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Herb Alpert Foundation Names 2016 Award Winners, Including Simone Leigh




The Herb Alpert Foundation, created by the eponymous artist and trumpet player, has announced the 2016 winners of its annual Awards in the Arts, each of which carries an unrestricted $75,000 prize. Ishmael Houston-Jones won for dance, Cauleen Smith for film/video, Dohee Lee for music, Anne Washburn for theater, and Simone Leigh for visual arts.

The awards are administered by the California Institute of the Arts and aim, each year, to honor “five risk-taking mid-career artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre and the visual arts,” according to the foundation’s website.

Below, the artists’ full citations:

Ishmael Houston-Jones, for the fierce, raw originality and progression of his visceral, kinesthetic work, the ways he grapples with tenderness and loss and for the not-easy practice of living without a safety net and staying the course.

Cauleen Smith, for her unique, visionary voice, poetic imprint on the medium, mastery of craft, ethics, and sustained practice of risk-taking.

Dohee Lee, for her commitment to creativity and experimentation, her ability to give new life to ancient forms, create new environments – and new audiences – and her powerful, transformative vision.

Anne Washburn, for her fearlessness, brilliance, wild imagination, originality, theatrical ambition, and for surprising audiences throughout her career, with each new play.

Simone Leigh, for her rich field of inquiry, willingness to move forward into the unknown, spirit of adventure and collaboration; in short, for her urgent, necessary work.

The visual art prize was decided by MOCA L.A.’s chief curator, Helen Molesworth; the Brooklyn Museum’s curator of contemporary art, Eugenie Tsai; and the Henry Art Gallery’s associate curator of programs, Emily Zimmerman.

Past winners of the awards, which have been bestowed since 1994, include Tania Bruguera (2015), Emily Jacir (2011), Walid Raad (2007), Roni Horn (1998), and Kerry James Marshall (1997).

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