New Suzanne Deal Booth/FLAG Art Foundation Prize Comes With $200,000, Placing It Among the Largest Cash Purses for Art Awards Worldwide [Updated]

Installation view of “Ashley Bickerton,” 2017, at FLAG Art Foundation, New York.


Now that the two-year-old biennial Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize has received a boost from the FLAG Art Foundation in New York, it comes with double the cash prize: the winning artist will receive a whopping, no-strings-attached $200,000. As reported yesterday by the New York Times, ARTnews “Top 200” collectors Amanda and Glenn R. Fuhrman have joined forces with Suzanne Deal Booth, a trustee of the Contemporary Austin in Texas, to turn her previous prize into the newly minted biennial Suzanne Deal Booth/FLAG Art Foundation prize, which also comes with a catalogue and a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Austin and FLAG, giving it an $800,000 total value.

“These awards have a great effect on artists’ lives,” Deal Booth told ARTnews in a phone interview. “They can set them in new directions and allow them to explore things they never thought they would do.”

A catalog and an exhibition are, of course, highly valuable for an artist, but where does this put the new prize sheerly in terms of the cash award? Pretty high on the international list, as it turns out. ARTnews’s research puts it right around third place, in a tie with Grand Rapids’s ArtPrize, which, like the two other cash purses that exceed the Suzanne Deal Booth/FLAG Art Foundation prize, does not come with an individual catalogue and exhibition.

The highest cash prize is still the MacArthur “Genius” Grant, distributed by the MacArthur Foundation, which is currently set at $625,000, and is paid in quarterly installments over five years.

Next up, at $250,000, is the annual Dorothy & Lillian Gish Prize, which, according to its mandate, goes to “a highly accomplished artist from any discipline who has pushed the boundaries of an art form, contributed to social change and paved the way for the next generation.”

After that comes the justly famous ArtPrize, which gives out two cash prizes of $200,000, one awarded entirely by public vote and the other by a jury of art experts.

The largest cash art award in Europe is Switzerland’s annual $150,000 Roswitha Haftmann Prize, a lifetime achievement award of sorts that last year went to Hans Haacke.

Below that are a number of biennial prizes that come with $100,000 awards: the Whitney Museum’s Bucksbaum Award, which coincides with the Whitney Biennial, also invites the winning artist to do an exhibition; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago’s new Dunya Contemporary Art Prize, presented to a mid-career artist from the Middle East or its diaspora, comes with a commission for a new work, an exhibition, and a catalogue; the Pinchuk Foundation’s Future Generation Art Prize comes with a presentation of work in Venice during the Venice Biennale; the Guggenheim’s Hugo Boss Prize comes with a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim; the Prix Pictet for photography comes with a traveling exhibition; and the annual Nasher Prize for sculpture, whose winner also gets an award object designed by Renzo Piano.

The winner of the Suzanne Deal Booth/FLAG Art Foundation prize will be chosen by an independent advisory committee made up of curators Eungie Joo, Lauren Haynes, Helen Molesworth, Ian Berry, and Lilian Tone; funding is in place through 2026.

Updated May 4, 2018: This post has been updated to include a comment from Suzanne Deal Booth.

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