David Cole was awarded the Rappaport Prize for a body of work that is intelligent, politically aware, and emotionally stirring. For the most part, his work is a powerful critique of violent, hypocritical American culture. By crafting pieces from military materials using traditional techniques, Cole orchestrates an uncomfortable union between mundane household objects and specialized tools of violence. Part of his installation All-American features a decommissioned M60 machine gun mounted to a classic Radio Flyer wagon, and Baseball Study #6 places a baseball next to a grenade. Cole also addresses American domestic policy. His hand-sewn line of baby clothes could be carried by a designer boutique, were they not made of bullet-proof Kevlar, an indictment of a bloated military-industrial complex and the protectionist culture that supports it.

What did the prize mean to you?

"The prestige of the Rappaport Prize, and the attention and validation that receiving it will bring to my work are both hugely important—important to me and also to the institutions and collectors who support me. More tangible (and more vital, at least in the short-term), is the significant financial support of the award itself. Especially because the prize is unhindered by any specific final expectations, it is going to allow me to continue pushing my work forward into new work and new ideas—the most difficult momentum to maintain in such difficult economic times.

"I have already begun using a part of the prize to build a portable foundry. This tool, when finished, will give me the ability to complete two unfinished bodies of work that I am extremely excited about, but have not had the facilities to complete. In addition, the Rappaport Prize has allowed me to take the time to begin a proposal for an entirely new public work, which I will have finished and be able to begin presenting by the end of the winter. Neither of these things would have been possible without the generosity of the Rappaport Prize."

Where is he now?

Cole's work has been displayed in several solo exhibitions, including the 2009 show Dave Cole: Flags of the World at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT. He has won several Boston Art Awards, including People's Choice Award and Best Sculpture Show in 2008, and his work is included in the permanent collections of the RISD Museum in Rhode Island, the Danforth Museum in Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.