor has published extensively on Australian art, including writing Perils of the Studio: Inside the Artistic Affairs of Bohemian Melbourne (Australian Scholarly Publishing in association with the State Library of Victoria, 2007) and contributing a chapter titledWolseleys Lines to Reframing Darwin: Evolution and Art in Australia (Miegunyah Press-Melbourne University Publishing2009).