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Jack Whitten, Ralph Lemon Win 2015 National Medal of Arts

Whitten. ©KATHERINE MCMAHON

Whitten.

©KATHERINE MCMAHON

The National Endowment for the Arts announced the 12 winners of the 2015 National Medal of Arts today. Among them are Jack Whitten and Ralph Lemon, both of whom have recently received a great deal of praise in the art world.

According to a release, Whitten is being awarded the medal for “remaking the American canvas.” His abstract paintings were the subject of a touring retrospective that ended its run at the Walker Art Center last year. Perhaps best known for his “Slab” paintings, for which he pulled acrylic paint across the canvas using a squeegee, Whitten was recently added to Hauser & Wirth’s roster.

Lemon, meanwhile, is being awarded for his dance-related work, some of which is shown in museums and other art venues as performance art. The choreographer and dancer refers to himself as a “conceptualist,” and has made work about the nature of communication and physical gestures. Lemon is currently nominated for the 2016 Hugo Boss Prize.

Head over to the NEA’s website for a list of the other ten nominees. Other notables include Philip Glass, Mel Brooks, and Morgan Freeman.

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