Singers serenade Medal Day visitors after the ceremony honoring 2013 Medalist Stephen Sondheim.
Medal Day 2014
The MacDowell Colony will award assemblage and installation artist Betye Saar with its 55th Edward MacDowell Medal on Sunday, August 10. The MacDowell Colony, the nation’s first artist residency program, has awarded the medal annually since 1960 to an individual artist who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field.
Saar, who started as a printmaker, is perhaps best known for her intimate assemblages and collages, which not only challenge the myths and negative stereotypes ascribed to the African-American community but also demonstrate a connection with a myriad of mythic and spiritual concepts from Africa and the Caribbean. The artist, who eventually moved into working with found objects in larger-scale installations, joins an impressive list of past Medal recipients, including Robert Frost (1962), Georgia O’Keeffe (1972), Leonard Bernstein (1987), Jasper Johns (1994), I.M. Pei (1998), Ellsworth Kelly (1999), and Stephen Sondheim (2013).
“Betye Saar has been a key influence in the dialogues around race and gender in the art world since the 1960s,” said Museum of Arts and Design Curator Lowery Stokes Sims, chairman of the Edward MacDowell Medal Selection Committee who will introduce Saar at the ceremony. “Her exquisite collages have posed questions, challenged presumptions, and have never failed to demonstrate her unique aesthetic sensibility.”
MacDowell Colony Chairman and author Michael Chabon, who will present the medal, said, “Betye Saar uses shards of myth and narrative, and found bits of history – with all its pain and magnificence – to build scale models of a world that is intensely personal and yet instantly, inescapably recognizable as our own broken world. These scale models of brokenness help us to interpret and find meaning in that world, mapping it with fierceness, a sense of play, and the wild accuracy you find among the great cartographers and world-builders, also known as artists, whose explorations the MacDowell Colony has for so long striven to foster and sustain.”
Read about Medal Day 2013 here.
Since 1960, The MacDowell Colony has awarded the Edward MacDowell Medal to an artist of enduring vision and creativity. Find out about the medal’s proud history and its distinguished group of past winners.
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