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Distinguished Feminist Award

The Distinguished Feminist Award, first presented in 2009, honors a person who, through their art, scholarship, or advocacy, has advanced the cause of equality for women in the arts. This award replaced the Annual Recognition Awards given by CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts (CWA) from 1996 to 2008 at a ceremony at the Annual Conference.

2018 WINNERS

Lynn Hershman Leeson — Visual Artist

Over the last five decades, artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson has received international acclaim for her art and films. She is recognized for her innovative work investigating issues that are now recognized as key to the workings of society: the relationship between humans and technology, identity, surveillance, and the use of media as a tool of empowerment against censorship and political repression. She is considered one of the most influential media artists and has made pioneering contributions in photography, video, film, performance, installation, and interactive as well as net-based media art.

Her activist films on injustice within the art world and society at large have been praised worldwide. Women Art Revolution! won first prize in the Montreal Festival for Films on Art and was hailed by the Museum of Modern Art as one of the three best documentaries of 2012. Holland Cotter of the New York Times called it “the most comprehensive documentary ever made on the feminist art movement.” Her 2009 film Strange Culture—which the New York Timesdeemed “the perfect balance of form and content” and The Nation called “a brilliant and moving examination of fear and its manipulation”—resulted in the release of an artist facing a prison sentence of twenty-three years.

Hershman Leeson served as chair of the film department at the San Francisco Art Institute, as professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis, and as an Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. She was the 2013–14 Dorothy H. Hirshon Director in Residence at The New School.

Lowery Stokes Sims — Scholar

Lowery Stokes Sims is curator emerita for the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) where she served as senior curator between 2007 and 2014 and as chief curator from 2014 to 2015. Sims was on the education and curatorial staff of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1972–1999 where she curated over thirty exhibitions. Sims then served as executive director, president, and adjunct curator for the permanent collection at the Studio Museum in Harlem from 2000–2007. A specialist in modern and contemporary art, Sims is known for her particular expertise in the work of African, Latino, Native, and Asian American artists.

At MAD Sims has cocurated Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary (2008) and Dead or Alive: Artists Respond to Nature(2010). She also conceived of and cocurated The Global Africa Project (2010–11) and curated the 2013 exhibition Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design. In 2014 she inaugurated the exhibition New Territories: Laboratories for Art, Craft, and Design in Latin America, which was on view at MAD through April 2015. She is currently working as guest curator at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles on the exhibition Design on the Border: Interactions between Mexico and Mexican America, which is part of the 2017 festival Pacific Standard Time LA/LA funded by the Getty. Sims has lectured and guest curated exhibitions nationally and internationally and was visiting professor at Queens College and Hunter College in New York City (2005, 2006), a fellow at the Clark Art Institute, and Visiting Scholar in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota in 2007. She was an Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, 2005–2010, and distinguished professor in the art department at the University of California, Irvine in 2014.

Sims also served on the selection jury for the World Trade Center Memorial in 2003–4 and is on the boards of ArtTable, Inc., the Tiffany Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and Art Matters, Inc.

Jury: Claudia Sbrissa, St. John’s University, chair; Janet Goldner, independent, New York City; Arnold Joseph Kemp, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Jeannene Przyblyski, California Institute of the Arts.

PAST WINNERS

Since 2009, the Distinguished Feminist Award has honored such influential leaders in the visual arts field as Griselda Pollock, Faith Ringgold, Lucy R. Lippard, and many more. For past winners of the CWA Annual Recognition Awards, scroll down further.

2017 Joan Marter
Jury: Hilary Robinson, Middlesex University, chair; Claudia Sbrissa, St. John’s University; and Kathleen Wentrack, Queensborough Community College, The City University of New York.

2016 Carrie Mae Weems
Jury: Hilary Robinson, Middlesex University, chair; Claudia Sbrissa, St. John’s University; and Kathleen Wentrack, Queensborough Community College, City University of New York

2015 Amelia Jones
Jury: Maria Elena Buszek, University of Colorado, Denver, chair; Hilary Robinson, Middlesex University; and Kathleen Wentrack, Queensborough Community College, City University of New York.

2014 Lorraine O’Grady
Jury: Anne Swartz, Savannah College of Art and Design, chair; Julia Bryan-Wilson, University of California, Berkeley; and Maria Elena Buszek, University of Colorado, Denver

Faith Ringgold

Faith Ringgold (photograph by Grace Matthews)

2013 Harmony Hammond and Martha Rosler
Jury: Anne Swartz, Savannah College of Art and Design, chair; Julia Bryan-Wilson, University of California, Berkeley; and Maria Elena Buszek, University of Colorado, Denver

2012 Lucy R. Lippard
Jury: Frima Fox Hofrichter, Pratt Institute, chair; Julia Bryan-Wilson, University of California, Berkeley; and Anne Swartz, Savannah College of Art and Design

2011 Faith Ringgold
Jury: Lowery Stokes Sims, Museum of Arts and Design, chair; Frima Fox Hofrichter, Pratt Institute; and Moira Roth, Mills College

2010 Griselda Pollock
Jury: Lowery Stokes Sims, Museum of Arts and Design, chair; Diane Burko, professor emerita, Philadelphia Community College; and Moira Roth, Mills College

2009 Guerrilla Girls
Jury: Lowery Stokes Sims, Museum of Arts and Design, chair; Diane Burko, Philadelphia Community College; and Moira Roth, Mills College

CWA Annual Recognition Awards

From 1996 to 2008, the Committee on Women in the Arts presented Annual Recognition Awards during a ceremony at the CAA Annual Conference. At its October 2007 meeting, the CAA Board of Directors voted to establish a twelfth Award for Distinction, the Distinguished Feminist Award, which honors a person who, through his or her art, scholarship, or advocacy, has advanced the cause of equality for women in the arts. The Distinguished Feminist Award replaces the committee’s Annual Recognition Award.

2008 Amalia Mesa-Bains and Celia Álvarez Muñoz

2007 Judith Brodsky and Ferris Olin

2006 Moira Roth and Trinh T. Minh-ha

2005 Beverly Buchanan and Lowery Stokes Sims

2004 Betye Saar and Nancy Spero

2003 Elizabeth Catlett and June Wayne

2002 Janet Cox-Rearick and Jaune Quick-To-See Smith

2001 Elsa Honig Fine

2000 Carolee Schneemann, Mary Garrard, and Norma Broude

1999 Samella Lewis

1998 Linda Nochlin

1997 Louise Bourgeouis

1996 Agnes Gund