SANTA FE, NM.- The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
announced today that University of Pittsburgh professor Terry Smith is the 2009 winner of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center Book Prize for his 1993 book, Making the Modern: Industry, Art, and Design in America.
Smith is the inaugural winner of the prize, awarded every three years to the author of a book on some aspect of American modernism published within the past 25 years. Smiths book was selected from a field that included over 60 titles submitted for consideration.
I am absolutely delighted that my book has been awarded this prize, Smith said. It is a great honor to be recognized in this way by my peers on the committee, and by an institution that has become the center for the study of modernism in the United States. I appreciate the generosity of spirit expressed in giving the inaugural award in an American studies field to an Australian. It exemplifies what is best about this country.
Smiths book is a comprehensive study of the impact of mass production and mass consumption on the whole range of American visual culture, from factory architecture through photography and art to industrial design. It includes chapters on the Ford plants in Detroit, the Farm Security Administration photographers during the Depression, Life magazine, Mexican visitors Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and the New York Worlds Fair of 1939-40. The book was published in 1993 by the University of Chicago Press and is still in print.
Barbara Buhler Lynes, curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the Emily Fisher Landau director of the Georgia OKeeffe Museum Research Center, added that Smiths book was chosen because of its excellence of writing and scholarship, its originality and its outstanding and multi-faceted exploration of the emergence and flourishing of modernism as a phenomenon in American art and culture. Smiths book explores this fascinating development in new and thought-provoking ways which greatly contribute to our understanding of American modernism.
The committee of jurors for the book prize said they chose Smiths book as the Outstanding contribution to the study of American modern art that reflects the mission of the [Georgia] OKeeffe Museum Research Center to expand awareness of the phenomenon known as modernism, an elusive and confusing term that is most broadly defined as a phenomenon in American art and culture that has been ongoing since the 1890s.
Australian Terry Smith is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Henry Clay Frick Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. From 1994 to 2001, he was Power Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the Power Institute at the University of Sydneys Foundation for Art and Visual Culture.
He was a member of the Art and Language group in New York and a founder of Sydney-based Union Media Services. He was a founding board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and currently a board member at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. In 1996, he was elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a membré titulaire of the Comité International dHistoire de lArt.
Smiths major research interests are world contemporary art, including its institutional and social contexts; the histories of multiple modernities and modernisms; the history and theory of contemporaneity; and the historiography of art history and art criticism. He has special expertise in international contemporary art, American visual cultures since 1870 and Australian art since settlement, including Aboriginal art.
Established in 2009 to honor the museums commitment to the study of American modernism, the Georgia OKeeffe Museum Research Center Book Prize will be awarded every three years to the author of a book on some aspect of American modernism published in the past 25 years. A cash award of $5,000 accompanies the prize.
The committee of jurors for the prize was made up of distinctive scholars of American modernism: Michael Leja, professor of American Art at the University of Pennsylvania; Nancy Mowll Matthews, curator at the Williams College Museum of Art; Patricia Hills, professor of art history at Boston University; and Jonathan Fineberg, professor of art history at the University of Illinois and director of Illinois at the Phillips at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C.
The committee also awarded two honorable mentions: University of Notre Dame Professor of Art History Kathleen Pynes Art and the Higher Life: Painting and Evolutionary Thought in Late Nineteenth-Century America (University of Texas Press, 1996), and Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America (The New Press, 1990) by writer, artist, curator and Galisteo, N.M., resident Lucy R. Lippard.