Deb Gordon’s guest was Brett Littman, President of the Jury of the 2016 Prix Canson®, which honors the work of artists whose creations show a true love of paper. The Prix Canson® was held in the United States for the first time at the Drawing Center in SoHo, where Mr. Littman also serves as Executive Director.
This artists competing for the coveted 2016 Prix Canson® prize consisted of 4 women and 1 man – Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Bethany Collins, Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze, Lucy Skaer, and David Shrigley – all praised for their creative utilization of paper.
“I think that the company realized that the idea of drawing and work on paper was becoming something that was quite global – that they wanted to be supportive of artists who were working and really pushing the boundaries in the medium,” said Littman discussing why Canson® established the prize back in 2010.
The artists’ work and presentations were judged by a prestigious jury comprised of international museum curators, many of whom like the artists, came to New York from all over the world to take part in this special exhibition and ceremony.
“We have to make a vote to narrow it down to 5 finalists,” said Littman. “We listen to the artists give presentations about their work…and we had to choose one artist as the finalist, which is never easy, and always incredibly difficult.”
This year’s winner was Njideka Akunyili Crosby, a Nigerian born artist from California whose work currently hangs in New York’s Whitney Museum.
“She’s an artist who I think is incredibly fascinating,” said Littman regarding Crosby. “I think that with Njideka’s work these images were burned in our mind…she gave an incredible presentation, she talked about everything from Velazquez to the great Nigerian book, ‘Things Fall Apart’ -, so it was literature, it was film, it was pop culture.”
“In many ways for her, and I think the interesting thing for Canson® was she is absolutely dedicated to paper…so her work is not only complex in terms of the intellectual content, but it’s also complex in terms of the way that it’s built – the image.”
As the 2016 Prix Canson® winner, Ms. Crosby will not only receive significant international exposure, but her prize will include a sizeable endowment of Canson paper, and a residency at the Brazil home of the recently deceased artist and former Canson® Jury President, Tunga.
A selection of Ms. Crosby’s work, along with that of the other four finalists, will be on display at the Drawing center through July 1st. For more information, visit www.drawingcenter.org.
–Deb Gordon/Fresh 102.7