AO News: Winners of ‘Rob Pruitt Presents: The First Annual Art Awards’ Announced at Ceremony at the Guggenheim Museum

October 30th, 2009

The First Annual Art Awards via

Last night, October 29, marked the inauguration of a new annual art event: Rob Pruitt presented The First Annual Art Awards at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New Yorkin association with the city’s oldest alternative art space, White Columns.

The awards were conceived by artist, Rob Pruitt, as a performance-based artwork; for the occasion he recruited the characters of Index Magazine’s wry satirical web series, Delusional Downtown Divas. The New York Times have reported that “…the Divas schemed to infiltrate the art establishment by any means possible. In one segment they pitched a tent in the Guggenheim, doing their laundry in the lobby fountain.”

Jeffrey Deitch and Kembra Pfahler at The First Annual Art Awards at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum via

More images, text and related links after the jump….

Rob Pruitt’s ‘The First Annual Art Awards’ ceremony at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum via Guggenheim Museum

The Delusional Downtown Divas via

An artist famed for mocking the artworld in his work, there was inevitably doubts over the seriousness with which one ought to view the awards. Nancy Spector, chief curator of the Guggenheim commented that “there’s a little faux-naïveté there, and we all become complicit.  We’re interested in the fine line between parody and reality that Rob so beautifully embodies in his work.”

For Pruitt himself, he acknowledged that “in these economic times when probably nothing is selling anyway, it’s a good moment to come together and have a laugh and raise money.” – the event was also acting as a fundraiser for the Guggenheim, White columns and Studio in a School. Pruitt also recognizes what is the surely the most distinguished element of the awards, “it gives praise to some things that have excited a large amount of people over the last year.”

Winner of the Lifetime Achievement awards: Curator Kasper König and artist Joan Jonas via

Artist of the Year: Mary Heilmann via

A group of more than four hundred artists and art world professionals were invited to form the Nominating Council for the inaugural awards’ eleven categories. And, while posing as a mockery of a Hollywood award ceremony, with high profile prizes up-for-grabs, the Art Awards set to honor and publicly acknowledge the real successes and achievements of artists, curators, critics, and gallerists during the previous year. Two lifetime Achievement Awards were determined by Rob Pruitt along with organizing partners the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and White Columns; these awards were bestowed upon artist Joan Jonas and curator Kasper König of the Museum Ludwig, Cologne.

Winner Cynthia Plaster Caster and Rob Pruitt via

Kylie Minogue, James Franco, Linda Yablonsky, and Klaus Biesenbach via

After a dinner of locally sourced cuisine from Brooklyn-based restaurants and chefs, presenters including Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum Richard Armstrong, Cecily Brown, Jeffrey Deitch, James Franco, Knight Landesman, Julianne Moore, and Guggenheim Chief Curator Nancy Spector announced the winners:

Artist of the Year
WINNER: Mary Heilmann
Louise Bourgeois
Urs Fischer
Dan Graham

Curator of the Year
WINNER: Connie Butler
Klaus Biesenbach
Daniel Birnbaum
Massimiliano Gioni

Exhibition Outside the United States
WINNER: Jeff Koons, Versailles, Château de Versailles, France
Francis Bacon, Tate Britain, London
Mike Kelley: Educational Complex Onwards: 1995–2008, Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Wolfgang Tillmans: Lighter, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin

Group Show of the Year, Gallery
WINNER: Who’s Afraid of Jasper Johns?, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York
A Twilight Art, Harris Lieberman, New York
Your Gold Teeth II, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
ZERO in New York, Sperone Westwater, New York

Group Show of the Year, Museum
WINNER: The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
After Nature, New Museum, New York
The Quick and the Dead, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York

Calvin Klein Collection New Artist of the Year Award
WINNER: Ryan Trecartin
Elad Lassry
Daniel McDonald
Marlo Pascual

The Rob Pruitt Award
WINNER: Cynthia Plaster Caster

Solo Show of the Year, Gallery
WINNER: Manzoni: A Retrospective, Gagosian Gallery, New York
Cindy Sherman, Metro Pictures, New York
Paul Sharits, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York
Picasso: Mosqueteros, Gagosian Gallery, New York

Solo Show of the Year, Museum
WINNER: Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Museum of Modern Art, New York
Dan Graham: Beyond, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Lawrence Weiner: As Far as the Eye Can See, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton, New Museum, New York

Writer of the Year
WINNER: Jerry Saltz
Tim Griffin
John Kelsey
Walter Robinson

Stefano Tonchi and Klaus Biesenbach via

Charlotte Ford and Ryan Trecartin via

Highlights from the Art Awards ceremony including video montages created for each category will be available to view on Additionally, a series of segments devoted to The First Annual Art Awards will be broadcast by Ovation TV and is available on

Related Links:
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
White Columns
Studio in a School
The Delusional Downtown Divas [Index Magazine]
Art Awards and Irony at the Guggenheim [NYTimes]
Screen Test [The New Yorker]
The First Annual Art Awards [Daily News]
Singing the Art World Elrectric []
People are talking about… The First Annual Art Awards at the Guggenheim [Vogue]