Guggenheim Hosts First Annual Arts Awards

Monday, October 26, 2009

Conceptual artist Rob Pruitt has organized The First Annual Art Awards at the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum. The ceremony will take place October 29.

The art awards ceremony will honor individuals, exhibitions and projects that have made a significant impact to contemporary art in the past year.

Pruitt, whose own art ranges from glittering panda bear paintings to flea market installations, had thought the arts community needed its own "Oscars" for a while. That pushed him to make the pitch to the Guggenheim that it should host the awards.

“Art is pretty glamorous,” Pruitt told The New Yorker. “I thought that an awards show would be a great community-strengthening experience.”

Once the Guggenheim got on board with Pruitt's idea, a team of artists and experts started whittling away a select group of 11 awards nominees from a pool of 400 artists.

Cecily Brown, Sofia Coppola, Knight Landesman, Nate Lowman and Mary-Kate Olsen will announce the award winners at a dinner awards ceremony the evening of October 29. Artist Joan Jonas and curator Kasper König will receive lifetime-achievement awards for their work in contemporary art at the ceremony.

Other awards will be presented in the categories "Artist of the Year," "New Artist of the Year," "Curator of the Year," "Group Show of the Year," "Exhbition Outside the United States," "Group Show of the Year," "The Rob Pruitt Award," "Solo Show of the Year" and "Writer of the Year."

Pruitt designed the statuettes that the winners of the Annual Art Awards will receive. The diminutive statues are empty champagne bottles with light bulbs where the corks should be, The New Yorker reported. The bottles sit in ice buckets filled with plastic ice.

“I was thinking about Jasper Johns’s light bulbs and how the light bulb is this icon of ideas. And then combined with champagne and how much artists love to drink—drinking their ideas and celebrating,” Pruitt said.

Proceeds from the Art Awards ceremony will benefit the the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, White Columns gallery and the educational program Studio in a School.

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