National Academy of Design elects eight artists and architects as National Academicians in 2021

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National Academy of Design elects eight artists and architects as National Academicians in 2021
Rashid Johnson. Photo: Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

NEW YORK, NY.- The National Academy of Design announced that it will induct eight new National Academicians at a ceremony on October 27, 2021. Recognized for their contributions to contemporary American art and architecture, this year’s group of newly elected National Academicians include architect Andrew Freear and artists Joanne Greenbaum, Peter Halley, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, Joanna Pousette-Dart, and Gary Simmons.

The annual nomination and election of National Academicians dates back to the National Academy’s founding as America’s first artist-led arts organization in 1825. New Academicians are nominated and elected by the current members of the National Academy and join a community of no more than 450 artists and architects across the country who represent the breadth of cultural practice in the United States.

“Joining a group of Academicians who are at the center of the National Academy’s mission and work, the 2021 class of National Academicians is reflective of the cultural transformations underway in the United States, showing us how art and architecture continue to evolve, in both form and impact on the world around us,” notes Gregory Wessner, Executive Director.

Upon election, Academicians are invited to donate a representative work – called a Diploma Work – to the National Academy’s collection. Through the contributions of more than 2,300 National Academicians over 195 years, the collection has become one of the most significant collections of American art and architecture in the world.

The 2021 National Academician Induction Ceremony will take place on October 27, 2021. A special exhibition featuring recent work of the 2021 National Academicians is slated for early 2022.

Andrew Freear

Andrew Freear (b. 1966, Yorkshire, UK) is the director of Rural Studio at Auburn University. For over two decades Freear has lived in rural Newbern, Alabama, a town with a population of 187, where he runs a program that questions the conventional education and role of architects. His students have designed and built more than 200 community buildings, homes, and parks in their under-resourced community. He is a teacher, builder, advocate, and liaison between local authorities, community partners, and students. Freear’s work has been published extensively, and he regularly lectures around the world. He has designed and built exhibits at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, the Whitney Biennial, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as the Milan Triennale and the Venice Biennale. His honors include the Ralph Erskine Award, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, and the Architecture Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Freear was a 2018 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University and most recently received the President’s Medal from the Architectural League of New York, the League’s highest honor.

Joanne Greenbaum

Joanne Greenbaum (b. 1953, New York, NY) earned a BA from Bard College, Annandale-on Hudson, New York. Over the past twenty years, Joanne Greenbaum has exhibited widely at international venues including at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf, Germany; and MoMA PS1, New York, NY; among many others. In 2008, a career spanning survey of her work, with corresponding catalogue, was mounted by Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich, Switzerland and travelled to the Museum Abteiberg in Monchengladbach, Germany. In 2018, The Tufts University Art Galleries at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA mounted Joanne Greenbaum: Things We Said Today, a comprehensive solo exhibition that travelled to the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA. Greenbaum is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including The Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY; The Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant; Artist in Residence at The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant; and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Grant. Her work is included in the collections of the Brandeis Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA; CCA Andratx, Majorca, Spain; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Haus Konstruktiv Museum, Zurich, Switzerland; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach, Germany; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; and the Ross Art Collection at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Greenbaum lives and works in New York.

Peter Halley

Peter Halley (b.1953, New York, NY) is an American artist. His paintings redeploy the language of geometric abstraction to explore the organization of social space in the digital era. Halley is known for his essays on art and culture, written in the 1980s and 90s, exploring French critical theory and the influence of burgeoning digital technology on contemporary art practice. His writings have been published in Arts Magazine among others. He was awarded the Frank Jewett Mather Award for art criticism from the College Art Association in 2001. From 1996 to 2005, Halley published INDEX magazine, which featured in-depth interviews with cultural figures. Halley served as professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Painting at the Yale University School of Art from 2002 to 2011. Since 1995, Halley has produced multi-media, site-specific installations, in which he pioneered the use of wall-sized digital prints in conjunction with other elements. Major installations include Dallas Museum of Art (1995), Museum Folkwang, Essen (1999), The Gallatin School, New York (2008), Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2016), Lever House Art Collection, New York (2018), and Museo Nivola, Orani, Sardinia (2021). A catalogue raisonné, PETER HALLEY: Paintings of the 1980s, was published in 2018 by JRP Ringier. One-person museum exhibitions include: CAPC Musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, France (1991); Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997-98); Museum Folkwang Essen, Germany (1998); Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Saint-Étienne, France (2014), Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California (2015), and Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (Mudam), Luxembourg (2023).

Trenton Doyle Hancock

Trenton Doyle Hancock (b. 1974, Oklahoma City, OK) is a Houston-based visual artist. In November 2020, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston unveiled Color Flash for Chat and Chew, Paris Texas in Seventy-Two, Hancock’s monumental tapestry commission, which will remain on permanent display in the new Kinder Building. In 2019, a major exhibition of his work, Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass, opened at MASS MoCA. In 2014, his retrospective, Skin & Bones: 20 Years of Drawing, at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston traveled to Akron Art Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, and Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Hancock was featured in the 2000 and 2002 Whitney Biennial exhibitions, at the time becoming one of the youngest artists in its history to participate. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions including Locust Projects, Miami, FL; Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia, PA; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO; Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL; Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro, NC; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL; Institute for Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, UK; and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Hancock’s work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Studio Museum, NY; Brooklyn Museum, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Menil Collection, Houston, TX; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX; and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Rashid Johnson

Rashid Johnson (b. 1977, Chicago, IL) received his BA in photography from Columbia College in Chicago and in 2005, Johnson studied for his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2001, Johnson’s work was included in Freestyle, an exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem curated by Thelma Golden and since then, his practice has become central to the post-black movement. Johnson’s mixed-media practice incorporates a wide-range of everyday materials and objects, including wax, wood, steel, brass, shea butter, ceramic tile, books, records, VHS tapes, live plants, and CB radios. With shamanistic inspiration from both African-American and art history, many of Johnson’s more recent works employ these materials in a way that suggests an indefinite form of mysticism and their role as devotional objects. Recent solo exhibitions include: Rashid Johnson Waves, Hauser & Wirth, London, UK, 2020; the touring exhibition, Rashid Johnson: The Hikers, at the Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO, the Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico and Hauser & Wirth, New York, 2019; Provocations: Rashid Johnson, Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond, VA, 2018; Rashid Johnson: No More Water at Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore, Ireland, 2018; Rashid Johnson: Hail We Now Sing Joy at The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO which traveled to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI, 2017; New American Art, Studio des Acacias, Paris, France, 2015; Rashid Johnson: Anxious Men, Drawing Center, New York, 2015; Smile, Hauser & Wirth London, UK, 2015; Three Rooms, Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland, 2014; Magic Numbers, George Economou Collection, Athens, Greece, 2014; New Growth, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver CO, 2014; The Gathering, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Switzerland, 2013; New Growth, Ballroom Marfa TX, 2013; Shelter, South London Gallery, London, UK, 2012; Rumble, Hauser & Wirth, New York, 2012; and the major touring exhibition Message to Our Folks, which opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, 2012, and travelled to Miami Art Museum, Miami FL, 2012; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, 2012; and most recently Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, 2013.

Julie Mehretu

Julie Mehretu (b. 1970, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) lives and works in New York City. She received a B.A. from Kalamazoo College, Michigan, studied at the University Cheik AntaDiop, Dakar Senegal, and received a Master’s of Fine Art with honors from Rhode Island School of Design in 1997. In exploring palimpsests of history, from geological time to a modern-day phenomenology of the social, Mehretu's works engage us in a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psychogeography of space. Mehretu’s work is informed by a multitude of sources including politics, literature, and music. Most recently her paintings have incorporated photographic images from broadcast media which depict conflict, injustice, and social unrest. These graphic images act as intellectual and compositional points of departure; ultimately occluded on the canvas, they remain as a phantom presence in the highly abstracted gestural completed works. Mehretu’s practice in painting, drawing and printmaking equally assert the role of art to provoke thought and reflection, and express the contemporary condition of the individual and society. She has received many prestigious awards including the MacArthur Fellowship in 2005, the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts Award in 2015, and membership to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2021. Her work has been exhibited extensively in museums and biennials including the Carnegie International (2004–05), Sydney Biennial (2006), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010), dOCUMENTA (13) (2012), Sharjah Biennial (2015), Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2017), Kettle's Yard, University of Cambridge, UK (2019), and the 58th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, (2019). In November 2019 a career survey of Mehretu’s work opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, followed by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; it will continue to travel to The High Museum, Atlanta, and The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Joanna Pousette-Dart

Joanna Pousette-Dart (b. 1947, New York, NY) is the daughter of abstract expressionist painter and founding member of the New York School of painting, Richard Pousette-Dart. Having studied painting at Bennington College in Vermont amongst the likes of Greenbergian Formalists Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski, Pousette-Dart’s experience as a painter rises from a rich tradition. Despite this traditional modernist background, her paintings remain anything but conventional. Pousette-Dart’s shaped paintings are unique in their melding of formal and poetic concerns, and take their inspiration from many sources: Islamic, Mozarabic, and Catalonian art, Chinese landscape paintings and calligraphy, Mayan and American Indian art, as well as the landscape itself, to name a few. In the early 1970s, Pousette-Dart began living and working intermittently in New Mexico. Her perceptions of the place deeply influenced her paintings, ultimately resulting in the abandonment of a rectangular format in the 1990s for works composed of curved panels. The dynamic configurations of these works evoke the constantly shifting light and form, the vastness of the spaces, and the sense of the earth’s curvature that she experienced there. Her paintings take many forms, each with its own dynamic sense of expansion and compression, and buoyancy and gravity. The painted contours of the interior shapes create an added complexity, sometimes echoing the contours of the canvas, and at other times challenging them. Her use of color suffuses all elements with a sense of light which feels redolent of the natural world.

Gary Simmons

Gary Simmons (b. 1964, New York, NY) uses icons and stereotypes of American popular culture to create works that address personal and collective experiences of race and class, and has exhibited extensively throughout the United States. His work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Miami Art Museum, FL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; and Museum of Modern Art, New York, and is currently featured in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. His monumental installation Fade to Black, featuring his signature erasure technique, is on view at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, CA. Simmons received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1988, and his MFA from CalArts in 1990. Shortly thereafter he was awarded both the National Endowment for the Arts Interarts Grant and the Penny McCall Foundation Grant. His work was included in the 2015 Venice Biennale and the most recent iteration of Desert X.

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