The National Academy
announced twenty-three newly elected visual artist and architect Academicians, including Robert Gober, Steven Holl, Bruce Nauman, and Cindy Sherman. Elected annually by the Academy membership, they are recognized for their contribution to American art and architecture. For the first time, nominees include artists working in video, photography and installation, reflecting recently revised member designations of visual artist and architect.
The roster of newly elected members reads like a whos-who of the past few decades, states Professor Robert Hobbs, Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair of Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Honorary Master of Ceremonies for the fall induction ceremony. By introducing the categories of photography as well as video and performance art, the National Academy signals a remarkable ability to re-think its 187-year-old premises, while continuing its mandate to recognize some of the most trenchant and thoughtful living American artists, he adds.
Newly elected Academicians are: visual artists Siah Armajani, Richard Artschwager, David Diao, Robert Gober, Robert Irwin, Shirley Jaffe, Joan Jonas, Bruce Nauman, Peter Saul, Joel Shapiro, Cindy Sherman, Richard Tuttle, Bill Viola, Ursula von Rydingsvard and architects Stan Allen, Wendy Evans Joseph, M. Paul Friedberg, Jeanne Gang, Michael Graves, Steven Holl, Gregg Pasquarelli, Annabelle Selldorf, and Bernard Tschumi.
To better reflect contemporary practice, Academicians voted in 2011 to revise the traditional categories of membership that included Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, and Architecture to Visual Arts and Architecture. The 2012 National Academicians reflect this critical change for the institution which was spearheaded by the Academys Membership Committee, co-chaired by Academicians Robert Berlind and Andrew Ginzel. This new group includes great artists and architects who should long ago have been Academicians, plus a whole new generation suggesting that the National Academy is bringing in new blood, and acknowledging the talent of today, says architect and Academician Tod Williams, one of the voting members.
Artist and Academician James Siena also commented on the new Academicians: The range of artists with respect to age, national origin and the media in which they work is, by itself impressive, but equally important is the recognition of artists such as Shirley Jaffe, who has spent most of her professional life in Paris, and David Diao (born in China), two artists of the first rank, both of whom are not as well known to the American public, as they should.
Elected annually by their peers, National Academicians are central to the Academys core mission of promoting art and architecture in America through education and exhibition. Each Academician contributes a representative work the diploma presentation upon election. These works from Academicians, spanning the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, form the Academys preeminent permanent collection of over 7,000 art works, as well as architectural drawings, photographs, and models.
The historic roster of Academicians numbers over 2,000 artists and architects dating back to the Academys founding in 1825. They include pioneers of early American art such as Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Frederic Church, as well as later seminal artists and architects including Louise Bourgeois, Thomas Eakins, Frank Gehry, Cass Gilbert, Robert Henri, Jasper Johns, Philip Johnson, Jacob Lawrence, Maya Lin, John Singer Sargent, Robert Rauschenberg, Andrew Wyeth, and many more.