THE CONTEMPORARY AUSTIN ANNOUNCES NICOLE EISENMAN AS THE WINNER OF THE 2020 SUZANNE DEAL BOOTH / FLAG ART FOUNDATION PRIZE
August 3, 2018
Eisenman will receive an unrestricted cash award, along with production expenses toward a scholarly publication and a solo exhibition premiering at The Contemporary Austin, Texas, with a version of the exhibition then traveling to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York.
Louis Grachos, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director & CEO of The Contemporary Austin, is pleased to announce New York-based artist Nicole Eisenman is the winner of the 2020 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize. In addition to receiving a cash award, she will present a solo exhibition premiering in February 2020 at the museum’s downtown venue, the Jones Center on Congress Avenue, with the option to extend the exhibition to the museum’s fourteen-acre sculpture park at Laguna Gloria. The exhibition is scheduled to open to the public in Austin on Thursday, February 13, 2020. A related exhibition will then travel to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York, where it will open in fall 2020. In addition to the exhibition and monetary award, the prize includes a scholarly publication and development of public programming around the exhibitions.
Eisenman’s practice blends the influence of Western art history and traditional figuration with elements of punk music, feminist activism, queer sexuality, humor, and emotional rawness into profoundly unique works. Eisenman emerged in the early 1990s in New York City as a painter, and the bulk of her creative output for nearly four decades has been in the form of two-dimensional work including paintings, drawings, and occasionally collages and photographs. More recently, the artist has begun making three-dimensional, figurative work: indoor and outdoor sculptures that both reference and depart from conventional forms and narratives, often combined in allegorical multiples or compositions akin to those in her paintings.
“Nicole Eisenman is an artist with whom I’ve wanted to work for years, so it’s incredibly exciting that the Advisory Committee selected her for this next Prize,” said Heather Pesanti, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs at The Contemporary Austin. “The generous resources around this prize provide opportunities not only for the museum to present a full exhibition of current and past work, but also for the artist to explore new directions. In particular, Nicole’s recent turn to three-dimensional work is a testament to this next chapter: her anti-monumental and enigmatic sculptures bring the painted bodies from her canvases into three-dimensional space. The relationship between these objects and her paintings was perhaps always present, and is a thread that the artist may be able to further explore through this exhibition and book.”
Eisenman was selected by an independent advisory committee made up of renowned curators and art historians from across the U.S., led by Heather Pesanti, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs at The Contemporary Austin. This year’s advisory committee included Ian Berry, Dayton Director of The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery and Professor of Liberal Arts at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; Lauren Haynes, Curator, Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Eungie Joo, Curator of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Helen Molesworth, critic; and Lilian Tone, Assistant Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; along with institutional advisor Stephanie Roach, Director of The FLAG Art Foundation.
“I am thrilled with the selection of Nicole Eisenman, and I look forward to the new work that the Prize will enable her to present to the art world and the general public. I commend our esteemed Advisory Committee for the rigorous and thoughtful process that led to the selection of such an interesting and relevant contemporary artist,” said Louis Grachos, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director & CEO of The Contemporary Austin. “I am grateful to Suzanne Deal Booth for her guidance through the initial conception of a prize led by The Contemporary Austin—the inaugural Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize (2016–2018)—and to Glenn Fuhrman and The FLAG Art Foundation for their vision for what the prize could be as it grows over the next several years, both as a financial award and as an opportunity to reveal new work to broader audiences in Texas and New York.”
ABOUT ARTIST NICOLE EISENMAN
Nicole Eisenman lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is a MacArthur Foundation fellow and was nominated into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2018. A solo exhibition of her work will open at the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden, Germany, in fall 2018. Recent solo exhibitions include Dark Light, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; Dark Light, Secession, Vienna, Austria; Al-ugh-ories, New Museum, New York; and Magnificent Delusion, Anton Kern Gallery, New York. Having established herself as a painter, Nicole has, for the last six years, expanded her practice into the third dimension. This will be Nicole’s first exhibition in Austin, and first solo museum show in Texas.
THE SUZANNE DEAL BOOTH / FLAG ART FOUNDATION PRIZE
The Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize, founded by The Contemporary Austin trustee Suzanne Deal Booth and administered by The Contemporary Austin, was announced in summer 2016 as an unrestricted award to be given every two years to an artist selected by a rotating, independent advisory committee made up of renowned curators and art historians of contemporary art. In fall 2016 the inaugural prize, which included a $100,000 award to an artist, along with a solo exhibition, an accompanying publication, and related public programming at The Contemporary Austin, was awarded to artist Rodney McMillian, whose exhibition Against a Civic Death opened at The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center on Congress Avenue in February 2018 and remains on view through August 26, 2018. In May 2018, The Contemporary Austin and The FLAG Art Foundation announced the expansion and renaming of the award to the Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize. The future prize includes a $200,000 award to an artist, along with all production expenses for a solo exhibition which premieres in Austin and travels to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York, an accompanying scholarly publication, and related public programming. The mission of the inaugural prize remains the same: each winning artist is selected based on his or her outstanding merit and strong record of international museum and gallery exhibitions and is an individual whom the Advisory Committee deems deserving of increased recognition, and for whom the award and exhibition would be transformative. Emerging from Suzanne Deal Booth’s initial vision for the art prize she launched with The Contemporary Austin in 2016, the Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize has doubled in monetary value thanks to the generous support of The FLAG Art Foundation, becoming one of the largest awards presented to an artist and one of the most ambitious art prizes globally.
THE CONTEMPORARY AUSTIN
As Austin’s only museum solely focused on contemporary artists and their work, The Contemporary Austin offers exhibitions, educational opportunities, and events that start conversations and fuel the city’s creative spirit. Known for artist-centric exhibitions and collaborations, The Contemporary invites exploration at both its urban and natural settings—downtown at the Jones Center (700 Congress Avenue) and lakeside at the Laguna Gloria campus (3809 West 35th Street), which includes the museum’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park with a growing program of commissions, temporary projects, and a permanent collection of outdoor sculptures by artists including Ai Weiwei, Terry Allen, Huma Bhabha, Carol Bove, Elmgreen & Dragset, Tom Friedman, Anya Gallaccio, Ryan Gander, Liam Gillick, Roger Hiorns, Nancy Holt, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, Lionel Maunz, Paul McCarthy, Wangechi Mutu, Tom Sachs, Monika Sosnowska, Jessica Stockholder, SUPERFLEX, Marianne Vitale, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. Since its inception in 2013, the museum has also focused on its Museum Without Walls program—an initiative that brings art to visitors in new ways at diverse venues around the city of Austin.
SUZANNE DEAL BOOTH
Suzanne Deal Booth has long been committed to the recognition, preservation, and conservation of visual arts and cultural heritage. Deal Booth co-founded the Friends of Heritage Preservation and has served as director since its inception in 1998 (www.fohpinfo.org). Deal Booth has a Master of Arts in art history and conservation from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts and Conservation Center in New York City. While at Rice and NYU, she had the opportunity to work directly under the tutelage of art patron and humanist Dominique de Menil. She worked with her close friend, the artist James Turrell, on Skyspace at MoMA PS1 (1986), and later assisted on his retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2012, under Deal Booth’s patronage, Turrell’s permanent installation at Rice University, Twilight Epiphany, was realized (skyspace.rice.edu). She has worked at several institutions, including les Monuments Historiques, France; the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth; the Menil Collection, Houston; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles. Her patronage and philanthropic efforts include serving on the boards of several arts organizations, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Menil Collection, the Centre Pompidou Foundation, Ballroom Marfa, and The Contemporary Austin. She established the Booth Family Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, Italy, in 2003. Deal Booth’s passion for conservation is further evident in the management of the family vineyard, Bella Oaks, in Rutherford, California. With a deep respect for the preservation of the land and the heritage of the Napa Valley, she aims to produce a unique wine indicative of place and nuanced by her contemporary aesthetic.
THE FLAG ART FOUNDATION
The FLAG Art Foundation, founded in 2008 by art patron Glenn Fuhrman, is a nonprofit exhibition space that encourages the appreciation of contemporary art among a diverse audience. FLAG presents four to six exhibitions a year that include artworks by international established and emerging artists, borrowed from a variety of sources. FLAG invites a broad range of creative individuals to curate exhibitions and works in-depth with artists to provide curatorial support and a platform to realize their own solo exhibitions. FLAG’s innovative approach to foster dialogue around contemporary art includes producing artist talks, artist-led workshops, and exhibition tours for school and museum groups. Based in the heart of Manhattan’s Chelsea art district, FLAG and its related programs are free and open to the public.
Nicole Chism Griffin, The Contemporary Austin
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