Clockwise from top left: 2023 MacArthur Fellows Raven Chacon, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, a drawing of Carolyn Lazard by Charles Benton, and Dyani White Hawk. (illustration by Charles Benton © Charles Benton; all photos courtesy John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Visual artists Raven Chacon, Dyani White Hawk, Carolyn Lazard, and María Magdalena Campos-Pons are among the 20 recipients of this year’s MacArthur Fellowship, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today, October 4.

Spanning science, art, law, literature, business, and education, the winners of this year’s fellowship are awarded an unrestricted $800,000 stipend divided into equal quarterly payments over the next five years “to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.” Last year, the grant was raised by $175k from the previous $625,000. Spotlighting the achievements of individuals rather than institutions, the foundation emphasizes that there are no requirements or expectations for fellows over the course of the five-year grant installments.

Pulitzer Prize-winning interdisciplinary artist Raven Chacon was selected for his experimental compositions that merge visual art, performance, and music to delve into the relationships and histories connecting people and landscapes. Originally from Fort Defiance, Arizona, the Diné (Navajo) artist is celebrated for works such as American Ledger (No. 1) (2018), a large-scale score installation exploring the history of settler colonialism and the displacement of Native communities in America, and Voiceless Mass (2021), which reflects on the historical power dynamics between religious institutions and Indigenous communities.

Dyani White Hawk, a multidisciplinary artist with Sičáŋǧu Lakota roots, was honored with this year’s grant for her work that focuses on the historically “underrecognized yet enduring influence” of Indigenous practices on modern and contemporary art movements. Multi-dimensional works such as Wopila|Lineage (2022), which was featured in last year’s Whitney Biennial, and her series Quiet Strength (2016–2020) arrange traditional Native American materials like beads and quills in geometric shapes that reference Lakota cultural symbols and mid-20th-century abstract movements.

Cuban artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons, who grew up in former slave barracks on a Caribbean sugar plantation, was also a winner of this year’s fellowship for her multidisciplinary artworks that evaluate her Chinese-Nigerian roots in the context of broader global inequalities and community diaspora. She is noted for her early installation, Replenishing (2003), which featured large-format Polaroid photographs of herself and her mother. Her work is currently on display in New York City in a survey exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, Campos-Pons: Behold.

Carolyn Lazard, based in Philadelphia, received the MacArthur Fellowship for their artwork that examines issues of institutional ableism and accessibility through mediums such as video, installation, sculpture, and performance. Often utilizing mass-produced manufactured objects like a HEPA air purifier and a power-lifter recliner chair, Lazard interrogates the historical violence of medical and legal systems and their own experience living with chronic illness in works such as CRIP TIME (2018) and Long Take (2022).

Other notable winners of this year’s grant include the current United States Poet Laureate Ada Limón; Patrick Makuakāne, an expert hula dancer and Hawaiian cultural preservationist; and composer and pianist Courtney Bryan.

Maya Pontone (she/her) is a Staff News Writer at Hyperallergic. Originally from Northern New Jersey, she currently resides in Brooklyn, where she covers daily news, both within and outside New York City....

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