Following one of her largest shows to date, at the Modern Institute in Glasgow, Cathy Wilkes has won the inaugural Maria Lassnig Prize. Named for the Austrian feminist painter and funded by the Maria Lassnig Foundation, the prize is given biennially to mid-career artists and comes with €50,000 (about $53,000), as well as a solo show at an institution of the foundation’s choosing. As the winner of the 2017 prize, Wilkes will have an exhibition at MoMA PS1 in New York, where Lassnig’s paintings were the subject of a a 2014 survey curated by Peter Eleey.
Wilkes, who hails from Scotland and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2008, is known mainly for her sculptural installations that feature mannequins who appear to contemplate their surroundings, which typically take the form of refuse and used consumer goods. She also creates abstract paintings that are sometimes included in her larger-scale sculptural works. In 2005, her ramshackle installations could be seen at the Venice Biennale, where she represented Scotland with Alex Pollard and Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan.
Eleey, MoMA PS1’s chief curator, was on the prize’s jury, alongside the Sharjah Art Foundation’s president, Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi; Museum of Modern Art painting and sculpture curator Laura Hoptman; artist Zoe Leonard; Lenbachhaus director Matthias Mühling; curator Hans Ulrich Obrist; and the Maria Lassnig Foundation’s chairman, Peter Pakesch.