Winners of Rob Pruitt Presents: The First Annual Art Awards at the Guggenheim



Performance-based Artwork Presented Ten Awards in Contemporary Art along with Lifetime Achievement Awards for Joan Jonas and Kasper König

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(NEW YORK, NY – October 30, 2009) – At a dinner and awards ceremony on Thursday, October 29, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum announced with event partner Calvin Klein Collection the winners of Rob Pruitt’s The First Annual Art Awards at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in association with White Columns.

Artist Rob Pruitt, whose conceptual practice is rooted in a pop sensibility and a playful critique of art world structures, conceived the event as a performance-based artwork. Modeled after Hollywood award ceremonies with high-profile prizes, the Art Awards honor and publicly acknowledge the successes and achievements of artists, curators, critics, and gallerists. The Art Awards inaugurates 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. As a fundraiser for the Guggenheim, White Columns, and Studio in a School, the ceremony presented ten awards and honored artist Joan Jonas and curator Kasper König with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Nominations in nine categories which focused 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, were made by a Nominating Council of more than one hundred artists and art-world professionals. Final votes were cast by a larger representation of the community. The two Lifetime Achievement Awards were determined by Rob Pruitt along with organizing partners the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and White Columns, and the Rob Pruitt Award was decided solely by the artist. The winners in each of the ten categories—in addition to the Lifetime Achievement Awards—are:

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

Calvin Klein Collection New Artist of the Year Award
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

For the awards ceremony, Pruitt invited the Delusional Downtown Divas to preside over the event as Masters of Ceremonies, with Glenn O’Brien stepping in as the Announcer, or, as Pruitt describes his role, “the Voice of God.” Guests entering the Museum on the red carpet were entertained by live interviews being conducted with Yvonne Force Villareal, Doreen Remen, and Casey Fremont of the Art Production Fund. A distinguished list of presenters distributed the awards, created by Pruitt to resemble a celebratory bucket of champagne that also serves as a fully functional lamp. These presenters included Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum; Cecily Brown; Francisco Costa, Women’s Creative Director, Calvin Klein Collection; Jeffrey Deitch; James Franco; Knight Landesman; Kylie Minogue; Julianne Moore; Nancy Spector, Chief Curator of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Italo Zucchelli, Men’s Creative Director, Calvin Klein Collection, among others. Jane Rosenblum presented a memorial film honoring some of the artists and art world contributors who had passed away over the past year. Original music was composed by Matthew Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces, who performed at the event. Christine Muhlke, food editor of the New York Times Magazine, designed a menu of locally sourced foods culled from Brooklyn-based restaurants and chefs for the seated dinner, celebrating the neighborhoods where many of the honored artists live and work.

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 were offered by invitation only. Highlights from the Art Awards ceremony including video montages created for each category will be available to view on Additionally, a series of segments devoted to The First Annual Art Awards will be broadcast after the event by Ovation TV and available on

About the Guggenheim

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.

About Calvin Klein
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.

About Ovation TV

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-five 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 one hundred thousand pieces of original art.

Please visit for additional information and for video presentations of the ceremony.

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October 30, 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 9570

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