Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons wins 2007 Rappaport Prize

September 5, 2007 § 1 Comment

Art Daily LINCOLN, MA.-The Curators of the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park are delighted to announce that Boston-based artist María Magdalena (Magda) Campos-Pons has won the Rappaport Prize, a collaborative initiative of the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation and DeCordova. The Prize, one of the largest in New England, is an annual award of $25,000 made to a contemporary artist. Campos-Pons is the eighth artist to receive the Rappaport Prize.The work of internationally recognized artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons’s has been exhibited in galleries, museums, and in biennials around the world. In her many-layered bodies of work she has used photography, painting, sculpture, video, film, installation, and performance to investigate issues of identity, displacement, autobiography, matriarchy, domestic labor, race, femininity, memory, and acculturation. Campos-Pons uses aspects of personal and collective memories to reflect on her own heritage as a woman of Nigerian descent, now exiled from Cuba and living as a black woman in North America.

Since its inception in 2000, the Rappaport Prize has been, foremost, an investment in both an individual and the broader community. For the artist it reflects recognition of his/her abilities, talent, and future promise. For the community it reflects the importance of art to encourage the value of creativity within the region. Founded and funded by the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation, the Rappaport Prize follows the Foundation’s mission of promoting leadership in public policy, medical research, and art. Administered by the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the Rappaport Prize fulfills the DeCordova’s mission of presenting significant artists while educating the public about developments in contemporary American art.

“The Rappaport Prize recognizes the excitement of world class art created by someone nurtured in New England,” said Foundation Chairperson Phyllis Rappaport. “We are delighted to honor this important artist’s creative accomplishment and support continued expression of her vision.”

Born in 1959 in Matanzas, Cuba, Campos-Pons studied art in Cuba and did graduate work at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. She moved to the United States in 1991 and now teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and is the co-founder of Gasp (Gallery Artists Studio Projects), an alternative exhibition space in Brookline, MA.

“We are most delighted to have selected Magda for the Rappaport Prize as she has made significant contributions to the art world in the Boston area and is also recognized for her talents worldwide,” said DeCordova’s Director of Curatorial Affairs Rachel Rosenfield Lafo. “We are equally thrilled that the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation has continued to support this important program. The Prize truly recognizes leadership in the region’s art community.”

Internationally celebrated artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons’s multimedia works have been exhibited in the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, France, Italy, Africa, and Cuba. She was represented in the Venice, Johannesburg, and Dakar Biennials, and most recently was the subject of a mid-career survey, María Magdalena Campos-Pons: Everything Is Separated by Water, organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and exhibited there in the first part of 2007. A smaller version of this exhibition will travel to the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach and will be on view from September 21, 2007 – November 11, 2007. In the near future, Campos-Pons will present a performance/lecture at the Tate Modern in London in October 2007 on the subject, “Why Sculpture? Why Here?” This event is organized by the Henry Moore Institute with the Institute of International Visual Artists (inlVA).

She is most widely known for her presentations in two major group exhibitions: Unpacking Europe at the Museum Boijmans Van Beunigen in Rotterdam in 2002 and Authentic/Ex-centric: Conceptualism in Contemporary African Art, part of the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001. Campos-Pons’s art can be found in the collections of the: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago; the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; among other institutions.

Campos-Pons’s large-scale Polaroid photographs were included in DeCordova’s 2004 exhibition, Self-Evidence: Identity in Contemporary Art.

The Rappaport Prize Criteria
Specifically, the Prize is established to foster two goals:

– Recognize the achievement and potential of an artist who has already demonstrated significant creativity and vision.
– Encourage the artist to continue in a career of art making.

The selected artist will:

– Produce artwork of exceptional quality
– Demonstrate excellence and leadership in their chosen practice
– Engage with 21st century aesthetic issues which have had a significant impact on contemporary visual art
– Support DeCordova’s focus on contemporary American art, particularly of New England artists

The Process for Selecting the Prize Winner
The Curatorial Staff of DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park select candidates for consideration and also invite ten art professionals to serve as nominators for the Rappaport Prize. Each of these nominators recommends two artists. After reviewing all candidates, the DeCordova’s Curators select the Prize winner. Applications are not accepted for the Prize and all media are considered. DeCordova does not discriminate based on age, financial status, reputation, race, sexual orientation, or gender.

The Prize winner gifts a work of art to DeCordova’s Permanent Collection. This acquisition helps build the artist’s prominence and makes their work accessible to the museum going community.

Rappaport Prize Winners Include
2000 Jennifer Hall (interactive media)
2001 Annee Spileos Scott (multimedia installations)
2002 Lars-Erik Fisk (sculpture)
2003 John Bisbee (sculpture)
2004 Debra Olin (prints and printed constructions)
2005 Sarah Walker (painting)
2006 Abelardo Morell (photography)
2007 María Magdalena Campos-Pons (multimedia)

About the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation
The Jerome Lyle Rappaport Charitable Foundation sponsors the work of new and emerging leaders to increase this region’s capacity for generating effective public policy solutions, breakthroughs for neurologic and mental illnesses, and world-class art. The work is accomplished through strategic partnerships with Harvard University, Suffolk Law School, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital and DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park. The Foundation’s desire is to connect individuals with demonstrated leadership capability, intellectual rigor, and integrity, who can make meaningful change in greater Boston.

The Foundation fosters innovative thinking, productive dialogue, and creative alliances to build a better future. It values and rewards those who show commitment and success, and provides grant recipients with opportunities and resources to strengthen their careers in countless ways.


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