Earlier today Charles C. Bergman, chairman and CEO of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, announced South African photographer Gideon Mendel as the recipient of the Foundation’s inaugural Pollock Prize for Creativity. This newly established annual $50,000 cash award will honor artists whose work “exemplifies the impact of art on individuals and society,” according to the foundation.
Forming an extension of the Lee Krasner Award, which recognizes lifetime achievement, the Pollock Prize will take into consideration more mid-career artists working in the disciplines of painting, sculpture, works on paper and printmaking, or photography and is awarded by the foundation’s jury, based on the recommendations of a network of nominators.
Gideon Mendel has long focused his lens on those suffering in society. Spending his earlier years documenting the Apartheid struggle, Mendel later shifted to the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS during the 1990s. His work has been exhibited in numerous museum and gallery shows including the ICP triennial. For the past nine years, Mendel has captured the effects of climate change for a series titled “Drowning World.”
In a press statement, Pollock-Krasner Foundation president Samuel Sachs II said, “I congratulate Gideon Mendel, who creates powerful images and uses his art to raise awareness of critical issues and encourage change. It is with appreciation that we confer on him the first Pollock Prize for Creativity.”
Mendel in turn offered his thanks in the same statement. He said, “I am deeply grateful to the Pollock-Krasner Foundation for recognizing the project through this prize, which will help me immeasurably in bringing Drowning World to completion.”