Bard News & Events

Press Release


Darren O'Sullivan
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named artist and Bard College faculty member Judy Pfaff as a recipient of a 2004 MacArthur Fellowship. Pfaff, a renowned sculptor and painter, was one of 23 people to win the prestigious award for 2004. Each Fellow receives $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the next five years. Pfaff has been the Richard B. Fisher Professor in the Arts at Bard College since 1994 and is also codirector of Bard’s Studio Arts Program. She is an artist in the midst of a prolific career as a sculptor, installation artist, painter, and printmaker. She has mounted more than 100 solo exhibitions and installations and participated in more than 200 group exhibitions. Her work appears in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and other prestigious institutions. “I’m delighted that Judy Pfaff has been awarded this prestigious fellowship,” said Bard College President Leon Botstein. “Her creativity, energy, and dedication have proved invaluable to her students, the Bard College community, and the art world. This recognition is richly deserved” The MacArthur Fellows Program underscores the importance of the creative individual in society. Fellows are selected for their originality, creativity, and the potential to do more in the future. Candidates are nominated, evaluated, and selected through a rigorous and confidential process. No one may apply for the awards, nor are any interviews conducted. “Each year, for 24 years, the announcement of the new MacArthur Fellows has been a singular opportunity to celebrate the creative individual in our midst,” said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation. “The MacArthur Fellows Program remains at the core of the Foundation’s efforts to recognize and support individuals who inspire us. The new MacArthur Fellows illustrate the Foundation’s conviction that talented individuals, free to follow their insights and instincts, will make a difference in shaping the future.” At the heart Pfaff’s work is her commitment to making painting more three-dimensional and sculpture more painterly. From the beginning of her career in the 1970s, she has worked with a wide and unusual range of materials and has inspired younger artists to venture outside the traditional distinctions made between painting and sculpture. Pfaff moves back and forth easily between two- and three-dimensional work, creating art that is complex, profuse, and unique. Her dynamic, exuberant, large-scale (and typically site-specific) installations incorporate local materials and combine painting, sculpture, and architecture. These works include carefully crafted elements of her own making with found materials, both man-made and natural, to create protean forms of rich complexity. While primarily a sculptor, Pfaff’s concepts are expressed in equal power in her paintings, prints, and drawings. Her work continues to evolve, and she has recently begun to explore the incorporation of photographic/digital imagery into her installations and prints. The MacArthur Foundation is one of the nation’s largest private philanthropic foundations and has awarded more than $3 billion in grants since it began operations in 1978. Today it has assets of approximately $4 billion. Including this year’s Fellows, 682 people, ranging in age from 18 to 82, have been named MacArthur Fellows since the inception of the program in 1981. Through the support it provides, the Foundation fosters the development of new knowledge, nourishes individual creativity, strengthens institutions, participates in the formation of effective policy, and provides information to the public, primarily through support for public interest media. Annual grantmaking totals approximately $175 million. The Foundation is named for John D. MacArthur (1897-1978), who developed and owned Bankers Life and Casualty Company and other businesses, as well as considerable property in Florida and New York. His wife Catherine (1909-1981) held positions in many of these companies and served as a director of the Foundation. Judy Pfaff, Richard B. Fisher Professor in the Arts at Bard College since 1994 and codirector of Bard’s Studio Arts Program, received a B.F.A. (1971) from Washington University, St. Louis, and an M.F.A. (1973) from Yale University. Since 1971, she has held numerous visiting faculty appointments at such institutions as the California Institute of Arts, Yale University, the Rhode Island School of Design, Oberlin College, and Princeton University. Pfaff was a member of the graduate faculty at the School of Visual Arts, New York (1986-1991), and a professor of visual arts at Columbia University (1992-1994). Prior to her appointment as the Richard B. Fisher Professor in the Arts at Bard in 1994, she served as the Milton Avery Distinguished Professor or Art at Bard (1989, 1991). She is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1983) and National Endowment for the Arts grants (1979, 1986). # # # (9.27.04)

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This event was last updated on 02-25-2005