Rob Pruitt’s 2010 Art Awards: the winners

At an awards ceremony and dinner on December 8, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum announced the winners of Rob Pruitt’s 2010 Art Awards, the second annual celebration honoring notable individuals, exhibitions, and projects that made a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art during the past year. Awards in 15 categories were presented at a fundraising event benefiting the Guggenheim Foundation and visual arts nonprofit White Columns on Wednesday, December 8, 2010, at the nightclub and music venue Webster Hall.

Artist Rob Pruitt, whose conceptual practice is rooted in a pop sensibility and a playful critique of art-world structures, conceived the event as a performance-based artwork that follows the format of a Hollywood awards ceremony. Designed with a flourish of showbiz glamour, the Art Awards harness the energy and accomplishments of the international arts community while simultaneously supporting two of its institutions.

A group of more than 1,000 artists and arts professionals were invited to form an anonymous Art Awards Council to nominate and then vote upon four nominees in categories that focus primarily on exhibitions and projects that took place over the past year (July 2009 to July 2010), in the United States, as well as one category recognizing an international exhibition. The Rob Pruitt Award was decided solely by the artist. The winners for each category are:

Alternative Space of the Year
WINNER: Artists Space, New York
179 Canal, New York
Cleopatra’s, Brooklyn, New York
Light Industry, Brooklyn, New York

Alternative Project of the Year
Apartment Show, various locations, New York
edia Int’l Group, Foundation Barbin, New York
Jennifer Rubell, Creation, Performa 09, New York

Artist of the Year
WINNER: Louise Bourgeois
Marina Abramovic
John Baldessari
Trisha Donnelly

Blogger or Critic of the Year
WINNER: Jerry Saltz
Howard Halle
Paddy Johnson
Linda Yablonsky

Curator of the Year
WINNER: Chrissie Iles
Massimiliano Gioni
Laura Hoptman
Neville Wakefield

Exhibition outside the United States
WINNER: John Baldessari: Pure Beauty, Tate Modern, London (in association with Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
Rosemarie Trockel: Deliquescence of the Mother, Kunsthalle Zürich
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Specific Objects without Specific Form, Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels
Matthew Barney: Prayer Sheet with the Wound and the Nail, Schaulager, Basel

Group Show of the Year, Gallery
WINNER: Primary Atmospheres: Works from California 1960–1970, David Zwirner, New York
Lush Life, various locations, New York
Picture Industry (Goodbye to All That), Regen Projects, Los Angeles
Your History Is Not Our History: New York in the 1980s, Haunch of Venison, New York

Group Show of the Year, Museum
WINNER: In & Out of Amsterdam: Travels in Conceptual Art, 1960–1976, Museum of Modern Art, New York
At Home/Not At Home: Works from the Collection of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York
Greater New York, MoMA P.S. 1, Long Island City, New York
2010 Whitney Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

New Artist of the Year
WINNER: Tauba Auerbach
Michele Abeles
Liz Magic Laser
Ryan McNamara

The Rob Pruitt Award
WINNER: Lena Dunham

Solo Show of the Year, Gallery
WINNER: Trisha Donnelly, Casey Kaplan Gallery, New York
Claude Monet: Late Work, Gagosian Gallery, New York
Gelitin: Blind Sculpture, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York
Jonathan Horowitz: Go Vegan! Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York

Solo Show of the Year, Museum
WINNER: Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Otto Dix, Neue Galerie, New York
Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

In addition, Lifetime Achievement Awards were awarded to Jonas Mekas and Martha Rosler. The Artist-Educator Achievement Award, a new distinction added for this year’s celebration, was presented to Marilyn Minter.

Writer, editor, and downtown fixture Glenn O’Brien presided over the event as the Master of Ceremonies. The event script was penned by Pruitt and O’Brien, along with writers David Colman, Amy Kellner, and Linda Yablonsky. The awards—black-and-white silk-screened paintings of an engraved trophy designed by Pruitt—were distributed by a distinguished cast of presenters, including Bill Powers, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, and Jerry Saltz of the Bravo television series Work of Art; musician Michael Stipe and Michael Ward Stout, President, Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; Mary Heilmann, the 2009 “Artist of the Year”; artist Marina Abramovic and Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA P.S. 1; artists John Currin and Rachel Feinstein; artists Lizzie Bougatsos and Spencer Sweeney; Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Guggenheim Museum; and Matthew Higgs, Director, White Columns, among others.

The evening also featured performances by artists Martin Creed and Kalup Linzy. The commissioned Art Awards theme song and other original music were composed by Matthew Friedberger and His Orchestra, who played at the event. Tribute films created by Yorgo Alexopoulos were screened as part of the ceremony. Dinner was provided by Roberta’s, of Bushwick, Brooklyn. Table décor was created by Pruitt along with fellow artists John Baldessari, Terence Koh, Jeff Koons, and Josh Smith. An after-party following the presentation featured music by Rub-N-Tug.