DeCordova Awards 20th Annual Rappaport Prize to Boston-based Visual Artist Daniela Rivera


DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum announces Boston-based visual artist Daniela Rivera as the 2019 recipient of its annual Rappaport Prize. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the prestigious award, which is presented to a contemporary artist with strong connections to New England and a proven record of achievement. Established in 2000, the Rappaport Prize is one of the most generous contemporary art awards of its kind. In 2010, the Prize was endowed in perpetuity by the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, assuring the ongoing support of contemporary art and artists in New England. In 2019, The Rappaport Foundation made an additional gift of $500,000 in order to increase the annual award amount from $25,000 to $35,000, beginning with this year’s Prize.

“I’m delighted for deCordova to award this year’s twentieth Rappaport Prize to Daniela Rivera,” says John B. Ravenal, The Trustees’ Vice President for Arts & Culture and Artistic Director at deCordova. “She has deep ties to New England and the Boston area, and I’ve long admired her sophisticated site-specific installations with their fascinating intersection of politics, history, and perception. I can’t think of a more deserving recipient.”

Daniela Rivera (born 1973 in Santiago, Chile) is a painter and installation artist, often working with immersive architectural forms on a monumental scale. Having grown up under the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile before moving to Boston in 2002, Rivera addresses the specific history of repression that she experienced firsthand while also drawing her viewers into larger global narratives of dislocation and turmoil.

“The Rappaport Prize is an incredible honor to receive. It is such an affirming recognition of my work over the last 17 years in Massachusetts,” says Rivera. “It gives value to my experience as a U.S. and New England resident, as well as to the choices I've made and the life circumstances I've faced here. This prize also opens up so many possibilities for my work, including an opera on immigration that I have been wanting to create and can now begin planning as a result.” 

The public is invited to attend the annual Rappaport Prize Lecture with Daniela Rivera on Wednesday, October 23 at 6:30PM at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum featuring a reception with and talk by the artist.

“We are thrilled to help celebrate deCordova’s twentieth anniversary of this important award,” adds Trustees President & CEO Barbara Erickson. “We look forward to welcoming our newly combined Trustees and deCordova members and supporters to join us for Daniela’s upcoming lecture this fall.”

Program Details

The Rappaport Prize Lecture with Daniela Rivera will be held on Wednesday, October 23, in the deCordova’s Dewey Gallery. The evening will begin with a reception and cash bar at 6PM followed by the artist’s talk at 6:30PM. Event is free; space is limited, and registration is required. Please reserve tickets at DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum is located at 51 Sandy Pond Road in Lincoln, MA.

About the Artist

Daniela Rivera received her BFA from the School of Fine Arts, Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago (1996) and her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2006), and was a fellow at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (2006). She has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2017); the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago, Chile (2012); LaMontagne Gallery, Boston; and the Davis Museum, Wellesley, MA (2010). She has also been included in group exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (2010, 2011). Rivera is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Wellesley College, where she has taught since 2008.

Born the year of Augusto Pinochet’s seizure of power in Chile in 1973, Rivera’s coming-of-age was profoundly shaped by the ensuing years of military dictatorship, including the disappearance of activists and government critics. Her work is informed by the politics of repression that she experienced growing up in a dictatorship with a philosophy that the role of the artist today is to provide visibility to questions that may not yet have been asked or perhaps have been buried for a variety of reasons.

When Rivera moved to Boston in 2002, she turned from painting to sculpture and installation. Daniela Rivera: The Andes Inverted, a 2017–2018 exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, resulted from research that Rivera undertook into an evacuated mining town on the edge of Chile’s Chuquicamata copper mine. Removing a section of the museum’s pristine walls to expose the building’s inner structure and installing a monumental sculpture of the Andes, the exhibition was both productive and destructive, additive and subtractive, which is how Rivera describes the long-term social and ecological effects of mining. Exemplifying Rivera’s architectural installations, The Andes Inverted surrounded its viewers in such a way that its references to mining, labor, and dictatorship did not seem far away, but instead urgent and ever-present.

About the Rappaport Prize

Since its inception in 2000, the Rappaport Prize has been an investment in both individual artists and the broader art community. Founded and funded by the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, the Rappaport Prize follows the Foundation’s mission of promoting leadership in art, public policy, and medical research. Endowed at, and selected annually by, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, the Rappaport Prize supports artists while educating the public about developments in American contemporary art.

The prize celebrates the achievement and potential of an artist who has demonstrated significant creativity and vision, and encourages the recipient to continue a career of innovative art making. Together, deCordova and the Rappaport Foundation hope to create a community of accomplished artists whose careers have been enhanced by the recognition of the Rappaport Prize. In 2010, the Rappaport Foundation permanently endowed the prize, ensuring its continuation in perpetuity.

Each year deCordova invites art professionals from around the country—museum directors, curators, collectors, and artists—to submit nominations for the Prize based on set criteria. Each nominee is asked to meet the following criteria:

  • Produce artwork of exceptional quality
  • Demonstrate excellence and leadership in their chosen practice
  • Engage with aesthetic issues which have had a significant impact on contemporary art
  • Have a relationship to New England—whether they were born, educated, resided, or currently reside in the region.

All forms of media are considered. The Museum does not discriminate based on age, financial status, reputation, race, sexual orientation, or gender. After reviewing the nominations, as well as suggesting their own nominations, deCordova's curators and Director select the Prize winner.

Past Rappaport Prize Winners

2018 Titus Kaphar
2017 Sam Durant
2016 Barkley Hendricks
2015 Matt Saunders
2014 Liz Deschenes
2013 Ann Pibal
2012 Suara Welitoff
2011 Orly Genger
2010 Liza Johnson
2009 Dave Cole
2008 Ursula von Rydingsvard
2007 Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
2006 Abelardo Morell
2005 Sarah Walker
2004 Debra Olin
2003 John Bisbee
2002 Lars-Erik Fisk
2001 Annee Spileos Scott
2000 Jennifer Hall

Trustees and DeCordova Announce Rappaport Award Winner-FINAL.pdf257.46 KB