The Nasher Sculpture Center has announced Colombian artist Doris Salcedo as the inaugural recipient of the Nasher Prize, an annual international award presented to a living artist who has had an extraordinary impact on the field of sculpture.
An international jury chose Salcedo for the prize, which comes with a check for $100,000 and a commemorative award designed by architect Renzo Piano. Salcedo will officially receive the prize at a gala dinner at the Nasher on April 2, 2016.
Salcedo is based in Bogotá and is known for work that has addressed the human toll of civil and political conflict and acts of war. Her works have variously commemorated, memorialized, and investigated personal, social, and historical traumas. They also address the persistent issues of colonialism, racism, and social injustice, and the need to mourn the deaths that follow in their wake.
“We created the Nasher Prize in order to recognize an artist whose work has enriched our vision of what sculpture can be,” said Nasher Sculpture Center director Jeremy Strick in a statement. “Our mission at the Nasher is to support the creation of new sculpture and to expand our understanding of what sculpture is, and Doris Salcedo continues to powerfully point the art form in ever-more provocative and insightful directions.”
“The Prize is very meaningful to me because I believe my task as an artist is to make connections — to connect worlds that normally are unconnected, like art and politics, like the experience of the lost lives of victims of political violence with the experience and memories of the viewers who approach or contemplate the work — and I think the Prize will widen this audience,” said Salcedo in a statement.
The international jury which chose Salcedo included artist Phyllida Barlow; National Gallery of Art senior curator Lynne Cooke; Haus der Kunst director Okwui Enwezor; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo chief curator Yuko Hasegawa; founding director of the Nasher Sculpture Center, Steven Nash; art historian Alexander Potts; and Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota.
A series of public programs called Nasher Prize Dialogues, which are intended to foster international awareness of sculpture and of the Nasher Prize, will be held in cities around the world on a yearly basis. The first program, a panel discussion called "Why Sculpture Now?", will take place in London on October 11 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. The second will be a lecture by Salcedo, on April 1, 2016, at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas.