Art of Another Kind: Guggenheim International Award

2:05 | Published on June 8, 2012 | 29 Views

The largest art prize of its time, the Guggenheim International Award reflected the art world's expansion and the broader spirit of internationalism in the 1950s. Art of Another Kind curator Tracey Bashkoff explains the early history of the award program, its political significance in the Cold War period, and its influence on the Guggenheim collection.

For more information, visit Art of Another Kind: International Abstraction and the Guggenheim, 1940–1960.

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Tracey Bashkoff, Curator, Collections and Exhibitions: There were three international award exhibitions under [Guggenheim director James Johnson] Sweeney’s tenure: 1956, 1958, and 1960.

The Guggenheim held and presented the first Guggenheim International Award. It at the time was really the highest monetary award that was given in the arts, and the first award went to the British artist Ben Nicholson. The award was presented by Dwight Eisenhower, really attesting to the politics of the time, and the fostering of internationalism in the art world was really tied up in the United States asserting themselves as a force in international politics.

Another remarkable aspect of this international award was that the short list of artists represented many countries around the world. It was a way of really building up the relationships between the New York art scene and the international art world.

The Guggenheim acquired work from these international award exhibitions and so works like the Giuseppe Capogrossi, the Maria [Helena] Vieira da Silva, and the Takeo Yamaguchi entered the Guggenheim’s collection as a result of these awards.