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High Museum of Art names Kirsten Pai Buick 2015 recipient of David C. Driskell Prize
Kirsten Buick. Photo: Aziza Murray.

ATLANTA, GA.- The High Museum of Art today named Dr. Kirsten Pai Buick the 2015 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize. Named for the renowned African-American artist and art scholar, the Driskell Prize was founded in 2005 as the first national award to recognize 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. Buick will be honored at the Driskell Prize Dinner in Atlanta on Saturday, May 2, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.

An associate professor of art history at the University of New Mexico, Buick specializes in American art, focusing her research on African-American art, the impact of race and gender on the history of art, representations of the American landscape, and the history of women as patrons and collectors of the arts. She has advanced scholarship of the work of numerous African-American artists through publications including the first book-length examination of the life and career of 19th-century sculptor Mary Edmonia Lewis.

“Kirsten Pai Buick is a seasoned scholar with an impassioned voice as an art historian,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “She is distinguished by her groundbreaking research on a broad range of historical and contemporary subjects as well as her commitment as a professor. These accomplishments make her a deserving recipient of this year’s Driskell Prize.”

The selection process for the 2015 recipient of the Driskell Prize began with a call for nominations from a national pool of artists, curators, teachers, collectors and art historians. Buick was chosen from these nominations by review committee members assembled by the High, which this year included Michael Rooks, the High’s Wieland Family curator of modern and contemporary art; Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, 2013 Driskell Prize recipient and director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art; and Lauren Haynes, assistant curator, Studio Museum in Harlem.

Buick is a tenured associate professor at the University of New Mexico, where she has taught for more than 14 years. Buick earned her bachelor’s degree in art history and Italian literature in 1985 from the University of Chicago. In the early 1990s, she moved to Italy for eight months to continue her work on Italian studies. Noting the prominence of U.S. visual culture in Europe during her time there, she re-focused her area of concentration to British colonial and American art upon her return to the United States. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in art history from the University of Michigan.

Buick has published extensively on African-American art. Her book “Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject” was published by Duke University Press, and her second book, “In Authenticity: Kara Walker and the Eidetics of Racism,” is currently in progress. Her published articles include studies on the work of artists including Daniel Coburn, Patrick Nagatani, Joseph Delaney, Aaron Douglas, Horace Pippin and Kehinde Wiley.

In addition to receiving the Driskell Prize, Buick has earned numerous academic, professional and scholarly awards and grants including the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Predoctoral Fellowship, the Charles Gaius Bolin Fellowship at Williams College, CAA Professional Development Fellowship in Art History, Rhoades Foundation Visiting Lectureship and the UNM University Libraries Faculty Acknowledgement Award.

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