United States Artists Names 2019 Fellows, Including Firelei Báez, Wu Tsang, and Cecilia Vicuña

Firelei Báez, living monuments in historical chapters, oil on canvas, hand-painted tarp, live plant matter. Báez is one of the 2019 United States Artists fellows.


The Chicago-based nonprofit United States Artists has revealed its list of 2019 fellows, who will each receive an unrestricted $50,000 cash prize. The 45 fellows this year, who are all based in the U.S., were awarded in 10 categories: Architecture & Design, Craft, Dance, Film, Media, Music, Theater & Performance, Traditional Arts, Visual Art, and Writing.

Among the fellows are filmmaker Nuotama Frances Bodomo (who was featured in the ARTnews “Africa Now” issue); the Detroit-based collective Complex Movements; and artists Firelei Báez, Juliana Huxtable, Wu Tsang, Cecilia Vicuña, and Simone Leigh (who also won this year’s $100,000 Hugo Boss Prize).

“What I love about this group, collectively, is that it really feels like they’re collapsing the distance between all these disparate disciplines while also maintaining the legacies of the things they make,” Deana Haggag, the president of United States Artists, told ARTnews. She pointed to the diversity of the fellows as a sign that the 2019 awardees reflect the makeup of the U.S. “I feel, especially at this moment in our country, it’s nice to look at a group of folks who look like the people we live around every day,” she said.

Here is the complete list of 2019 fellows:

Architecture & Design
Erin Besler & Ian Besler, architects and designers, Princeton, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, New York
Lucia Cuba, designer and textile artist, New York
Keller Easterling, writer and designer, New Haven, Connecticut, and New York

Coulter Fussell, quilter, Water Valley, Mississippi
Samuel Harvey, ceramicist, Aspen, Colorado
Michelle Holzapfel, wood carver, Marlboro, Vermont
Janice Lessman-Moss, digital weaver, Kent, Ohio
Carole Frances Lung, social practice and performance artist, Long Beach, California

David Dorfman, choreographer, New London, Connecticut
Lenora Lee, dancer and choreographer, San Francisco
Alice Sheppard, dancer and choreographer, Los Altos, California
Merián Soto, dancer and choreographer, Philadelphia
Yara Travieso, choreographer and filmmaker, Brooklyn, New York

Nuotama Frances Bodomo, filmmaker, Queens, New York
Ramona S. Diaz, documentary filmmaker, Baltimore
Julia Reichert & Steven Bognar, documentary filmmakers, Yellow Springs, Ohio

Hyphen-Labs, designers, New York
Mitra Kaboli, multimedia artist and podcaster, Brooklyn, New York

Reena Esmail, composer, Pasadena, California
Helado Negro, avant-pop musician and performer, Brooklyn, New York
Susie Ibarra, percussionist and composer, New Paltz, New York
Roscoe Mitchell, multi-instrumentalist and composer, Oakland, California
Tunde Olaniran, pop musician and performer, Flint, Michigan
Jen Shyu, vocalist and composer, Brooklyn, New York

Theater & Performance
Charlotte Brathwaite, director, New York
Rashida Bumbray, choreographer and performer, Brooklyn, New York
Teo Castellanos, theater artist, Miami, Florida
Complex Movements, installation and performance collective, Detroit, Michigan
Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, dramatist, Santa Barbara, California
Kaneza Schaal, theater artist, Brooklyn, New York

Traditional Arts
Juan Díes, Mexican folk musician, Chicago
Gabriel Frey, traditional basketmaker, Orono, Maine
Arthur López, wood sculptor, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Allison Akootchook Warden, multidisciplinary artist and performer, Anchorage, Alaska

Visual Art
Firelei Báez, multidisciplinary artist, New York
Juliana Huxtable, multidisciplinary artist and writer, Brooklyn, New York
Simone Leigh, multidisciplinary artist, New York
Wu Tsang, filmmaker and artist, Los Angeles
Cecilia Vicuña, multidisciplinary artist and poet, New York
Dyani White Hawk, painter and mixed media artist, Minneapolis

Lesley Nneka Arimah, fiction writer, Minneapolis
Lisa Armstrong, journalist, Brooklyn, New York
Lynda Barry, cartoonist, Footville, Wisconsin
Tarfia Faizullah, poet, Dallas, Texas
Rebecca Gayle Howell, poet, Lexington, Kentucky

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