DeCordova awards Rappaport Prize to Sam Durant

DeCordova is pleased to announce Sam Durant as the eighteenth recipient of the prestigious Rappaport Prize, an annual award of $25,000 given to a contemporary artist with strong connections to New England and a strong record of achievement. The Rappaport Prize, established in 2000, is one of the most generous contemporary art awards of its kind. In 2010, the Rappaport 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.
“We are delighted to award the 2017 Rappaport Prize to Sam Durant,” says deCordova Executive Director John Ravenal. “He has an impressive record of international and solo exhibitions and a substantial history of scholarly and critical attention. His thoughtful and timely exploration of social justice and civil rights aligns perfectly with the Rappaport Foundations’ commitment to a better society through supporting leadership in public policy, medicine, and the arts. And his Boston roots affirm deCordova’s deep engagement with New England artists.”

Sam Durant works in a variety of media—including painting, sculpture, drawing, and installations—to address the varying relationships between culture and politics. He draws inspiration from American history and engages subjects as diverse as the civil rights movement, southern rock music, and modernism. His art makes connections between history and present ongoing sociocultural debates, often calling attention to forgotten events from the past. Durant grew up in the Boston area, and exposure to an educational culture emphasizing democratic ideals, racial equality, and social justice created the framework for his artistic perspective. He has recently created major public art projects: Scaffold (2012), installed at the Walker Art Center in 2017 and now in an ongoing process of transformation after mediations with Dakota Native American elders, represented gallows used in seven hangings from 1859 to 2006 sanctioned by the U.S. government; Labyrinth (2015) in Philadelphia, PA, addressed mass incarceration; and The Meeting House (2016) in Concord, MA, examined the subject of race in colonial and contemporary New England. In 2012–13 Durant was an artist in residence at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles where he collaborated with the education department to produce a social media project called What #is a museum?

“It is such a wonderful surprise and tremendous honor to be recognized in my home region with the Rappaport Prize,” says Durant. “I am a New Englander to the core—its remarkable history has profoundly shaped and inspired me. The deCordova Museum was a big part of my formation as an artist, and my teacher George Greenamyer's work Mass Art Vehicle at deCordova was one of the first public sculptures I loved.  My work often puts me in the cross hairs of contentious and difficult debates, as it has recently, so deCordova’s acknowledgement is particularly timely—a cool drink of water for a parched soul."

The public is invited to attend the Rappaport Prize Lecture with Sam Durant on Thursday, October 26 at 6:30 pm at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Admission is free.

About the Artist
Born in Seattle in 1961, Sam Durant grew up in Massachusetts and is now based in Los Angeles. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, and a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. Durant currently teaches at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. 

Durant’s work has been included in numerous international exhibitions including Documenta 13; the Yokohama Triennial; and the Venice, Sydney, Busan, Liverpool, Panama, and Whitney Biennials. He has had recent solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo. His work can be found in a number of public collections, including Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium; and Tate Modern, London.  He is represented by Blum and Poe, Los Angeles; Paula Cooper, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Praz-Delavallade, Paris.

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 art, leadership in 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 endowed the prize, ensuring its continuation in perpetuity.

Past Rappaport Prize Winners
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

Related Public Programming
Rappaport Prize Lecture with Sam Durant
Thursday, October 26, 6:30 pm
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA 01773

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