Event Information | Elizabeth Catlett Special
| Selected Works (Flash
PRESS RELEASE ~ February
3, 2003 [see Sculpture
Magazine online article]
ELIZABETH CATLETT TO RECEIVE AWARD FOR
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE
Sculpture Center (ISC), the world's leading international sculpture
organization, has selected the celebrated African-American sculptor Elizabeth
Catlett to receive its 2003 Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary
Sculpture Award. The award was presented to the artist at the 2003
Lifetime Achievement Award Gala on Thursday, April 24, 2003 at a private
club in New York City. Renowned art critic and writer Michael Brenson
and art historian David Driskell, one of the worlds leading authorities
on African-American art, provided the evenings commentary. Ms. Catlett
will be present
to accept the award.
Camille O. Cosby
and William H. Cosby, Jr., and Joyce Wein and George Wein are Honorary
Chairpersons of the Gala. Camille and well-known actor Bill Cosby are
avid collectors of Ms. Catletts work, as are Joyce and jazz impresario
George Wein. June Kelly, New York City gallery owner, who has represented
Ms. Catlett since 1993, is the Gala Chair. Gala Co-Chairs include Sylvia
and Eddie Brown; Ernestine and Malcolm Brown; Thelma Driskell and David
Driskell; Carol Sutton Lewis and William J. Lewis Jr.; and Jacqueline
Bradley and Clarence Otis, Jr.
Proceeds from the
event will benefited the educational programs and membership services
of the International Sculpture Center.
Elizabeth Catlett is now considered one of the most influential artists
of the 20th century. Known primarily as a sculptor, but also a printmaker,
Catlett is acclaimed for both her technical brilliance and the emotional
impact of her works.
A pioneer in the
African-American art movement, Catlett set out to create art that would
be displayed in places African-Americans could visit. Her goal was to
create pieces to which African-Americans could relate, and therefore would
want to go to museums and galleries to see. With consistent themes of
injustice, black women as figures of strength, and the mother and child
bond in her works, she has disproven the contention that only white subjects
have universality; her pieces have become regarded as art that all humanity
can appreciate, regardless of ethnicity. Catlett creates her three-dimensional
pieces in a variety of mediums, including stone, bronze, terra cotta,
marble and wood.
Born in Washington,
D.C., the granddaughter of slaves, Catlett received her BA from Howard
University where she studied and interacted with leading black artists
and art historians, including James Porter, James Wells, Lois Mailou Jones,
James Herring and Alzono Aden. At the University of Iowa, where she earned
the first Master of Fine Arts degree to be awarded by that institution,
she studied with Grant Wood, head of the art department, and was influenced
in her sculpture pieces by his concept of regionalism and the common thread
that joins people. It is from Wood she got the direction with which she
has lived by her entire career: to do her art about what she knew best
- her own people.
Catlett also studied
ceramics at the Art Institute of Chicago and later moved to New York,
where she worked privately with French sculptor, Ossip Zadkine, and learned
lithography at the Art Students League.
Catlett moved to
Mexico in the late 1940s where she continued to study ceramics with
Francisco Zuniga and woodcarving with Jose L. Ruiz at the Escuela
de Pintura y Escultura. She became a member, along with her husband, Mexican
artist Francisco Mora, of the nationalist art center, El Taller de Grafica
Popular, founded in 1937 by Luis Arenal, Leopoldo Mendez, and Pablo OHiggins.
Here she worked with muralists, including Diego Rivera, and remained a
member of the Taller until 1966.
In 1958, Catlett
began teaching sculpture at Mexicos National University School of
Fine Arts and soon became the first woman director of the schools
sculpture department. Since her retirement from teaching in 1976, she
has devoted herself completely to her art.
Despite the admiration
and respect she received in Mexicos art community, it was not until
she first exhibited at the June Kelly Gallery that she began gaining similar
stature in the United States. Afterward, the Metropolitan Museum, the
Wadsworth Athenaeum and the Baltimore Museum of Art purchased her work,
and in 1998 she was given a 50-year retrospective at the Neuberger Museum
in Purchase, New York.
winning her first prize in sculpture at the 1940 American Negro Exposition
in Chicago for a Mother and Child figure, Elizabeth Catlett has been the
recipient of many other awards in sculpture and printmaking throughout
has been seen in numerous one-person and group shows throughout the United
States, Mexico, and Europe. Her work is represented in many national and
international museum collections, including the Chrysler Museum of Art,
Norfolk, VA; the Museum of Modern Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem,
New York; National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; The High
Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; New Orleans Museum of Art; The Narodniko Musea
(National Museum) Prague, Czech Republic; and El Museo de Arte, Mexico.
About the ISC
and the Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award
Sculpture Center (ISC) advances the creation and understanding of
sculpture and its unique, vital contribution to society. In addition to
its extensive member benefits and services, the ISCs programs
include the International Sculpture Conferences, Sculpture
magazine, education and recognition programs and the award-winning
website www.sculpture.org. The ISC is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Board of Directors 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. Past recipients are Louise Bourgeois,
Sir Anthony Caro, John Chamberlain, Eduardo Chillida, Mark di Suvero,
Claes Oldenburg, Nam June Paik, Gio' Pomodoro, Robert Rauschenberg, George
Rickey, George Segal and Kenneth Snelson.
Watch April's issue
of Sculpture Magazine for Michael Brenson's interview
with Elizabeth Catlett.
Event Information | Elizabeth
Catlett Special | Top