The Genesis Prize Foundation announced yesterday that Anish Kapoor, the Turner Prize–winning artist known for monumentally sized works, has been named its 2017 laureate. The annual prize recognizes a person who has made a significant contribution to Jewish politics and culture; it comes with $1 million.
Kapoor, whose mother is Jewish, has created many major public works. The best known among them is probably the bean-shaped Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park. He is also responsible for the Holocaust Memorial at London’s Liberal Jewish Synagogue. In 2015, for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, he designed a series of Holocaust remembrance candles.
Occasionally Kapoor’s work has gotten political, and the London–based artist said that he will put the prize money toward helping the Syrian refugee crisis, which has displaced an estimated 12.5 million people. No specific plans about where the money would go were announced yesterday, though a press release noted that the artist will discuss his plans in detail in June.
“The profound impact of Anish’s work continues a long history of Jewish contribution to the arts, while his social activism reaffirms the commitment of the Jewish people to humanitarian causes,” the Genesis Prize Foundation’s chairman and cofounder, Stan Polovets, said in a statement. “We particularly admire how, in an age frequently characterized by cynicism and indifference, Anish continually advocates for the world’s disadvantaged—challenging all of us to do more to help wherever and whenever we can.”