Colombian artist Doris Salcedo has been named the recipient of the inaugural Nasher Prize, a $100,000 award from the Dallas sculpture center given to “a living artist in recognition of a significant body of work that has had an extraordinary impact on the understanding of the art form.”
A seven-member international jury made up of artists, curators, and museum directors selected Salcedo, a sculptor and installation artist whose politically charged work, in her words, aims to “connect worlds that normally are unconnected, like art and politics, like the experience of the lost lives of victims of political violence with the experience and memories of the viewers who approach or contemplate the work.” Salcedo, who is based in Bogotá, will receive the prize money and a commemorative award at an April 2, 2016 gala at the Nasher, according to a press release from the museum.
So what does this all mean for the Nasher?
Peter Simek had this to say when the annual prize was announced in April:
As it stands today, the Nasher is still best known for its very strong collection of modernist sculpture, as well as its renowned museum building, Renzo Piano’s architectural gem. Under Jeremy Strick the Nasher has shown willingness to push at the boundaries of its core mission, exhibiting a broad range of contemporary artists who relate to, extend, or, in some cases, challenge the expectations for sculpture suggested by its permanent collection. Its rooted-ness in the tradition, however, that can sometimes feel like a drag on its curatorial vision, making the Nasher feel overly safe. The museum likes to point to Nasher XChange as it s moment of real “outside the box” curatorial practice (as it did during the event today), however, Rick Lowe aside, the diversity of approaches, inconsistency of execution on the part of the artists, and limited dynamics of public interaction throughout the various sites made it something of a mixed success.
The Nasher Prize, after Nasher XChange, is the second major attempt at pushing the museum into a broader international conversation. If the new prize follows through on the dictates of the museum’s stated ambition, then it could change the way the museum is seen. Its authority, however, will also be a function of how well the museum’s curatorial practice can prove that it really is on the cutting edge of the medium it champions.
The relevant part of last night’s press release from the Nasher is copied below. Below that, some photos of Salcedo’s work, courtesy of the museum.
Dallas, Texas, September 30, 2015 – The Nasher Sculpture Center announced today that Colombian artist Doris Salcedo will be the first recipient of the Nasher Prize, an annual international award presented to a living artist who has had an extraordinary impact on the field of sculpture. Salcedo was selected by an international jury and will receive the $100,000 prize, along with a commemorative award designed by architect Renzo Piano, at a gala dinner at the Nasher Sculpture Center on April 2, 2016.
Salcedo is a Bogotá-based sculptor and installation artist who, for the past three decades, has addressed the human toll of civil and political conflict and acts of war through works that variously commemorate, memorialize, and investigate personal, social, and historical traumas. Turning her attention both towards the struggles within her own homeland, which has had the longest-lasting civil conflict in the Western Hemisphere, as well as to political turmoil internationally, she addresses the persistent issues of colonialism, racism, and social injustice, and the need to mourn the deaths that follow in their wake.
As one of a few institutions worldwide dedicated exclusively to the study and appreciation of modern and contemporary sculpture, the Nasher Sculpture Center established the Nasher Prize to extend that mission and commitment by recognizing artists who have had a significant impact on the understanding of the art form.
“We created the Nasher Prize in order to recognize an artist whose work has enriched our vision of what sculpture can be,” said Nasher Sculpture Center Director Jeremy Strick. “Over the course of the past 30 years, through her use of meaningful, everyday materials, often in unexpected and socially-charged public spaces in her native Colombia and elsewhere around the world, Doris Salcedo has created a body of work that is both aesthetically striking and politically resonant. With this subtle and deeply evocative work, she has bravely challenged us to consider more fully the deep connections between place, history, and objects that carry the weight of collective memory, suggesting avenues of thinking that tie together object-making and potent social action. Our mission at the Nasher is to support the creation of new sculpture and to expand our understanding of what sculpture is, and Doris Salcedo continues to powerfully point the art form in ever-more provocative and insightful directions.”
“The Prize is very meaningful to me because I believe my task as an artist is to make connections—to connect worlds that normally are unconnected, like art and politics, like the experience of the lost lives of victims of political violence with the experience and memories of the viewers who approach or contemplate the work—and I think the Prize will widen this audience,” said Doris Salcedo. “The prize helps to acknowledge that in the midst of violence, in the midst of political conflict, there is room for thought and room for producing art that is meaningful to all of us.”
Salcedo was selected by an international jury of museum directors, curators, artists, and art historians who have an expertise in the field of sculpture. The 2016 Nasher Prize jurors were: Phyllida Barlow, artist; Lynne Cooke, Senior Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art, National Gallery of Art; Okwui Enwezor, Director, Haus der Kunst; Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT); Steven Nash, founding Director of the Nasher Sculpture Center and Director Emeritus of the Palm Springs Art Museum; Alexander Potts, art historian; and Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate.
“It is a great responsibility to select the first winner of a new prize, as it sets the tone for what the prize can and is willing to achieve,” said Tate Director Sir Nicholas Serota. “In selecting a winner, we wanted to choose someone whose work was not only innovative, challenging, and significant, but also someone whose work continues to take risks, and address the changing contemporary conditions. From the outset, Doris Salcedo has created memorable work that deals with conflict. Most importantly, her work continues to evolve and change, both conceptually and aesthetically, as it addresses those social and political issues most relevant to us today.”
The inaugural Nasher Prize is generously co-chaired by Jennifer Eagle and Catherine Rose. They have helped garner support for the prize and its attendant programs, including a series of public programs called Nasher Prize Dialogues, which are intended to foster international awareness of sculpture and of the Nasher Prize, and to stimulate discussion and debate. These programs—including panel discussions, lectures, and symposia—will be held in cities around the world on a yearly basis, offering engagement with various audiences, and providing myriad perspectives and insight into the ever-expanding field of sculpture. The first program, a panel discussion called Why Sculpture Now?, will take place in London on October 11 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Organized in association with The Henry Moore Institute and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the panel will include Okwui Enwezor, Director Haus Der Kunst and Nasher Prize juror; artist and Nasher Prize juror, Phyllida Barlow; artists Michael Dean and Eva Rothschild; and Nasher Sculpture Center Chief Curator Jed Morse. The panel will be moderated by Lisa Le Feuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute. The second Nasher Prize Dialogues program will be a lecture by the inaugural Nasher Prize Laureate, Doris Salcedo, on April 1, 2016 at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas.
About Doris Salcedo
Born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1958, Doris Salcedo is a sculpture and installation artist who, for the past three decades, has addressed modern day conflict in both Colombia and abroad, through the lens of quietly poetic sculpture and installation work. Employing everyday objects and domestic materials, Salcedo creates works that serve as monuments to moments of political crisis or tragedy, suffusing the quotidian objects with layered meaning. Her early works, like La Casa Viuda (1992-1995), which delved into Colombia’s recent political history, combined household furniture with textiles to create haunting, minimalist installations. In the decades since, Salcedo has gone on to create larger installations—such as Noviembre 6 y 7 (2002), a work commemorating the seizing of the Supreme Court in Bogotá, installed in the city’s Palace of Justice—taking over galleries and unusual spaces to create politically and psychologically charged environments that provide an immersive experience for viewers.
Salcedo is the subject of an eponymous solo exhibition currently at the Guggenheim, New York, which originated at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and will travel to the Pérez Art Museum in Miami. In 2007, her work Shibboleth was featured in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Additional past solo exhibitions include: The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1998); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1999 and 2005); Tate Britain, London (1999); Camden Arts Center, London (2001); Inhotim, Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Belo Horizonte, (2008); MUAC, Mexico, Moderna Museet, Malmö and CAM Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2011); MAXXI Rome and Pinacoteca São Paulo (2012); and Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima City, Japan (2014). Salcedo has also been included in notable group exhibitions internationally including: XXIV São Paulo Biennial (1998); Documenta XI, Kassel (2002); 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003); ‘NeoHooDoo,’ PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York and The Menil Collection, Houston (2008); and ‘The New Décor,’ Hayward Gallery, London (2010).