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Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art

The Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art, established in 2003, celebrates the career of an author of note and includes art criticism, art history, art biography, and/or art theory. The award is presented to an author who, among other distinctions, has demonstrated particular commitment to their work throughout a long career and has had an impact, nationally and internationally, on the field.

2019 WINNER

Molly Nesbit

Molly Nesbit removes us from the comfort of familiar thoughts; asks unexpected questions that reveal hidden paths for our field’s future; and shares with us her original understanding of images and texts. She thinks about art and its history in a way that many have been too ossified to dare before. Her writing—in its contents as well as in its craft—takes our breath away. Nesbit focuses on a unique array of artists including Eugène Atget, Cindy Sherman, Marcel Duchamp, Louise Lawler, Gabriel Orozco, Richard Serra, and Nancy Spero. Since 2002, together with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Rirkrit Tiravanija, she has curated Utopia Station, an ongoing book, exhibition, seminar, website, and street project.

Nesbit has reshaped territories of the mind as a contributing editor of Artforum. The magazine’s post-eighties discussions were marked by her inspired vision. The jury commends Nesbit in her commitment to work with small independent presses, when many larger university and other academic publishers remain cautious about advancing newer forms of scholarship. In Atget’s Seven Albums, Nesbit reinterprets daunting archival materials to reignite historical imagination. “Marcel Duchamp: Étant donnés,”   in one colleague’s phrasing, is “a brief astonishment of thinking.” Their Common Sense, another scholar explains, “dramatically rethinks the history of abstraction . . . calling into question the limits of how we write history, imagining other ways of constellating our art.” Remedying codified, academic rituals, Nesbit challenges established truths in her most recent publications, The Pragmatism in the History of Art (2013) and Midnight: The Tempest Essays (2017).

Jury: Jelena Bogdanović, Iowa State University, chair; Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, University of Louisville; Anna Novakov, St. Mary’s College of California

PAST WINNERS

Although the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art was established fairly recently, the award juries have honored the writing careers of notable luminaries in the field, including Hans Belting, Oleg Grabar, Georges Didi-Huberman, and, most recently, John Berger.

2018 Joseph Masheck
Jury: Jelena Bogdanović, Iowa State University, chair; Anna Novakov, St. Mary’s College of California; and Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, University of Louisville.

2017 This award was not given in 2017.
Jury: Ellen T. Birrell, California Institute of the Arts and X-TRA, chair; Jelena Bogdanović, Iowa State University; and Jongwoo Jeremy Kim, University of Louisville.

2016 Rosalind E. Krauss
Jury: Michael Brenson, Independent Scholar, chair; Ellen T. Birrell, California Institute of the Arts and X-TRA; and Rebecca Zorach, University of Chicago

2015 Lucy R. Lippard
Jury: Michael Brenson, independent scholar, chair; Ellen T. Birrell, California Institute of the Arts; and Rebecca Zorach, University of Chicago.

2014 John Berger
Jury: Thomas Lawson, California Institute of the Arts, chair; Michael Brenson, independent scholar; and Rebecca Zorach, University of Chicago

2013 T. J. Clark
Jury: Catherine Soussloff, University of British Columbia, chair; Lane Relyea, Northwestern University; and Thomas Lawson, California Institute of the Arts

2012 Allan Sekula
Jury: Catherine Soussloff, University of British Columbia, chair; Lane Relyea, Northwestern University; and Thomas Lawson, California Institute of the Arts

2011 Mieke Bal
Jury: Keith Moxey, Barnard College, Columbia University, chair; Lane Relyea, Northwestern University; and Catherine Soussloff, University of British Columbia

2010 Holland Cotter
Jury: Janet Kaplan, Moore College of Art and Design, chair; S. Hollis Clayson, Northwestern University; and Keith Moxey, Barnard College, Columbia University

2009 Georges Didi-Huberman
Jury: Janet Kaplan, Moore College of Art and Design, chair; S. Hollis Clayson, Northwestern University; and Keith Moxey, Barnard College, Columbia University

2008 Robert L. Herbert
Jury: John Beldon Scott, University of Iowa, chair; S. Hollis Clayson, Northwestern University; and Janet Kaplan, Moore College of Art and Design

2007 James Cahill
Jury: John Beldon Scott, University of Iowa, chair; Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania; and Suzanne Preston Blier, Harvard University

2006 Linda Nochlin
Jury: Katherine Manthorne, Graduate Center, City University of New York, chair; Suzanne Preston Blier, Harvard University Art Museums; John Beldon Scott, University of Iowa; and Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania

2005 Oleg Grabar
Committee: Katherine Manthorne, Graduate Center, City University of New York, chair; Terrie F. Sultan, Blaffer Gallery, Art Museum of the University of Houston; Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania; John Beldon Scott, University of Iowa; and Suzanne Preston Blier, Harvard University

2004 Hans Belting
Committee: Jonathan Fineberg, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, chair; Katherine Manthorne, Graduate Center, City University of New York; Katy Siegel, Hunter College, City University of New York; and Terrie Sultan, University of Houston

2003 Robert Farris Thompson
Committee: Jonathan Fineberg, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, chair; Janet Kaplan, Moore College of Art and Design; Katy Siegel, Hunter College, City University of New York; Kenneth E. Silver, New York University; and Terrie Sultan, University of Houston