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College Art Association

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Distinguished Feminist Award

The Distinguished Feminist Award, first presented in 2009, honors a person who, through his or her art, scholarship, or advocacy, has advanced the cause of equality for women in the arts. This award replaces 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.

2016 Winner

Carrie Mae Weems

Carrie Mae Weems has produced one of the most wide-ranging and engaged bodies of work of any contemporary artist, addressing the grand narrative themes of American life: race, sex, gender, familial relationships, politics, class, and the manifestations of power. The predicaments and complexities of being human resonate through her work: sexual politics and feminism for Carrie Mae Weems is not an isolated set of issues, but resonate through all aspects of social structures.

Weems is best-recognized for working with photographic series – sometimes in relationship with text – which build narratives to address the politics of representation. While Ain’t Jokin’ (1988) gets straight to the heart and pain of white supremacy as expressed through “jokes,” The Kitchen Table Series (1990) is more allusive and evocative in suggesting to the audience what the possibilities are for living well together and alone, between sexes, generations, through change and with care for self and other.

More recent works examine political structures, memory, and the making of history and identity. Including sound, holography and video, the complexity of installations like Lincoln, Lonnie and Me (2012), referencing the aging female body, memory’s disintegration, and political history as co-formative of identity, retain the compositional elegance of the earlier works, making viewers complicit in acts of understanding and memories mislaid.

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

Past Winners

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