A number of grants, fellowships and big-ticket exhibitions have been announced recently, but among them, do not miss the news of the 2019 Artadia Awards, given earlier this month. Artadia is a national nonprofit that provides individual visual artists with monetary grants in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, New York City (where it is currently based), San Francisco (where it was founded in 1997) and in Los Angeles, where 2019 grants have gone to Carmen Argote, Ron Athey and Diedrick Brackens.
The Artadia Awards were founded to fill the chasm in individual artist grants left by the dissolution of the National Endowment for the Arts program in the late 1990s. Argote and Athey will each receive $10,000; as the inaugural Marciano Artadia awardee, Brackens will receive $25,000. This is Artadia’s fifth year making unrestricted awards to artists in Los Angeles.
Olivia Marciano tells the Weekly that, "It is such a pleasure to celebrate the inaugural Marciano Artadia Awardee, Diedrick Brackens, in addition to the two Los Angeles Artadia Awardees, Carmen Argote and Ron Athey. Brackens addresses a complicated intersection of handwork, textile, the body, and historical symbolism that gives what he weaves and stitches a profound depth and resonance. I am looking forward to the Marciano Artadia Award supporting Artadia’s mission as a key resource to support artists of unique skill and vision in Los Angeles on an annual basis, and could not be more thrilled with the outcome of this year’s competitive selection process."
Perhaps it is Diedrick Brackens can be said to speak for them all when he remarks, “I am so grateful for this support. It’s dramatically life-changing to think less about how work will be funded, to dream bigger, take more risks and pay some bills...”
Carmen Argote is a multidisciplinary artist who works through an architectural idiom and conceptual painting and sculptural practice to prioritize the intersection of personal experience and economic systems. Ron Athey is a legendary multimedia visual and performance artist who has been redefining genres and advancing conversations around AIDS, classicism and queer culture. Diedrick Brackens weaves densely detailed textiles that speak to the multiplicities of diasporic black and queer identity in the United States.
The three winners were selected by first-round jurors Pavel Py, curator of visual arts at the Walker Art Center; Erin Christovale, assistant curator, Hammer Museum; and Zino Saro-Wiwa, artist. Anna Katz, assistant curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, joined Christovale for the second and final round. The jurors conducted studio visits with each of the six finalists, who included Eddie Aparicio, Gelare Koshgozaran and Jennifer Moon.
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Of the awardees, Christovale notes in a statement: “I believe Carmen, Ron and Diedrick are shining examples of the vast constellation of creativity that drives our city. I appreciate how thoughtful and incredibly dedicated they are to their crafts and how labor-intensive their respective practices are. I am proud to stand by these brilliant artists who are leading Los Angeles into the future.”
Anna Katz adds, “While Carmen, Diedrick and Ron work in markedly different, idiosyncratic modes ... all three are exceptionally creative intellects and makers.”