Congratulations to Hamza Walker, curator at The Renaissance Society — it has just been announced that he’s won the Ordway Prize from Creative Link for the Arts and the New Museum! Walker, along with artist Artur Żmijewski, will receive an unrestricted award of $100,000. Here’s the text of the announcement in full:
“Creative Link for the Arts and the New Museum have announced Hamza Walker, the Director of Education and Associate Curator at Chicago’s Renaissance Society, and Polish artist Artur Żmijewski, as the recipients of the Ordway Prize. An international panel of Nominators and a Jury of leading arts world figures-led by Jennifer McSweeney, Director of Creative Link for the Arts, and Richard Flood, Chief Curator at the New Museum-selected the Ordway Prize recipients from a global pool of nominees. Walker and Żmijewski will each receive an unrestricted cash prize of $100,000.
“Working with artists is a reward in itself, and I feel privileged at being so generously honored for my passion. I wish I had a grand vision for the award, but as it stands, the bricks and mortar of my life are in severe need of tuckpointing,” said Hamza Walker.
While I was looking at the photographs of Anna Shteynshleyger at the opening of this Russian-born, Chicago-based artist’s new solo exhibition at at The Renaissance Society, a middle-aged woman wearing a fluffy, faux-fur coat sidled up next to me. “Do you know what that is?” she asked me, pointing to the image I was peering at intently. It was a blue-tinged photograph of some sort of twisted, fleshy material that looked like raw bread dough.
“I’m not exactly sure,” I replied. “I can’t tell if it’s soaking in a bowl of something or what.”
“It looks organic,” the woman mused, “like an organ from a body.”
“Well, it’s challah….It’s not baked yet. But I can’t make out what this part is,” I said, gesturing to the circular, fan-like opening out of which the doughy form appeared to be rising.
“Oh, it’s challah!?” she exclaimed. “I know what challah is — I make challah. But that looks more like a body part. How do you pronounce the artist’s name?” I told her I had no idea, and she nodded. “She should have changed it to Smith!” Read more
I’d never heard of the Ordway Prize until a few weeks ago, when two highly respected Chicago-based arts professionals (artist Tania Bruguera, who also lives in Havana, Cuba, and Hamza Walker, curator at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago) were included on this year’s list of finalists. The Ordway Prize is a relatively new award, established in 2005 as a joint effort by Creative Link for the Arts and the New Museum. The selection process for the Ordway Prize is outlined on the New Museum’s website as follows (excerpt):
The prize acknowledges the contributions of a Curator/Arts Writer and an Artist whose work has had significant impact on the field of contemporary art, but who has yet to receive broad public recognition. Finalists for the Ordway Prize are midcareer talents between the ages of forty and sixty-five, with a developed body of work extending over a minimum of fifteen years.
Now, it’s always great to see behind-the-scenes culture professionals get recognized for their outstanding work. This goes double for curators, who get paid relatively little and yet play such a critical role in bringing art to the public. So if a little cash gets thrown at said curators while recognizing their contributions to the field, that’s nice too. I’m not of the view that culture workers need to be poor to have integrity. That said, however, I think that $100,000 is an inordinate amount of money given the fact that a) the prize is unrestricted and b) this year’s nominees, as well as past Ordway Prize winners, are institutionally-affiliated curators as opposed to those working independently and earning income on a project-by-project basis. Read more
Two Chicagoans have been announced as candidates for the Ordway Prize. Tania Bruguera, who splits her time between Havana Cuba and Chicago, and The Renaissance Society’s Hamza Walker are up for the prize with a handful of other artists and curators. The prize “recognizes both a mid-career curator/arts writer and an artist with an unrestricted award of $100,000″
via The New Museum:
” Now in its third cycle, the Ordway Prize is the only unrestricted international award of this caliber that recognizes a Curator/Arts Writer and is also one of the most generous awards given to a contemporary Artist.
Candidates for the Ordway Prize are identified through an anonymous nomination process of submissions drawn from a global pool of curators, writers, artists, and museum directors, led by Jennifer McSweeney, Director of Creative Link for the Arts, and Richard Flood, Chief Curator at the New Museum. A jury composed of leading arts professionals will select the two Ordway Prize recipients. The Ordway Prize winners will be announced in early 2010.”
Check out Claudine’s coverage of Tina Bruguera’s “Cocaine Performance”
Check out Brian, Richard, Duncan, and I interview Hamza Walker in Episode 60.
For more info on the Ordway Prize check out The New Museum’s site.
For three consecutive days (March 26-28, 2009), three internationally prominent jurors—Jeffrey Grove (Wieland Family Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, High Museum of Art, Atlanta), Clara Kim (Gallery Director and Curator, REDCAT, Los Angeles) and Hamza Walker (Associate Curator and Director of Education, The Renaissance Society, Chicago)—conducted studio visits with 15 short-listed artists drawn from nearly 300 applicants throughout Greater Atlanta (23-county area) for the inaugural Artadia Awards in Atlanta. The awards range from $15,000 to $3,000.
The Artadia Awardees 2009 Atlanta at the $15,000 level are: Don Cooper and Jerry Siegel. The five recipients of the $3,000 awards are Tristan Al-Haddad, Ruth Dusseault, Fahamu Pecou, Larry Walker, and Angela West. In honor of Atlanta arts patron Judith Alexander, Don Cooper has been named the Judith Alexander Artadia Awardee.
Artadia Founder and President Christopher Vroom said of the inaugural program in Atlanta, “The vibrancy of any creative community relies upon a network of committed individuals, institutions, foundations and others, working together to ensure that cultural legacies are not only celebrated but extended. Artists, situated at the foundation of creative production, play a critical role not only in their unique ability to help us see the world in new ways but also in their capacity as educators, mentors and civic leaders. Artadia is thrilled to add Atlanta’s thriving community to our growing national network of support for artists. The city’s cultural institutions, schools, foundations, non-profit spaces, galleries and arts patrons have nurtured a terrific artistic community. We are proud to be a part of it and to extend the visibility of its institutions and artists across the country.”
Local juror Jeffrey Grove stated: “I am always supportive of programs that provide direct grants to individual artists to enable them to do what they must do. The Artadia Awards program in Atlanta provides local artists with national recognition for their achievements, access to internationally recognized curators from other cities, and an ongoing network of new connections and opportunities.”
Hamza Walker added, “For a town whose arts community prides itself on self-reliance, Atlanta is giving Chicago a run for its money. The panel process was a terrific opportunity to meet these very talented Atlanta artists. Having known Artadia well from Chicago since 2001, it is exciting to be part of adding this important city to the national network.”
Applications for the Artadia Awards were open to visual artists in all media and at any stage of their career working and living in Greater Atlanta, GA. The application was available online for three months from September 1 to December 1, 2008. The three first round jurors—Naomi Beckwith (Assistant Curator, Studio Museum Harlem, New York), Lisa Cremin (Director, Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund), and Jeffrey Grove (Wieland Family Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, High Museum of Art, Atlanta)—reviewed 292 applications and selected the finalists in New York February.
Artadia is grateful for the visionary support of the Atlanta program from the Common Good Funds of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Judith Alexander Foundation, and many generous individuals.