ATLANTA, GA.- The High Museum of Art
named artist Lyle Ashton Harris the 2014 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the prize, which the High established in 2005 as the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African American art and art history.
For more than two decades, Harris has cultivated a diverse artistic practice ranging from photographic media and collage to installation and performance. His work explores intersections between the personal and the political, examining the impact of ethnicity, gender and desire on the contemporary social and cultural dynamic.
Known for his self-portraits and use of pop culture icons (such as Billie Holiday and Michael Jackson), Harris teases the viewers perceptions and expectations, recalibrating the familiar with the extraordinary. Harris works were previously on view in the Atlanta metro area in his spring 2013 exhibition Accra My Love at Kennesaw State Universitys Zuckerman Museum of Art.
As the 10th Driskell Prize recipient, Harris will be honored at the Driskell Prize Dinner in Atlanta on May 2, 2014 at 6:30 p.m.
Lyle Ashton Harris award-winning artwork has been widely celebrated with exhibitions, commissions and acquisitions, said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. director of the High. His work tackles issues of global and personal relevance, and it is only fitting that we recognize his artistic excellence on the 10th anniversary of the David C. Driskell Prize.
The Driskell Prize, named for the renowned African-American artist and art scholar, recognizes an early or mid-career scholar or artist whose work makes an original and important contribution to the field of African-American art or art history. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the award, the High is currently presenting the exhibition A Decade of David C. Driskell, which showcases works by Driskell as well as works by Driskell Prize honorees and others acquired by the Museum with the David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisitions Fund and the David C. Driskell African American Art Endowment.
The selection process for the 2014 recipient of the Driskell Prize began with a call for nominations from a national pool of artists, curators, teachers, collectors and art historians. Harris was chosen from these nominations by review committee members assembled by the High Museum of Art, which this year included Michael Rooks, the Highs Wieland Family curator of modern and contemporary art; Naomi Beckwith, Marilyn and Larry Fields curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, 2013 Driskell Prize recipient and director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.
Based in New York City, Harris is an associate professor at New York University and has exhibited his work internationally, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the 52nd Venice Biennale.
Harris work has been acquired by major international museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, among many others. His commissioned work has been featured in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker.
Born in New York City, Harris spent his formative years in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. He received his bachelor of arts with honors from Wesleyan University in 1988 and a masters in fine arts from the California Institute of the Arts in 1990. He recently joined the board of trustees of the American Academy in Rome.
Harris is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including the 2009 Goddard Award, the 2009 American Photography Award, the 2001 Rome Prize Fellowship, and the 1991 National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowship for the Visual Arts, among others.