The jailed artist was praised for his activism against censorship and authoritarianism in Cuba.
Most of the year, the art world’s attention is focused on the big, international cities: New York, London, Miami Beach, LA, Basel, etc. But starting in the fall of 2009, ArtPrize put the far lesser-known city of Grand Rapids, Michigan on the art world map. ArtPrize quickly became famous in part for its openness — anyone over 18 may enter their artwork; in part for its voting style — often described as American Idol–like, with anyone allowed to register and vote; and in part for the large sums of money it gives away — $200,000 for the winner of the public vote, another $160,000 for the others in the public top 10, plus a new $100,000 Grand Juried prize this year and five more $20,000 juried awards in specific categories. That’s a whole lot of prize money.
By now the votes are in, and the winner of LA’s inaugural Mohn Award has been announced: Botswana-born painter Meleko Mokgosi will receive $100,000 over the next two years, and a monograph will be published about his work. The Mohn Award, which is being funded by LA philanthropists and collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn, was an American Idol–style arts competition that enlisted both art experts and the general public. The former chose five finalists from among the 60 artists in the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. biennial — also happening for the first time this year — and the latter then decided the winner.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I had a great deal of fun at last night’s Art Fag City Rob Pruitt Art Awards and Auction (AFCRPAAaA) and I was happy to be a part of it and see Occupy Wall Street receive the Best Jerry Award from Jerry Saltz himself.
We have great news to share with you today. Yesterday, Hyperallergic was awarded the best art blog prize at the 2011 “Art and Reality” conference in St. Petersburg, Russia. The weekend-long gathering was organized by the Moscow-based Petr Konchalovsky Foundation.