Los Angeles’s Hammer Museum announced today the winners of its Mohn Awards, which are given to artists in its “Made in L.A.” biennial. The 2016 winner of the $100,000 prize is something of a surprise: dancer and choreographer Adam Linder. Wadada Leo Smith, a trumpeter, was also given the $25,000 Career Achievement Award, and sculptor Kenzi Shiokava was named the winner of the Public Recognition Award, which is determined by a public vote and likewise comes with $25,000.
Linder won the Mohn Award for his performance Kein Paradiso (2016), a piece about the role of movement in modern and postmodern dance. The work, which involved three performers in camouflage-like outfits doing various gestures, was staged two times each week during the first month of “Made in L.A.” Since its last performance, in early July, the work’s set has been on view at the Hammer with a soundtrack that suggests dancers who remain unseen.
“In this year’s ‘Made in L.A.,’ Adam Linder’s Kein Paradiso stood out as a tour de force,” Mika Yoshitake, an associate curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and a member of the Mohn Award jury, said. “The jurors were struck by Linder’s inventive consideration of the latent role of presence through layers of formalist modernist histories and interplay of props and choreography.”
All three nominees winners are lesser-known names from this year’s “Made in L.A.,” which is subtitled “a, the, though, only” and focuses loosely on Los Angeles–based artists responding to their city. The exhibition, which runs through August 28, also includes work by Eckhaus Latta, Guthrie Lonergan, Shahryar Nashat, Martine Syms, and Dena Yago, among others.