The Contemporary Austin Announces Rodney McMillian as the Winner of the Inaugural Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize
October 29, 2016
OCTOBER 29, 2016, AUSTIN, TEXAS – The Contemporary Austin is pleased to announce that artist Rodney McMillian is the winner of the first Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize. In addition to receiving the award in the amount of $100,000, he will receive a solo exhibition at the museum’s downtown venue, the Jones Center, with the option to extend the exhibition to the museum’s 14-acre outdoor site, the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria. A scholarly publication and public programming will also be developed around the exhibition. The exhibition is scheduled to open to the public on February 3, 2018.
Blending the personal with the political, Rodney McMillian has worked in a range of mediums and materials, including sculpture, painting, video, performance, and immersive environments, to explore themes of class, gender, race, social history, and culture. His work frequently incorporates found and scavenged materials—what the artist has labeled “post-consumer objects”—as well as techniques of interactivity and performativity, resulting in unique forms with a deep relevance to their context and time. “An award such as this can enable an artist to reimagine what is possible for one’s practice or one’s self,” says winner Rodney McMillian. “In some cases, it could actually be a lifeline. I am very honored and thrilled to be a recipient. Thank you to Ms. Booth, The Contemporary Austin, and the advisory committee.”
McMillian was selected by an independent advisory committee made up of renowned curators and art historians from across the U.S. Led by Heather Pesanti, Senior Curator of The Contemporary Austin, this year’s inaugural advisory committee included Stephanie Barron, Senior Curator and Head of Modern Art Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Naomi Beckwith, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Peter Eleey, Chief Curator, MoMA PS1; Hamza Walker, Executive Director, LAXART; and Heidi Zuckerman, Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director, Aspen Art Museum.
“It’s been an incredible learning experience to be part of laying the groundwork and process for this inaugural Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize. We all feel quite grateful that Suzanne has selected our museum as the hosting venue. The opportunity that the prize and its correlated resources present to the artist have the potential to be immeasurable and profound: the recognition, the cash prize, the ability to make new work, and the publication as evidentiary document (or as an artist’s book),” states Senior Curator Heather Pesanti. “Rodney McMillian is at the perfect moment in his career trajectory for this prize, an artist who has been well exhibited and respected in the field, but for whom the resources provided through this opportunity will ideally be a catalyst for new paths in his work.”
“In establishing this prize for The Contemporary Austin, my hope was to reinforce the museum’s mission of transformation: first and foremost the Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize intends to be transformative for the selected artist, but beyond that, for the institution and the community,” says founder of the prize Suzanne Deal Booth. “The selection of Los Angeles–based artist Rodney McMillian reflects the guidance and decision of an exemplary advisory committee of curators from around the country who allowed us to broaden our reach. As the patron, I look forward to witnessing the project as it unfolds, and to seeing the dynamic possibilities that Rodney brings to the museum and the city of Austin.”
“The Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize brings both established and emerging talent—from the U.S. and abroad—to audiences here in Central Texas and visitors from around the world,” says Louis Grachos, Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director and CEO of The Contemporary Austin. “When I joined The Contemporary in 2013, my goal was to bring in artists and exhibitions that added to the ongoing dialogue in the contemporary art world and that would help us bring new ideas to the Austin area. We are so privileged to administer this prize—built through the forward-thinking generosity of Suzanne Deal Booth—which dovetails perfectly with The Contemporary’s mission to reflect the spectrum of contemporary art through thoughtful exhibitions, commissions, and educational programs. On behalf of The Contemporary, I am very pleased to be working with Suzanne, Heather Pesanti, and our esteemed advisory committee to help realize and ultimately present McMillian’s work in 2018.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Rodney McMillian (American, born 1969 in Columbia, South Carolina, lives and works in Los Angeles, California) received his MFA in 2002 from the California Institute of the Arts, a post-baccalaureate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000, and his BA (Foreign Affairs) from the University of Virginia in 1991. In 2016, McMillian was the subject of three solo museum exhibitions at the following venues: the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Aspen Art Museum in 2015, an exhibition that traveled in 2016 to MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York. McMillian has also had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2009); The Kitchen, New York City (2008); and the NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany (2007), among others. His work has been featured prominently in biennials including the 12th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2015) and the 2008 Whitney Biennial, New York; as well as in many group exhibitions including at the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway (2016 and 2005); the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and the Contemporary Art Museum Houston (both 2014); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2012 and 2006); Project Row Houses, Houston (2010); and The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and Artpace, San Antonio (both 2008). He has received awards from The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation (2011); United States Artists and Art Matters (both 2008); and the William H. Johnson Foundation for the Arts (2007). McMillian has been represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Culver City, California, since 2002 and by Maccarone, New York, since 2012.
THE SUZANNE DEAL BOOTH ART PRIZE
The Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize was announced in summer 2016 as an unrestricted award to be given every two years to an artist selected by an independent advisory committee made up of renowned curators and art historians of contemporary art. The prize includes a $100,000 award to an artist, along with a solo exhibition, an accompanying publication, and related public programming at The Contemporary Austin. Each winning artist will be selected based on his or her outstanding merit and strong record of international museum and gallery exhibitions, and will be an individual whom the Advisory Committee deems deserving of increased recognition, and for whom the award and exhibition would be transformative. The prize is otherwise unrestricted.
ABOUT SUZANNE DEAL BOOTH
Suzanne Deal Booth has long been committed to the recognition, preservation, and conservation of visual arts and cultural heritage. Booth founded the Friends of Heritage Preservation and has served as director since its inception in 1998 (fohpinfo.org).
Deal Booth earned 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 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.
Included among Deal Booth’s patronage and philanthropic efforts are 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. Additionally, she established the Booth Scholar in Residence at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies and the Booth Family Rome Prize Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, both in Rome, Italy.
THE CONTEMPORARY AUSTIN
The Contemporary Austin reflects the spectrum of contemporary art through exhibitions, commissions, education, and the collection. The museum has two distinct yet complementary locations, the Jones Center in downtown Austin at 700 Congress Avenue, and Laguna Gloria, a 14-acre site on Lake Austin at 3809 West 35th Street, which is home to the Driscoll Villa, the Art School, the Gatehouse Gallery, and the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria.
More information about the museum and its exhibitions and programs can be found at thecontemporaryaustin.org. More information about the Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize can be found at thecontemporaryaustin.org/sdbartprize.
Further information about Suzanne Deal Booth can be found at sdbooth.com.
High-resolution mages available upon request.
Photograph of Rodney McMillian courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.
(Left) Rodney McMillian, pod: frequencies to a manifestationing (detail), 2016. Vases, wood shelves, spray paint, fabric, chicken wire, PA system, and sound installation. Dimensions variable. Installation view, Chisholm’s reverb, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, 2016. Artwork © Rodney McMillian. Image courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photograph by Robert Wedemeyer.
(Top Right) Installation view, Rodney McMillian: Landscape Painting, Aspen Art Museum, 2015. Artwork © Rodney McMillian. Image courtesy the artist, Aspen Art Museum, and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photograph by Tony Prikryl.
(Bottom Right) Installation view, Rodney McMillian: The Black Show, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, 2016. Artwork © Rodney McMillian. Image courtesy the artist; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania; Maccarone, New York and Los Angeles; and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photograph by Constance Mensh.
Nicole Chism Griffin
The Contemporary Austin
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