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The International Sculpture Center's
Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award

The ISC's Board of Trustees established the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991 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 sculpture field as a whole. Recipients are Magdalena Abakanowicz, Fletcher Benton, Louise Bourgeois, Sir Anthony Caro, Elizabeth Catlett, John Chamberlain, Eduardo Chillida, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, William King, Philip King, Manuel Neri, Mark di Suvero, Claes Oldenburg, Nam June Paik, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Gio' Pomodoro, Robert Rauschenberg, George Rickey, George Segal, Frank Stella, Kenneth Snelson and William Tucker.

2011   Frank Stella

To Karl Baron von Stein zum Altenstein, Konlgaberg, November 13, 1805-
Correspondence no. 3
CREDIT: © 2010 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  Born in 1936 in Massachusetts, Frank Stella moved to New York after college. In the 1960s, he produced many works that were included in a number of significant exhibitions in museums like the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Jewish Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His early works were regarded as a precursor to Minimalism, and they garnered immediate recognition and proved to define the art of the time. Stella made his introduction into printmaking, and in 1970 Stella became the youngest artist to receive a full-scale retrospective at MoMA, an honor he was given again in 1987. Stella is the recipient of many honorary degrees, honors and awards, including first prize in Tokyo’s International Biennial Exhibition of Paintings (1967), the Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture (1981), the Award of American Art from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1985), the Ordre des Arts et des Letters from the French government (1989), the Julio Gonzalez Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Arts in Valencia, Spain (2009) and the National Medal of Arts by President Obama (2009), among others. An accomplished sculptor, painter, printmaking, published author, costume designer, architect, educator, and muralist, Frank Stella continues to live and work in New York City.

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  Phillip King

Phillip King, Sun and Moon. 2007.  Painted stainless steel, 860 x 480 x 300 cm, edition of 3. Image Courtesy of Cass Sculpture Park

Born in Tunis, Tunisia in 1934, Phillip King graduated from Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1957, and he pursued his interest in sculpture at St. Martin’s School of Art from 1957-1958. During this time, he adopted a Brutalist-Surrealist style expressed in his small scale clay and plaster sculptures. In 1962, he began working in fiberglass and color, and later started to experiment mixing materials including steel, wood, and ceramics and in the 1990’s he studied large scale ceramics in Japan. In addition to creating art, Phillip King was also a teacher. Upon finishing his post graduate studies, King served as an assistant to Henry Moore and went on to become a full time teacher at St. Martin’s, a Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London, a Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy Schools, London, and finally the President of the Royal Academy. Phillip King was only the second British artist to have an exhibition at the Forte di Belvedere in Florence.

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  William Tucker

William Tucker, Greek Horse, 2003, bronze, 56 x 42 x 24 inches, edition 2 of 4. Photo courtesy McKee Gallery.

William Tucker was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1935 and moved to England at the age of 2. While studying Oxford University, he chose to continue his postgraduate studies in sculpture at the Central and St. Martin’s Schools of Art. Tucker came to public prominence as a distinguished sculptor while being included in the New Generation 1965 exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London . During his early career, Tucker worked primarily with steel and recycled wood to create abstract geometric figures that consist largely of negative space. His style evolved years later resulting in more solid pieces cast from plaster and concrete. Tucker made significant contributions to the sculpture world through his academic work, including his book The Language of Sculpture, published in 1974. He served as a Gregory Fellows at Leeds University Fine Arts department between 1968-1970, taught at both Columbia University and the New York Studio School, and is currently Co-chair of the Art Program at Bard College. William Tucker was selected to represent Britain at the 1972 Venice Biennale, and was the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for Sculpture in 1981 and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1986.

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  Richard Hunt

welded stainless steel 35’H x 20’W x 25’D Midway Airport Chicago, Illinois

Richard Hunt best known for his abstract metal sculptures and public artwork.  Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1935, Hunt was encouraged to pursue his art from a young age, and later attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During this time, he began to exhibit his sculpture around Chicago in art fairs, galleries, and other public arenas, and started to gain the attention of art critics.  In 1957, he was awarded the James Nelson Raymond Foreign Travel Fellowship, and spent the following year traveling and studying in England, France, Spain, and Italy before serving in the U.S. Army for the following two years. Over the next decade, Hunt was primarily working in his studio, and it was not until the early 1960s when he discovered a second career as a public sculptor.  While holding the title as the youngest artist to exhibit at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, Richard Hunt continued to make history by becoming the first African-American artist to have a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1971.  His artwork can be seen displayed all across the country, from the State of Illinois office building to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Memphis, Tennessee.  Richard Hunt has been the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, and he continues to create his artwork today.

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2008 . Fletcher Benton

Folded Circle T,
1999, cor-ten steel. 12 x 9 x 9 feet. Image Courtesy Fletcher Benton Studio/ARS, Artist Rights Society, New York.


Fletcher Benton was born in Jackson, Ohio in 1931. He began working within the arts as a sign painter, opening his first shop at the age of 14. In the early stages of his career Benton worked as an artist, educator, and building on his work as a painter became a pioneer in the bourgeoning field of kinetic sculpture. Benton grew up in Ohio, but spent significant time during the early stages of his career in San Francisco where he taught at California College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco Art Institute, and the California State University. Benton’s first solo exhibition was at Gump’s Gallery in San Francisco. Benton spent time abroad as well as lived in New York City before settling permanently in the Bay Area where he continues to live and work. Benton has participated in numerous exhibitions, including museums and galleries all over the globe, and his pieces are in many private and public collections world-wide.

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    Arnaldo Pomodoro

Sfera con sfera,
1982-1983, Bronze, ø 200 cm, Dublino, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Berkeley Library. Image Courtesy Arnaldo Pomodoro Studio.

Arnaldo Pomodoro was born in Italy in 1926. Pomodoro got his start in the arts as a stage and costume designer and a jewelry goldsmith, landing his first exhibition at the Galleria Numero, Florence in 1954. After traveling extensively including Paris and New York he spent a significant portion of his early days in Bay Area where worked as a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, CA and taught at Mills College in Oakland, CA. He was also included in the Venice Biennale in 1964, and he became the first artist to have a solo exhibition at the Marlborough galleries of New York and Rome. His pieces are now part of museum, private, and public collections throughout the world. Throughout his career as a sculptor he has continued his work in set and costume design for Italian theatre, founded the Fondazione Pomodoro, and continues to work on major theater productions in Italy. Arnaldo Pomodoro currently resides in Milan, Italy.

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2007   William King

stainless steel, 50 feet high



William King has been showing figurative sculpture on a regular basis in New York for over 50 years. His familiar, often long-legged, figures, embodying a unique blend of social satire, fantasy, and an affectionate eye for everyday life, have long been recognized as a distinctive contribution to American art. King was born in Jacksonville, Florida and grew up in Coconut Grove, Miami. After attending the University of Florida, he moved to New York in 1945, and graduated from Cooper Union in 1948. The following year, he went to Rome on a Fulbright scholarship. He has taught at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, the University of California, Berkeley, and elsewhere. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was President of the National Academy of Design between 1994 and 1998.
King’s work has been the subject of over 60 one-person exhibitions. Writings about the artist include reviews by Fairfield Porter (ArtNews, 1954, and The Nation, 1960), numerous essays by Hilton Kramer, and a recent review by Holland Cotter (The New York Times, 2007). The Alexandre Gallery recently presented “The Early Work of William King,” as well a 2004 survey of his recent terra cottas. The artist lives and works in East Hampton. King has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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2006   Manuel Neri

Untitled Kneeling Figure
Bronze, 40" x 18" x 25"
Courtesy of Anne Kohs and Associates


Manuel Neri was born in 1930 in Sanger, California. Neri is recognized for his life-size figurative sculptures in plaster, bronze, and marble, as well as for his association with the Bay Area Figurative movement during the 1960s. Since 1972, Neri has worked primarily with the same model, Mary Julia Klimenko, creating drawings and sculptures that merge contemporary sculptural concerns with classical forms. The anatomical skill of these works recalls the sculptures and drawings of Rodin, Giacometti and Degas. In Neri's work with the figure, he conveys an emotional inner state that is revealed through body language and gesture. In addition to his sculptural works in various media, Neri is known for his use of vibrant color in drawings and paintings on paper. In recent years, Neri has collaborated with other artists in creating limited-edition and unique artists' books.

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2005   Magdalena Abakanowicz

Standing Figures,
1994-95, Bronze.
Photographed by Jonty Wilde


Magdalena Abakanowicz is an internationally recognized artist, who, after attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, began her career as a painter. After gradually moving toward working with three-dimensional forms, in 1970 she made the artistic changes in scale and material and began creating figurative and non-figurative sculptures from burlap and resin, eventually moving to bronze, wood, stone, and steel. She has had installations in Italy, Israel, Germany, United States, South Korea, Lithuania, and Poland. After teaching as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan for 25 years, she was commissioned by Paris and designed Arboreal Architecture, an ecological city with skyscrapers covered with vegetation. She has created over 1000 sculptures worldwide and has also designed and choreographed dances deriving from her sculptures which are performed by a Japanese Butoh dance group and Polish dancers. Two of her most famous collections include War Games, huge tree trunks armed with steel, and Mutants, monumental metaphoric animals, animal heads and birds in bronze. She has received honors from the Rhode Island School of Design, The Academy of Fine Arts Lodz, Poland and the Pratt Institute, New York, as well as awards from Brazil, Germany, Austria, and France. She currently lives and works in Warsaw, Poland.


2004   Christo and Jeanne-Claude

The Gates, 2005.
Central Park, NYC.


Christo and Jeanne-Claude have created 18 major outdoor projects, which are among the most ambitious, innovative sculptures in the world. In February 2005, The Gates transformed New York City's Central Park, the space famously designed, starting in 1858, by Frederick Law Olmsted and Clavert Vaux. In a radical departure from most art, Christo and Jeanne Claude's projects require up to a quarter-century to realize, yet they have a life span limited to days and weeks, after which they are deconstructed and the materials recycled. Christo has beautifully described their nomadic quality: "Things in transition...airy...passing through." Their art pays attention to living beauty, mutability, evanescence, and the émigré.
— Jan Garden Castro (Sculpture Web Special Online)

2003   Elizabeth Catlett

Elvira, 1997.
Terra cotta
15.75 x 8.25 x 11.5 in.

Elizabeth Catlett was born in 1915 in Washington, DC. Her mother, who raised her, and her father, who died before her birth, were children of slaves; both were teachers in the DC public school system. Catlett received her BA from Howard University and her MFA from the University of Iowa, where her sculpture career began. For more than 30 years, in Durham, New Orleans, Manhattan, and Mexico City, she was an educator, teaching and administering students of all ages, most with little or no access to cultural and institutional power. In the 1940s, she met an extraordinary array of intellectuals driven by a similar sense of aesthetic and social purpose. In New York: Gwendolyn Bennett, W.E.B. Dubois, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and Paul Robeson. In Mexico City, where she moved in 1946: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and David Alfaro Siquieros. In 1947 Catlett began a decisive affiliation with the Taller de Grafica Popular (Graphic Arts Workshop), where developing “an art of the highest quality possible” and creating “art for the people of Mexico” were defining principles. There she met the painter and printmaker Francisco Mora (“Pancho”), whom she married in 1948, and with whom she had three sons, Francisco, Juan, and David, all of whom are professionally involved in the arts. In the aftermath of the McCarthy years, Catlett’s resistance torace, class, and gender injustice drew the ire of the U.S. government. The same conviction and legibility, combined with her human and aesthetic constancy and grace, made her an influential figure in the Civil Rights and Black Arts movements. In 1983, while based in Cuernavaca, she and Pancho bought an apartment in Battery Park City, in the shadow of the World Trade Center, where they spent a couple of months a year. Last spring Pancho died. In September, she proudly announced at a lecture that she was once again an American citizen. Elizabeth Catlett is the recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s 2003 Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. "
— Michael Brenson (Sculpture Vol.22 No.3)

2002   Gio' Pomodoro

Study for Reclined Form, 1963

Gio' Pomodoro's work is widely known in Europe, the United States, South America, Israel, and Japan. He was born in 1930 in Orciano di Pesaro, where he attended the Technical School for Land-Surveyors. In the mid-'50s, he moved to Milan. He began exhibiting in 1954 at the Galleria Numero in Florence and the Galleria Montenapoleone in Milan. By 1955, he was showing at the best Italian galleries of the time: Galleria del Cavallino (Venice), Galleria del Naviglio (Milan), and Galleria dell'Obelisco (Rome), which belonged to Gaspero del Corso who also had a gallery in New York. In 1956 he was invited to the Venice Biennale, and in 1959 he exhibited in Kassel at Documenta II. At the beginning of the '60s, Pomodoro was an established sculptor with a long curriculum of solo exhibitions throughout Italy and Europe. Pomodoro's more than 100 solo exhibitions include shows at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; the Kölnische Kunstverein in Cologne, and the 1962 Venice Biennale. He has participated in the São Paulo Biennial, and his work has been included in many important museum shows, including "The Italian Metamorphosis 1943-1968" at the Guggenheim Museum. His public sculptures can be found in such cities as Prato, Milan, Frankfurt, Lugano, and Tel Aviv; other works are been acquired by museums and private collections around the world, including the Tate Gallery in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, and the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome. Gio' Pomodoro continues to live and work in his studio in Querceta (Forte dei Marmi, Tuscany) and Milan. Years, experience, and success have not dampened his engagement and enthusiasm for experimentation. As Pomodoro says, "Work, it is the result of work."
— Laura Tansini (Sculpture vol 21, no. 3)

2001   Nam June Paik

From Neander Valley to Silicon Valley, 1996. 13 vintage TV cabinets, 5 Samsung 13-in. TVs, 8 KEC 9-in. TVs, fur, antlers, stone, and wood, 112 x 9 x 34 in.

A vast influence, originality, and self-generation of ideas have contributed to Nam June Paik’s unique and persistently transformative vision. He appropriated images from commerce and politics into the medium of video without making the result look cynical. Paik sees a reality for the future not in terms of commerce but in terms of deepening our understanding of the human condition. He is a visionary who understands the commercial and ideological forces with which he is dealing. Yet at the same time, he has proven his work capable of resisting those forces. Paik’s vision as an artist is about giving the future back to ordinary human beings who believe in the potential for joy and emotion in the realm of the mind and the senses.
—Robert C. Morgan (Sculpture vol.20, no.1)

2000   Mark di Suvero

Joie de Vivre,
1997. Painted steel,
70 x 30.5 x 24.5 ft.
View of work as installed on
the Esplanade des Invalides, Paris.

The monumental work of Mark di Suvero concurrently embraces the scale of landscape, technology, and urbanism. di Suvero welds, hoists, balances, and suspends colossal structural elements. Not unlike the orchestration required to build a modern skyscraper, his constructions involve huge pieces of equipment, many laborers, and vigilant coordination. Paradoxically, the heroic effort involved to construct one of his large sculptures is a delicate proposition of poetic inspiration and calculated balance. The pieces engender the bravado and beauty, the heft and vulnerability of both industrial and aesthetic productions. The strenuous, tenacious process of creation, the surprising juxtapositions of stable armatures and swinging elements, and the negotiations of abstract forms and found objects express the contradictions of contemporary life.
—Patricia C. Phillips (Sculpture vol.15, no.8)

1999   George Rickey

Triple L Excentric Gyratory, 1979.
152 x 99 in.

As one of the world’s foremost kinetic sculptors, sharing much in common with Calder and Tinguely, Rickey emerges as a unique and powerful presence in his own right by focusing on “movement as means.” Less interested in the form of his sculptures than in the patterns of their movement, he also eschews motorized mechanization. His theoretical writings regarding kinetic sculpture combine a unique sensitivity to the forces that define the world with an especially well-developed talent for analytical insight. Over four decades of dedicated experimentation, Rickey has forged a vast body of work, bringing him international acclaim.
—Carla Hanzal (Sculpture vol.18, no.8)

1999   Kenneth Snelson

2000. Stainless steel,
130 x 96 x 84 in.

Kenneth Snelson. As works of pure abstraction, Snelson’s sculptures share an objective with much of the abstract art that preceded them. What has distinguished Snelson’s work since its beginning in the early 1960s is a unique combination of lyrical sensibility and an extraordinary pitch of sheer intelligence. This unusual fusion of abilities has created a continuing series of large-scale works that have entered into the common awareness of contemporary sculpture and into museum collections throughout the world. While Snelson’s sculptures are clearly remarkable feats of engineering ingenuity, they are also artistic gestures: shimmering visions of startling beauty.
—Mark Daniel Cohen (Sculpture vol.18, no.8)

View an ISC Web Special on Kenneth Snelson:
Portrait of the Atom as a Force Diagram in Space

 - With Streaming Video interview


1998   Eduardo Chillida

Deep is the Air—
Stele XIII
1990. Granite,
48.75 x 41.25 x 68 in.

Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida has earned international commissions and awards for his monumental public sculptures for more than 40 years. His combination of sculptural form and metaphysical significance is integrated with architectural and environmental space to produce distinct urban spaces. Chillida considers his relentless search for the unknown in art to be an adventure in learning, and his sculptural study of temporal and spatial relationships continues to inspire books and essays by leading philosophers. In a recent work at a quarry site in the Canary Islands, the alignment of the work with the sun and moon as they rise over the space and the immense proportions of the work itself are essential elements of his monumental sculpture.
—Sandra Wagner (Sculpture vol.16, no.9)

1997   Anthony Caro

Child’s Tower Room,
1983–84. Japanese oak,
381 x 274.5 x 274.5 cm.

Anthony Caro’s abstract metal constructions are austere, reserved, geometric, industrial; while many works rest atop tables, some recent ones have the girth and heft of a shed. Having first met with some success as a figurative sculptor, by the end of the 1960s he was making a new sort of utterly abstract sculpture. With a horizontal orientation, his work appeared to float, even levitate, just above the ground. Caro brought new ideas to bear on the notion of mass and also made welding a more flexible method. He often empties out the middle of a piece and positions non-representational components as if he were a painter making marks on the left or right edges of a canvas. In some recent works, this British master positions components to create spaces that function as if they were rooms.
—Phyllis Tuchman (Sculpture vol.16, no.8)

1995   Robert Rauschenberg

Eco—Echo IV, 1992–93. Sonar-activated motor, screenprinting on aluminum and lexan, with hand painting, 88 x 73 x 26 in.

Sculpture has been Rauschenberg’s primary means of expression from the early ’50s to the present. He has practiced sculpture as traditionally understood, and he has repeatedly extended strict definitions of the medium. With incisiveness, ingenuity, and humor, Rauschenberg changed the course of art history by establishing new genres of sculpture—found object, environmental, theatrical, photographic, and filmic—by including a wide range of contemporary subjects, and by using non-fine art materials along with conventional ones. Rauschenberg’s work is committed to dialogue with the world around him, bridging “the gap between art and life,” as he once explained.
—Miranda McClintic (Sculpture vol.15, no.5)

1994   Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

Typewriter Eraser, Scale X,
1999. Painted stainless steel and fiberglass, 6.026 x 3.874 x 3.454 meters.


Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen began working in partnership in 1976. Together they executed over 50 large-scale, site-specific projects that established direct contact with a wide audience into various urban settings in Europe, Asia, and the United States. The couple transformed iconic, commonplace items such as rubber stamps and tools into humorous public monuments dedicated to the modern experience. Their collaboration extended to smaller-scale park and garden sculptures as well as to indoor installations.

1993   John Chamberlain

Haute Cinq,
1990. Painted steel,
194 x 191.5 x 162. 9 cm.

Chamberlain’s crushed assemblages of automotive steel have secured him a place in art history and in nearly every major museum collection. Frequently discussed in relation to Abstract Expressionism, these works share a gestural vigor and visceral quality with the paintings of that era. In the world of sculpture, Chamberlain is celebrated for the introduction of non-traditional materials, for an unprecedented sculpture process of clustering and folding metal, and for the bold inclusion of color. Arranging, selecting, and fitting, his artistic vocabulary includes, in addition to his signature crushed metal, foam rubber, Plexiglas, metallic foil, and brown paper bags, as well as methods that include cutting, coiling, crumpling, wadding, smashing, folding, bending, and, more recently, spiraling.
—Suzanne Ramljak (Sculpture vol.12, no.5)

1992   George Segal

Swan Motel,
1999. Plaster, wood, Lite-Bright pegs, light bulbs, and sockets,
96 x 96 x 27 in.

George Segal was one of the most public and private of artists; his works in plaster and other materials and his numerous public commissions are sited all around the world, yet he relentlessly pursued a very personal sculpture, portraying, for the most part, individuals engaged in everyday life. His works address people, not the public. Lovers lie on a bed. A solitary woman peers out a window. A group of silent passengers ride on a bus. Segal’s subject was never popular culture, but rather the individual and his or her emotions. His integrity of expression, which frequently led to controversy, has perhaps been his greatest legacy.
—Elizabeth Wilcox (Sculpture vol.11, no.5)

  Louise Bourgeois

1999, and Spiders, 1996. Bronze. Works installed at Rockefeller Center.

Bourgeois has always had the courage of her convictions; her work comes from an inner force, a profound sense of herself and her times. Women artists particularly have benefited from her independence in creating outside of a mainstream ideology of purity or materialism in an art world that frequently misconstrues function and reality. Bourgeois probes memory, psyche, the visceral, the uncanny. In the span of her long career, with all the shifts and changes in the art world, her art is and has been an indispensable presence—an art that is far-reaching, transcending her own history.
—Nancy Spero (Sculpture vol.13, no.5)