On Friday, the British Cabinet Office revealed its 2019 “Queen’s Birthday Honours” list, a group of individuals receiving special mentions for their contributions to culture in the United Kingdom. One of the top honors was handed to a notable artist: the sculptor Rachel Whiteread, who was named a dame.
Whiteread’s achievements are numerous. Known for making casts of architectural forms as meditations on loss and memory, Whiteread was the first woman to win the Turner Prize, in 1993, and she represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1997.
In 2001, for Trafalgar Square in London, she created the fourth plinth commission. In 2017, the United States Department of State gave Whiteread the International Medal of Arts, and a retrospective of her work opened at Tate Britain.
Another powerful art persona was honored on the Prime Minister’s list. Ralph Rugoff, the curator of this year’s main exhibition for the Venice Biennale, was recognized for “services to art” and named an Officer of the British Empire. He currently serves as director of the Hayward Gallery in London. Other members of the art world to have received the O.B.E. title this year include painter Glenn Brown and Roger Malbert, the former head of Hayward Gallery Touring, which organizes various exhibitions at British venues.