Last month, I talked about the beginnings of the International Sculpture Center in 1960. You’ll find more about the first 50 years of the ISC and about our founder, Elden Tefft, in this issue of Sculpture, and we look forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary in New York on October 22.
Perhaps the second most important date in ISC history was 1991, when the ISC presented its first Lifetime Achievement Award to renowned French-American artist, Louise Bourgeois. The ISC established the Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize individual sculptors who have made exemplary contributions to the field of sculpture. Candidates for the award are masters of sculptural processes and techniques who have devoted their careers to the development of a laudable body of sculptural work as well as to the advancement of the field of sculpture.
It is interesting to note, in light of this description, that the ISC presented this award to Bourgeois 10 years after her first retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art but two years before a survey of American art at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, a show that omitted Bourgeois’s work on the grounds that it was not significant enough. The ISC award also preceded the seminal body of work that Bourgeois began in the late 1990s based on the image of the spider, including, of course, the more than nine-meter-tall Maman, which made its debut at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2000 as part of the now-famous Unilever Series.
The ISC is proud of the list of Lifetime Achievement Award winners (you’ll find their names on this page). Together, these sculptors reflect the wonderful range of contemporary sculpture over the last 20 years and a recognition of the contributions of three-dimensional art to the art world and society as a whole. We look back to the first presentation of this award to Louise Bourgeois with great pleasure, and it is with great excitement that we look forward—on the 20th anniversary of the Lifetime Achievement Award—to presenting this important award to Frank Stella in 2011.
Stella was born in 1936, and by the age of 25, he had already been recognized as an important influence in American painting. He joined Leo Castelli’s stable of artists and became the youngest artist ever to receive a retrospective (in 1970) at the Museum of Modern Art. Later in his career, Stella became as well known and respected as a sculptor as he had been as a painter. His reflections on abstraction, first presented as a series of lectures at Harvard and later published as Working Space, combine an artist’s insight, scholarly detail, and idiosyncratic interpretation to explode many received ideas about the dominant language of 20th-century art.
I hope you will be able to join us in April 2011 in New York City as we continue the tradition of presenting the ISC’s Lifetime Achievement Award to the most deserving living sculptors around the world.
Chairman, ISC Board of Directors
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