The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a New York-based provider of support grants to artists since the beginning of a 1963 initiative led by John Cage and Jasper Johns, will give out a new annual Roy Lichtenstein Award seeded by a $1 million endowment gift from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. The award will be similar to other named prizes that make up part of FCA’s Grants to Artists program, with $40,000 in unrestricted funds earmarked for an artist to be selected by the FCA’s board, which includes artists such as Johns, Cecily Brown, Robert Gober, Glenn Ligon, and others.
“Roy was always both amazed and very happy to not just not have a day job but also be able to do his work, Dorothy Lichtenstein told ARTnews. “This is a great way for an individual artist to get support.”
Now the president of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, Lichtenstein said she and her late husband picked up some choice works in early benefit sales held by the FCA starting in the ’60s, when the initiative was started by a collective of artists in part to help fund dance performances by Merce Cunningham. Among their acquisitions were works by Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Claes Oldenburg, and Christo.
“At that time in the ’60s, you can imagine that if artists could afford to buy the work, it was fairly reasonable,” Lichtenstein said. More recently, she was happy to donate early works collected via annual FCA sales to the Morgan Library & Museum in New York.
The new Roy Lichtenstein Award joins others named for Cage, Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly, and Dorothea Tanning. The last round of FCA grants were announced in January, with more to follow in 2018.
In a statement, Jack Cowart, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation’s executive director, said, “We especially hope this will challenge and inspire future named awards by other artists to support this notable program of direct grants to deserving artists.”