Winners of Art Awards Announced at Guggenheim Museum Ceremony

Top honors went to Mary Heilmann and Connie Butler at Rob Pruitt’s The First Annual Art Awards during a ceremony at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Thursday, October 29. The painter Heilmann, named Artist of the Year, was the subject of a recent, celebrated retrospective that saw the last stop of a nationwide tour at the New Museum, New York, in 2008, while the Museum of Modern Art’s Butler, named Curator of the Year, organized the blockbuster WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and P.S. 1 in New York.

Pruitt conceived the event as a performance-based artwork modeled after Hollywood awards ceremonies. Nominees in nine categories included artists, curators, critics, and gallerists, recognizing projects that took place from January 2008 to June 2009. After a dinner of locally sourced cuisine culled from Brooklyn-based restaurants and chefs, presenters including Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum Richard Armstrong, Cecily Brown, Jeffrey Deitch, James Franco, Knight Landesman, Julianne Moore, and Guggenheim Chief Curator Nancy Spector announced the winners. On receiving her award, a statuette created by Pruitt resembling a celebratory bucket of champagne that also serves as a fully functional lamp, Heilmann acknowledged the significance of being recognized while also declaring, “The Guggenheim belongs to all of us."

As a fundraiser for the Guggenheim, White Columns, and Studio in a School, the ceremony also honored artist Joan Jonas and curator Kasper König with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The final list of nominees and winners is:

Artist of the Year
Winner: Mary Heilmann
Louise Bourgeois
Urs Fischer
Dan Graham

Curator of the Year
Winner: Connie Butler
Klaus Biesenbach
Daniel Birnbaum
Massimiliano Gioni

Exhibition Outside the United States
Winner: Jeff Koons, Versailles, Château de Versailles, France
Francis Bacon, Tate Britain, London
Mike Kelley: Educational Complex Onwards, 1995–2008, Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Wolfgang Tillmans: Lighter, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin

Group Show of the Year, Gallery
Winner: Who’s Afraid of Jasper Johns? Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York
A Twilight Art, Harris Lieberman, New York
Your Gold Teeth II, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
ZERO in New York, Sperone Westwater, New York

Group Show of the Year, Museum
Winner: The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
After Nature, New Museum, New York
The Quick and the Dead, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York

New Artist of the Year
Winner: Ryan Trecartin
Elad Lassry
Daniel McDonald
Marlo Pascual

The Rob Pruitt Award
Winner: Cynthia Plaster Caster

Solo Show of the Year, Gallery
Winner: Manzoni: A Retrospective, Gagosian Gallery, New York
Cindy Sherman, Metro Pictures, New York
Paul Sharits, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York
Picasso: Mosqueteros, Gagosian Gallery, New York

Solo Show of the Year, Museum
Winner: Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Museum of Modern Art, New York
Dan Graham: Beyond, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Lawrence Weiner: As Far as the Eye Can See, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton, New Museum, New York

Writer of the Year
Winner: Jerry Saltz
Tim Griffin
John Kelsey
Walter Robinson



Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, introduces The First Annual Art Awards on Thursday, October 29, 2009. Photo: Roger Kisby

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