Titus Kaphar (b. 1976), Darker Than Cotton, 2017. oil on canvas. 63 x 36 in. (Collection of Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Gift of the Gallery Guild. 2018.008. © 2018 Titus Kaphar; Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery, New York)

The 2018 MacArthur Fellows were announced today. Each awardee will receive $625,000 of unrestricted funds over the course of five years. Among 25 recipients, many are prominent figures in the arts, including Julie Ault, Titus Kaphar, and Wu Tsang.

The MacArthur fellowship, commonly called the MacArthur “Genius” Grant, is awarded annually to United States residents working in any field who display “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” The award, considered an “investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential,” does not accept applications, but rather anonymous nominations which are reviewed by an confidential selection committee of about a dozen people. Most recipients discover their win with a congratulatory phone call.

Hugo Boss Prize finalist Wu Tsang We hold where study, 2017 Two-channel color HD video, with sound, 18 min., 56 sec. Installation view: Kunsthalle Münster, May 27–October 1, 2017 (courtesy the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin; photo by Roman Mensing)

Wu Tsang (36) is a filmmaker and performance artist “creating new conceptual and visual vocabularies for exploring hidden histories and marginalized narratives in works that collapse the boundaries between documentary and fiction.”

Titus Kaphar, “Behind the Myth of Benevolence” (2014) oil on canvas (courtesy Guillermo Nicolas and Jim Foster)

Titus Kaphar (42) is a painter and co-founder of NXTHVN “highlighting the lack of representation of people of color in the canon of Western art with works that deconstruct the literal and visual structure of the artwork.”

Installation view, Julie Ault: afterlife at Galerie Buchholz, November 13, 2015–January 16, 2016, showing David Wojnarowicz, “Magic Box” (nd) mixed media box, 8 x 11 1/2 x 17 in., from the David Wojnarowicz Papers, Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University (image courtesy the artist and Galerie Buchholz, New York)

Julie Ault (60), is an artist and curator “redefining the role of the artwork and the artist by melding artistic, curatorial, archival, editorial, and activist practices into a new form of cultural production.”

Other winners include playwright Dominique Morisseau; poet Natalie Diaz; choreographer and performer Okwui Okpokwasili; and the youngest recipient in the 2018 class, 28-year-old composer and conductor, Matthew Aucoin.

Read the full list of winners here.

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Jasmine Weber

Jasmine Weber is an artist, writer, and former news editor at Hyperallergic. Follow her on Instagram and