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Artists getting Genius Grants

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The 2006 class of MacArthur fellows has been announced. Those related to arts include:

  • David Carroll, a nauturalist author and illustrator
  • Regina Carter, jazz violinist
  • David Macauley, author and illustrator of architecture and engineering
  • Sarah Ruhl, playwright
  • George Sanders, Short story writer
  • Anna Schuleit, commemorative artist illuminating life in mental institutions
  • Shazia Sikander, painter merging traditional South Asian art of miniature painting with contemporary forms
  • John Zorn musician and composer

Each fellow gets $500K over five years.

They passed me by again.

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Oops, I left out:

Josiah McElheny, glass sculptor

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My wife heard this on the radio earlier today . . . I don't like the title "Genius Grants." It seems to perpetuate an idea of the artist which is unhealthy to both the artist and the community they (should) serve.

But if they gave me the money, I'd take it too :P

Edited by Chashab

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Edger Meyer, a Double Bass player / composer here in Nashville, won this award in 2002. I heard he bought a $100,000 Bosendorfer grand piano with part of the award money.

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My wife heard this on the radio earlier today . . . I don't like the title "Genius Grants." It seems to perpetuate an idea of the artist which is unhealthy to both the artist and the community they (should) serve.

But if they gave me the money, I'd take it too :P

I agree (with both paragraphs.)

I know I'm a little late to this short discussion, but I have been thinking on this even before the post. My opinion? The age of the artist genius needs to die (or finish dying), and quickly. The only thing this mentality has done is create an elitist class and exclude the community from art. We have artists who believe they deserve to be supported simply because they exist and a community that cannot relate to art because they do not feel they can participate in the art experience. Is it any wonder why general support for the arts has been dwindling?

I have been reading Rothko's book (The Artist's Reality) and I like how he describes art as a biological function and necessity. Art is too important to all of humanity--individually, societally and spiritually--to relegate it to a select few, either implicitly or explicitly. The age of reason/enlightenment/modernity has failed to encompass the whole human. And this grant simply perpetuates the failures, if not exacerbates them.

But hey, what do I know?

Joe

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My wife heard this on the radio earlier today . . . I don't like the title "Genius Grants." It seems to perpetuate an idea of the artist which is unhealthy to both the artist and the community they (should) serve.

Yes, we should instead re-enforce the idea that artists are all retards.

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My wife heard this on the radio earlier today . . . I don't like the title "Genius Grants." It seems to perpetuate an idea of the artist which is unhealthy to both the artist and the community they (should) serve.

Yes, we should instead re-enforce the idea that artists are all retards.

That's funny! So the only alternative to enforcing an elitist class is enforcing the idea that all artists are retards.

In her book _Has Modernism Failed?_ Suzi Gabik tells of an artist in Ohio that has taken on full time work as a social worker. "In the course of his social work he has discovered that many of these people with disabilities make wonderful art. ...he has chosen to reach out and help people who are usually shut out of the conversation about art and culture. 'I am not sacrificing anything,' he says, 'and I am gaining everything.'" Where is his Genius Grant? Is what he does not equally important, if not more so?

I like the idea of re-enforing the importance of art, but is handing out $4,000,000.00 to eight people really the best way? The general public already feels that it is not possible for them to be artists and that art is exclusive. And education cuts in arts programs are already creating a generation of people who have little or no first hand connection to art making. Doesn't this kind of reward simply exacerbate the divide?

And from the artist side, how does this help enforce the idea that art is more important than financial gain? How does this help the artist understand they have a responsibility to the community as much if not more so than the community has in providing them a living?

It is a difficult balance to work out. As someone who makes his living in art, one I think about daily. Art is important and should be encouraged. But what does the Genius Grant _really_ re-enforce and encourage? Individual materialism and entitlement or community? Or something else?

Just some thoughts and questions,

Joe

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Hmm. I missed the announcement last year. 2007 grant fellow

Those in the arts:

  • peter Cole, Israel, translator, poet, publisher
  • Stewart Dybeck, Northwestern Univ., short story writer
  • Corey Harris, Charlottesville, VA, blues musician
  • Whitfield Lovell, New York, painter, installation artist
  • Lynn Nottage, Brooklyn, playwright
  • Joan Snyder, Brooklyn, painter
  • Dawn Upshaw, Bronxville, NY, vocalist
  • Shen Wei, New York, choreographer

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[*]Shen Wei, New York, choreographer

A friend of mine was his lighting supervisor. Our conversation about Shen Wei being a recipient is what prompted my thread about art without the pressures of life.

Joe

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Here's the 2008 class

The arts are represented by:

Chimamanda Adichie - fiction writer, Columbia, MD

Tara Donovan - sculptor, Brooklyn

Mary Jackson - fiber artist, Charleston, SC

Leila Josefowicz - violinist, New York

Walter Kintundu - instrument maker & composer, San Francisco

Alex Ross - music critic for the New Yorker, New York

Jennifer Tipton - stage lighting designer, New York

Miguel Zenon - saxophonist, New York

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The 2010 class includes the following arts people:

Yiyun Li - fiction writer

Nicholas Benson - stone carver

Matthew Carter - type designer

David Cromer - theater director

Jason Moran - jazz pianist/composer

Jorge Pardo - installation artist

Sebastian Ruth - violist, violinist, music educator

David Simon - author, screenwriter ("The Wire" !!!), producer

Elizabeth Turk - sculptor

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The class of 2011

Those dealing with the arts:

Jeanne Gang - architect

Peter Hessler - long form journalist

Francisco Nunez - choral conductor and composer

Dafnis Prieto - jazz percussionist and composer

Kay Ryan - poet

A. E. Stallings - poet & translator

Ubaldi Vitali - Conservator and silversmith

Alisa Weilerstein - cellist

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The Class of 2012

art related:

Natalia Almada, documentary filmmaker

Uta Barth, conceptual photographer

Claire Chase, arts entrepeneur

Junot Diaz, fiction writer (It has been noted in his thread)

An-My Le, photographer

Dinaw Mengestu, writer

Laura Poitras, documentary filmmaker

Benoit Rolland, stringed instrument bow maker

Chris Thile, mandolinist and composer

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