I’ve previously mentioned that the Turner prize is the most prestigious art award you can receive in England, the American equivalent is The National Medal of Arts, which is presented directly by the President- usually to an artist in the latter stages of their career. Yesterday President Obama awarded 80-year-old minimalist hard-edged color field innovator Ellsworth Kelly the National Medal of Arts.
Since the creation of the award in 1984 less than 20 painters have been awarded one, Kelly is in rarefied air as only a few of the other 18 are still alive.
The other painters who are past recipients are: Willem de Kooning, Romare Bearden, Robert Motherwell, Jasper Johns,Richard Diebenkorn,Robert Rauschenberg,Wayne Thiebaud,Roy Lichtenstein,Maurice Sendak,Agnes Martin,Helen Frankenthaler,Al Hirschfeld,John Ruthven,George Tooker,Andrew Wyeth,Milton Glaser,Frank Stella,Will Barnet.
Thus far this is only the fifth National Medal of Arts Barack Obama has awarded to a painter. Aside from Ellsworth Kelly, he also gave medals to 22 other artists, writers and creators yesterday, including this nerd (which is all the internet seems to be talking about- overshadowing the rest in it’s viral nerdosity).
Written by Cojo “Art Juggernaut”