PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas November 2022

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Applause & Accolades NASHER PRIZE LAUREATE REVEAL A mong the highest honors in the global art world is an award minted in Texas: the Nasher Prize. The lucky Laureate receives not only a $100,000 cash honorarium and a high-profile exhibition at Nasher Sculpture Center but also admittance to a pantheon of living legends who have redefined contemporary sculpture. To date, Nasher Laureates encompass this roll call of greats: Doris Salcedo (2016), Pierre Huyghe (2017), Theaster Gates (2018), Isa Genzken (2019), Michael Rakowitz (2020/2021), and Nairy Baghramian (2022). So, it was with great anticipation that an art-smart crowd of 75 assembled at The Warehouse for the official Texas reveal of the 2023 Nasher Prize winner. A lagniappe of the evening was the opportunity to take in "Open Storage: 25 Years of Collecting," some 220 works by 149 artists culled from The Rachofsky Collection, which explored a quarter century of collecting. Nasher director Jeremy Strick presided, joined by Nasher Prize co-chair Grace Cook. (Cook's mother, co-chair Mary Cook, was there in spirit but was unable to travel to Dallas from Saint John due to an impending hurricane.) The grand announcement: American artist Senga Nengudi is the 2023 Nasher Prize Laureate. Nengudi will be the honored headliner at the Nasher Prize Gala held at the Nasher Sculpture Center Saturday, April 1, 2023, receiving an award designed by the museum's architect, Renzo Piano. The Colorado Springs-based artist, a retired professor from the University of Colorado, is the first Black woman sculptor to be so honored. She first rose to prominence during the '60s and '70s in L.A. after receiving a master's from California State College Los Angeles, where she studied both art and dance. A pivotal experience was a teaching internship at the avant-garde Pasadena Art Museum, today the Norton Simon Museum. After graduation, inspired by the post-war Gutai movement, Nengudi moved to Japan for a fellowship studying traditional Japanese theater forms Noh and Kabuki. In 1967, she returned to the West Coast to play a pioneering role in the scene around the Watts Tower and then, the following decade, was a member of Studio Z, including collaborations with artists David Hammons and Maren Hassinger. During this period, she changed her birth name (born in Chicago, 1943, as Sue Irons) to Senga Nengudi, translated from Zaire's Duala language as respectively "listen" or "hear" and "a woman who comes to power as a traditional healer." From the distance of nearly half a century, her largely ephemeral work and the performances she brought forth during this heady time — largely memorialized only by photos, films, and/or the artist's notes — include the seminal Ceremony for Freeway Fets, 1978, a dance performance/happening spun around her sculpture that took place under an L.A. freeway overpass, and Studio Performance with R.S.V.P., 1976. By Catherine D. Anspon. Portrait Ron Pollard. Additional photography Daniel Driensky. Lisa Dawson Cindy Schwartz Carlos Gonzalez-Jaime Lucilo Peña, Adriana Perales Agustín Arteaga Nasher Sculpture Center director Jeremy Strick, Nasher Prize co-chair Grace Cook Derek & Christen Wilson Michelle Wong Mark Beneke Lili Clark, Richard Oliver Nasher Prize Laureate Senga Nengudi Alden & Janelle Pinnell Terry & Jeff Kurz Senga Nengudi's Ceremony for Freeway Fets, 1978 (detail) Maren Hassinger activating Senga Nengudi's R.S.V.P., 1977 PHOTO QUAKU / RODERICK YOUNG. © SENGA NENGUDI, 2022. COURTESY SPRÜTH MAGERS AND THOMAS ERBEN GALLERY, NYC. PHOTO HARMON OUTLAW. © SENGA NENGUDI, 2022. COURTESY SPRÜTH MAGERS AND THOMAS ERBEN GALLERY, NYC. 46

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