The 2018 award recipients are:
Dotty Attie, 80
María Magdalena Campos-Pons, 59Patty Chang, 46
Beverly Fishman, 63
Kate Gilmore, 42
Heather Hart, 43
Deborah Roberts, 56
Rocío Rodríguez, 66
Michèle Stephenson, 53
Betty Tompkins, 73
Winners were chosen from among a competitive pool of applicants recommended by a group of distinguished art historians, curators, writers, and artists who serve as anonymous nominators. The 2018 award recipients range in age from 42 to 80 and work in mediums including painting, installation,performance, photography, and film. The “no strings-attached” grant is intended to provide them freedom to continue development of their creative vision. Bios of each recipient follow at end of release.Anonymous Was a Woman was founded by artist Susan Unterberg. In July 2018, after more than two decades of anonymity, Unterberg revealed her identity as the founder and sole patron of the grant program, which has awarded over $5.8 million in grants to 230 women artists to date.
“I am delighted to, for the first time, personally and publicly congratulate this year’s award recipients,” said Unterberg. “I founded Anonymous Was a Woman to fill a void that I witnessed myself: support for women artists in the middle stages of their careers. I am thrilled to continue this mission by recognizing this year’s group of remarkable women at a moment that there is heightened discussion about the vitality of women’s voices.”
While it is not need-based, the award has often had a transformative impact on the lives and work of the recipients, many of whom received the grant at critical junctions in their careers or before they had received wider recognition. Award winners have gone on to present solo exhibitions at institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Venice Biennale, among many others; to create important public art projects, performances, and installations; and to receive significant critical acclaim.
Anonymous Was A Woman
Anonymous Was A Woman is an unrestricted grant of $25,000 that enables women artists over 40 years of age and at a significant junction in their lives or careers, to continue to grow and pursue their work. The Award is given to ten artists a year in recognition of an artist's accomplishments, artistic growth, originality, and potential. It is not need-based. The Award is by nomination only. The name of the grant program, Anonymous Was A Woman, refers to a line in Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”. As the name implies, nominators and those associated with the program have, until this point, been unnamed. Artist Susan Unterberg created the Award in 1996, partly in response to the decision of the National Endowment for the Arts to cease support of individual artists. Each year, an outstanding group of distinguished women—art historians, curators, writers, and previous winners from across the country— serve as nominators. To date, over 600 notable women have participated as nominators and panelists, and the Award has been given to 230 artists.
2018 Anonymous Was a Woman Award Recipients
Dotty Attie (b. 1938, Pennsauken, New Jersey) is a painter who lives and works in New York City, utilizing images from the art of the past in her work and social commentary. In 1971 she helped found AIR Gallery, at that time the sole gallery in New York to show only the art of women. Since 1972 she has been making small works (first, 2-1⁄2-inch square drawings and, since 1985, six-inch by six-inch paintings). Several of these paintings are combined, and then combined again with a text, sometimes taken from other sources, sometimes written by her, to make one work that has an ambiguous narrative. She has exhibited widely in the United States and internationally, including Paris, Osaka, Cairo, London, Venice, and Berlin. Attie’s work is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Yale Museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Walker Art Center, and the National Art Gallery, London, among many others. She has received several awards, including two CAPS grants, two NEA grants, and a US/Japan Fellowship. Attie earned her BA at the Philadelphia College of Art.
María Magdalena Campos-Pons (American, b. 1959, Cuba) is a Cuban-born artist who works in photography, performance, painting, sculpture, film, and video. She grew up on a sugar plantation in a family with Nigerian, Hispanic and Chinese roots. Her Nigerian ancestors were brought to Cuba as slaves in the 19th century and passed on traditions, rituals, and beliefs. Her polyglot heritage profoundly influenced her practice, which is often autobiographical, investigating themes of history, memory, gender and religion and how they inform identity. She has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada, among other institutions. She has presented over 30 solo commissioned performances and has participated in the Venice Biennale, the Dakar Biennale, Johannesburg Biennial, Documenta14, the Guangzhou Triennial, and Prospect.4 Triennial. Campos- Pons’ works are in over 30 museum collections including the Smithsonian Institution, The Whitney, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Canada, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Perez Art Museum, Miami and the Fogg Art Museum. She currently is the endowed Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair at Vanderbilt University. In 2019, she will also serve as Artist-Curator for the Havana Art Biennial in Cuba.
Patty Chang (b. 1972, San Leandro, California) is an artist working in performance, video, writing, and installation. Her work has a capacity to explore complex subjects nearly simultaneously, as does life. Her work has been exhibited nationwide and internationally at such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New Museum, BAK, Basis voor actuele Kunst, Utrecht, the Hammer Museum, Fri Art Centre d’Art de Freibourg, Chinese Arts Centre, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the M+ Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Her work received a 2003 award from the Rockefeller Foundation and a 2012 Creative Capital award. In 2008, she was a finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize and a Guna S. Mundheim Fellow in the Visual Arts at the American Academy in Berlin. In 2014, Chang was a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow. Her acclaimed exhibition “Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake 2009–2017” will travel to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2019. Chang received her BA from the University of California, San Diego. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
Beverly Fishman (b. 1955, Philadelphia) is a painter and sculptor who adopts the language of abstraction to explore the body, issues of identity, and contemporary culture. For more than three decades, she has used imagery drawn from science, medicine, and the pharmaceutical industry to promote inquiry into the effects of these institutions on both individuals and societies. Fishman’s work has been the subject of over thirty solo exhibitions at galleries in New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Thessaloniki, Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Detroit. Her work has also been shown at the Chrysler Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Toledo Museum of Art, and the Columbus Museum of Art, among other institutions. Her work is included in many public and private collections including Chrysler Museum of Art, Columbus Museum of Art, Borusan Contemporary Istanbul, Cranbrook Art Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Hallmark Art Collection, MacArthur Foundation Collection, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Pizzuti Collection, Progressive Art Collection, Toledo Museum of Art, United Nations Embassy in Istanbul,, and University of Michigan Museum of Art. She is the recipient of awards including the Hassam, Speicher, Betts, and Symons Purchase Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters; a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award; an Artist Space Exhibition Grant; and an NEA Fellowship Grant, among others. Fishman received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1977 from the Philadelphia College of Art, and her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1980 from Yale University. She has been the Artist-in-Residence and Head of Painting at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI since 1992. Fishman is represented by Miles McEnery Gallery, New York; Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago; and Library Street Collective, Detroit.
Kate Gilmore (b. 1975, Washington, D.C.) is a New York-based artist who works in installation, video, and performance, often imposing upon her own physicality in post-feminist critiques of sex and gender. Gilmore received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts and her BA from Bates College. She has participated in the Whitney Biennial (2010), the Moscow Biennial (2011), PS1 Greater New York, MoMA/PS1 (2005 and 2010) in addition to solo exhibitions at the Everson Museum, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, MoCA Cleveland, Public Art Fund in Bryant Park, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati. She has been the recipient of several international awards and honors including the Guggenheim Fellowship, Art Prize/Art Juried Award, Rauschenberg Residency Award, Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, Art Matters Grant, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Award for Artistic Excellence, the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance, “In the Public Realm” from the Public Art Fund, The LMCC Workspace Residency, New York Foundation for The Arts Fellowship, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Residency. Her work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Rose Art Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Gilmore is an Associate Professor of Art and Design at Purchase College, SUNY.
Heather Hart (b. 1975, Seattle) is a Brooklyn-based artist whose interdisciplinary practice explores nostalgic futurism, amalgams of distorted traditions and symbols, handed down and mashed-up to fit our prospective needs. Hart was an artist in residence at Joan Mitchell Center, McColl Center of Art + Innovation, Bemis Center for Art, LMCC Workspace, Skowhegan, Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, Santa Fe Art Institute, Fine Arts Work Center and at the Whitney ISP. She received grants from Creative Capital, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Harpo Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and NYFA. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, including at Rodman Hall Art Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, Seattle Art Museum, Doris McCarthy Gallery, Greensboro, NC for Elsewhere, Studio Museum in Harlem, ICA Philadelphia, Art in General, The Drawing Center, Tarble Arts Center, and the Brooklyn Museum. She studied at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Princeton University in New Jersey and received her MFA from Rutgers University.
Deborah Roberts (b. 1962, Austin, Texas) is a mixed media artist whose work challenges the notion of ideal beauty. Her work has been exhibited internationally across the U.S. and Europe. Roberts’ work is in the collections of Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, LACMA, Block Museum of Art, Blanton Museum of Art, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Montclair Art Museum, and The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery. Roberts is the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2016) and Ginsburg-Klaus Award Fellowship (2014). She received her MFA from Syracuse University, New York. She lives and works in Austin, Texas. Roberts is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.
Rocío Rodríguez, (American, b. 1952, Cuba) is a painter living and working in Atlanta, Georgia. Rodríguez’s work encompasses drawings and paintings, and in the past decade she has incorporated large wall drawings into her oeuvre. She has exhibited widely in over thirty solo exhibitions and in numerous curated group exhibitions in the United States. Her work is in various permanent collections, among them the High Museum of Art, the Huntsville Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Telfair Museum of Art, in addition to numerous private collections. Rodríguez has been the recipient of a number of awards and grants among them a Cintas Foundation Fellowship, a ‘Southern Regional’ Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, an Artadia Award, and a residency at Marfa Contemporary, Marfa, TX. Her work has also been featured in two books, Out of the Rubble, and No- PLACENESS: Art in a Post-Urban Landscape. She received her BFA and MFA degrees from the University of Georgia. In 2019 Ms. Rodríguez will have a thirty-year retrospective of drawings at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta.
Michèle Stephenson (American, b. 1965, Port au Prince, Haiti) is a filmmaker, artist, and author who
pulls from her Haitian and Panamanian roots to tell her stories. Her work has appeared on a variety of
broadcast and web platforms, including PBS, Showtime, and MTV. Her most recent feature documentary,
American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys including Best Documentary and Best News
Coverage of a Contemporary Issue. The film also won the Jury Prize at Sundance (2013), and was
selected for the New York Film Festival's Main Slate Program (2013). Her collaborative film series with
New York Times Op-Docs, A Conversation on Race, won the Online Journalism Award for Commentary
(2016). Stephenson and her work have been honored with numerous awards including the inaugural
Chicken & Egg Pictures Filmmaker Breakthrough Award (2016) and the PUMA BritDoc Impact Award
for a Film with the Greatest Impact on Society (2014). She is also a Skoll Sundance Storytellers of
Change Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow (2016). Her recent book, Promises Kept, written along with co-
authors Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work
Betty Tompkins (b. 1945, Washington, D.C.) is a painter who works in New York City and Wayne County, Pennsylvania. She works with the themes of realistically depicted sex and text meant to define or insult women.The language is either sent to her or she finds it in the news or on the internet. The themes are often intertwined. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Brooklyn Museum.