Guggenheim Announces Nominees for New Artist-Conceived Awards Event



Rob Pruitt’s Performance-based Artwork Will Present Awards in Contemporary Art Including Lifetime Achievement for Joan Jonas and Kasper König

Realized by the Guggenheim Museum and White Columns Together with Calvin Klein Collection

What:                Rob Pruitt Presents: The First Annual Art Awards
When:               Thursday, October 29, 2009
                          7 pm to 10 pm Seated Dinner and Awards Ceremony
Where:              Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Event Partner:  Calvin Klein Collection

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(NEW YORK, NY – September 23, 2009) – The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum today announced with event partner Calvin Klein Collection a new art event premiering in 2009: Rob Pruitt’s The First Annual Art Awards at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Association with White Columns, to be held on Thursday, October 29, 2009.

Artist Rob Pruitt, whose conceptual practice is rooted in a pop sensibility and a playful critique of art world structures, has conceived the event as a performance-based artwork which follows the format of a Hollywood awards ceremony. The Art Awards will be an annual celebration of select individuals, exhibitions, and projects that have made a significant impact on the field of contemporary art during the previous year, specifically, for this year’s ceremony, from January 2008 to June 2009.

According to Mr. Pruitt, “This annual gesture will function as a community-building and philanthropic event for the Guggenheim Museum, White Columns and, in 2009, Studio in a School, while simultaneously mobilizing the wide ranging talents and energies of the international arts community, focusing on our mutual admiration and support for one another's unique endeavors.” Mr. Pruitt continued, “With one eye on supporting our great institutions, and the other on injecting our community with a renewed sense of energy, spirit, and a dash of showbiz glamour, we are pleased to announce this very unique event.”

Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, stated, “As the impresario behind the First Annual Art Awards, Rob Pruitt presents a daring new event model injected with the humor that underscores his work. Pruitt’s orchestration of this performative piece—with the rotunda as center stage—is aligned with the Guggenheim’s mission to continue to engage and present contemporary artists.”

"The First Annual Art Awards, held at the Guggenheim Museum, will celebrate today's most interesting and respected artists, in an entirely innovative way," said Malcolm Carfrae, EVP Global Communications, Calvin Klein, Inc. "Calvin Klein, Inc. has always been a huge supporter of the arts and we are thrilled to be a part of such a groundbreaking event that celebrates the arts community and gives it the recognition it deserves."

Pruitt has invited the Delusional Downtown Divas to preside over the event as Masters of Ceremonies, and Glenn O’Brien will step in as the Announcer, or, as Pruitt describes his role, as “the Voice of God.” An additional distinguished list of presenters will participate in distributing the awards, created by Pruitt to resemble a celebratory bucket of champagne that also serves as a fully functional lamp. The presenters will include Cecily Brown, Sofia Coppola, James Franco, Knight Landesman, Nate Lowman, and Mary-Kate Olsen, among others. Original music has been composed by Matthew Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces, who will perform at the event. Christine Muhlke, food editor of the New York Times Magazine, is curating the cuisine for the seated dinner.

Lifetime Achievement Awards, determined by Rob Pruitt along with organizing partners the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and White Columns, will be awarded to Joan Jonas and Kasper König. In addition, a group of more than four hundred art world professionals has been invited to form a Nominating Council that will select four nominees in nine categories that focus primarily on exhibitions and projects that took place over the preceding eighteen months (January 2008 to June 2009), in the United States, as well as one category recognizing an international exhibition. The Rob Pruitt Award is being decided solely by the artist. Of the following list of nominees, a larger group (including the Nominating Council) will establish the eventual winners, who will be announced at the live awards ceremony on October 29. The ten categories—in addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award—and the nominees for each category are:

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

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

Exhibition Outside the United States
Francis Bacon, Tate Britain, London
Jeff Koons, Versailles, Château de Versailles, France
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
A Twilight Art, Harris Lieberman, New York
Who’s Afraid of Jasper Johns? Tony Shafrazi Gallery, 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
After Nature, New Museum, New York
The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 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
Elad Lassry
Daniel McDonald
Marlo Pascual
Ryan Trecartin

The Rob Pruitt Award
To be announced the evening of October 29, 2009

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

Solo Show of the Year, Museum
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
Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Museum of Modern Art, New York

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

Net proceeds from the 2009 Art Awards will benefit the following not-for-profit arts organizations: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, White Columns, and Studio in a School. Tickets for the event are offered by invitation only. Highlights from the Art Awards ceremony including video montages created for each category will be available to view on following the ceremony. Additionally, a series of segments devoted to The First Annual Art Awards will be broadcast after the event by Ovation TV and available on

Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. Currently the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation owns and operates the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection on the Grand Canal in Venice, and also provides programming and management for two other museums in Europe that bear its name: the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. In 2013 the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, a museum of modern and contemporary art designed by architect Frank Gehry, is scheduled to open.

Calvin Klein, Inc. is a prominent fashion design and marketing studio. It designs and markets women’s and men’s designer collection apparel and a range of other products that are manufactured and marketed through an extensive network of licensing agreements and other arrangements worldwide. Brands/lifestyles include Calvin Klein Collection, ck Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein, Calvin Klein Jeans, and Calvin Klein Underwear. Product lines under the various Calvin Klein brands include apparel, accessories, shoes, sleepwear, hosiery, socks, swimwear, belts, eyewear, watches, jewelry, coats, suits, fragrances, and cosmetics, as well as products for the home For more information, visit

Rob Pruitt’s The First Annual Art Awards is also supported by Ovation TV, the exclusive television broadcaster of the event, Fuel Outdoor, Li, Inc., and Hall Wines.

Ovation TV is the only multi-platform network devoted to art and contemporary culture. The network creates and curates one-of-a-kind programming about all the art people enjoy most, from the popular to the avant-garde and everything in between. The channel reaches a national audience of thirty-two million households through carriage on DirecTV (channel 274), Dish Network (channel 157) and on cable and telco systems in major markets across the country. Ovation TV’s programming is also available on video on demand (in both standard and high definition) in the US. Ovation TV’s popular Web site is a dynamic experience, featuring information about local and national happenings in the art world, as well as a vibrant community of artists who have downloaded over eighty thousand pieces of original art.

Please visit for frequent updates and additional information.

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September 23, 2009


Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Lauren Van Natten, Senior Publicist
Claire Laporte, Publicist
212 423 3840

Calvin Klein, Inc.
Jennifer Crawford, VP - Corporate Communications, 212 292 9795
Chopin Rabin, Sr. Mgr.- Corporate Communications, 212 292 9510

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