MADRID.- (EFE).- Spanish artist Antoni Muntadas was presented on Wednesday with the 2009 Velazquez Prize, the Culture Ministry here announced.
The award was bestowed in recognition of his outstanding and intense career and contribution to contemporary national and international art.
Born in Barcelona in 1942 and a resident of New York since 1971, Muntadas is a pioneer in electronic art.
The Velazquez Prize, which comes with a cash award of 125,000 euros ($170,000), has been presented by the Spanish Culture Ministry since 1992.
It is given to candidates proposed by fine arts academies, modern and contemporary art museums, art critics' associations and other institutions linked to the plastic arts.
After personally congratulating the artist, Spanish Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde said that Muntadas "is one of the most important conceptual artists at the present time."
The panel of judges was headed by the general director of Fine Arts and Cultural Assets, Jose Jimenez, and included 2008 Velazquez winner Cildo Meireles, art critics Simon Marchan Fiz and Anna Maria Guasch and several gallery and museum directors.
Besides Meireles, past winners of the prize have included Ramon Gaya, Antoni Tapies, Pablo Palazuelo, Juan Soriano, Antonio Lopez and Luis Gordillo. EFE