Ann Hamilton honored with National Medal of Arts
Ann Hamilton, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Art at The Ohio State University, who is internationally recognized for the sensory surrounds of her large-scale multimedia installations, has been named a recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts.
The award will be presented by President Barack Obama at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House at 3 p.m. on Sept. 10. The event will be webcast live here.
“I am both humbled and proud to be part of this recognition of the arts, and the work of culture we are all engaged in making together,” Hamilton said.
The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the U.S. government. Hamilton is one of 11 individuals and organizations to be honored next week, along with actress Sally Field, author Stephen King and performer Meredith Monk. In addition, 10 National Humanities Medals will be presented.
“We congratulate Ann on receiving this highly prestigious and well-deserved honor that celebrates the arts in America,” said David Manderscheid, executive dean, College of Arts and Sciences. “We’re so proud that Ann is a part of the College of Arts and Sciences; she is an inspiration to the university, our students, our community and the nation.”
Hamilton, who joined Ohio State’s faculty in 2001, creates ephemeral environments and immersive experiences that poetically respond to the architectural presence and social history of their sites. She represented the United States in the 1999 Venice Biennale and has exhibited extensively around the world.
Her major installations include Park Avenue Armory (2013); The Guggenheim Museum, New York (2009); Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan (2006); Musée d’art Contemporain, Lyon, France (1997); Dia Center for the Arts, New York (1993); among others. She recently received a commission to create a large public art installation on a new waterfront development in Seattle and has been commissioned to design a $1 million art project for the Cortlandt Street subway station in Lower Manhattan, a station that was wiped off the map on Sept. 11, 2001.
Hamilton’s works are being digitally archived in a new publicly accessible collection within Ohio State’s Visual Resources Library, housed in the Department of History of Art. The collection, the Ann Hamilton Project Archive, contains more than 1,000 downloadable, high resolution images from 35 art installations by Hamilton, ranging from her time as a graduate student to recent large-scale installations exhibited worldwide.
Last year, Hamilton was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among her many honors, she is the recipient of the Heinz Award, MacArthur Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture and the Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.
Her 2011 installation Verse in Ohio State’s Thompson Library Buckeye Reading Room comprises a two-color cork floor laid as a field of words set in relief. Most recently at Ohio State, Hamilton collaborated with the SITI Company for the world premiere of the theater is a blank page, a unique immersive performance event at the Wexner Center for the Arts in April 2015.
“We are thrilled that this supreme national honor has been bestowed on Ann Hamilton, an artist whose singular body of work over four decades has indisputably amplified the very definition and experience of contemporary art. She is among a handful of artists with whom the Wexner Center has engaged on multiple occasions—through residencies, commissions, exhibitions, and performance—and the cumulative impact of her practice here and throughout the world is simply beyond measure,” said Sherri Geldin, director of the Wexner Center for the Arts. “That she is receiving this award alongside Meredith Monk and Alice Waters, two creative forces with whom Ann has collaborated over the years, makes this an especially exquisite and touching moment.”
Hamilton was born in Lima, Ohio, and earned a BFA in textile design from the University of Kansas and an MFA in sculpture from the Yale School of Art.