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News Room

High Museum of Art Names Kirsten Pai Buick 2015 Recipient of David C. Driskell Prize

February 18, 2015

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Buick to be honored at the 11th annual Driskell Prize Dinner on May 2

ATLANTA, Feb. 18, 2015 – The High Museum of Art today named Dr. Kirsten Pai Buick the 2015 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize. Named for the renowned African-American artist and art scholar, the Driskell Prize was founded in 2005 as the first national award to recognize an early or mid-career scholar or artist whose work makes an original and important contribution to the field of African-American art or art history. Buick will be honored at the Driskell Prize Dinner in Atlanta on Saturday, May 2, 2015, at 6:30 p.m.

An associate professor of art history at the University of New Mexico, Buick specializes in American art, focusing her research on African-American art, the impact of race and gender on the history of art, representations of the American landscape, and the history of women as patrons and collectors of the arts. She has advanced scholarship of the work of numerous African-American artists through publications including the first book-length examination of the life and career of 19th-century sculptor Mary Edmonia Lewis.

“Kirsten Pai Buick is a seasoned scholar with an impassioned voice as an art historian,” said Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr., director of the High. “She is distinguished by her groundbreaking research on a broad range of historical and contemporary subjects as well as her commitment as a professor. These accomplishments make her a deserving recipient of this year’s Driskell Prize.”

The selection process for the 2015 recipient of the Driskell Prize began with a call for nominations from a national pool of artists, curators, teachers, collectors and art historians. Buick was chosen from these nominations by review committee members assembled by the High, which this year included Michael Rooks, the High’s Wieland Family curator of modern and contemporary art; Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, 2013 Driskell Prize recipient and director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art; and Lauren Haynes, assistant curator, Studio Museum in Harlem.

The 2015 Driskell Prize Dinner is co-chaired by Curley M. Dossman, Jr., and Merry McCleary with Honorary Chair Michael Lomax. Tickets for the black-tie event may be purchased by contacting Rhonda Matheison at rhonda.matheison@woodruffcenter.org or 404-733-4403.

About Kirsten Pai Buick, Ph.D.
Buick is a tenured associate professor at the University of New Mexico, where she has taught for more than 14 years. Buick earned her bachelor’s degree in art history and Italian literature in 1985 from the University of Chicago. In the early 1990s, she moved to Italy for eight months to continue her work on Italian studies. Noting the prominence of U.S. visual culture in Europe during her time there, she re-focused her area of concentration to British colonial and American art upon her return to the United States. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in art history from the University of Michigan.

Buick has published extensively on African-American art. Her book “Child of the Fire: Mary Edmonia Lewis and the Problem of Art History’s Black and Indian Subject” was published by Duke University Press, and her second book, “In Authenticity: Kara Walker and the Eidetics of Racism,” is currently in progress. Her published articles include studies on the work of artists including Daniel Coburn, Patrick Nagatani, Joseph Delaney, Aaron Douglas, Horace Pippin and Kehinde Wiley.

In addition to receiving the Driskell Prize, Buick has earned numerous academic, professional and scholarly awards and grants including the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Predoctoral Fellowship, the Charles Gaius Bolin Fellowship at Williams College, CAA Professional Development Fellowship in Art History, Rhoades Foundation Visiting Lectureship and the UNM University Libraries Faculty Acknowledgement Award.

About the David C. Driskell Prize
Established by the High in 2005, the David C. Driskell Prize is the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African American art and art history. Past recipients include Lyle Ashton Harris (2014),  Andrea Barnwell Brownlee (2013), Rashid Johnson (2012), Valerie Cassel Oliver (2011), Renee Stout (2010), Krista A. Thompson (2009), Xaviera Simmons (2008), Franklin Sirmans (2007), (2006) and Dr. Kellie Jones (2005). A cash award of $25,000 accompanies the prize. Proceeds from the High’s annual Driskell Prize Dinner go toward both the David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisitions Fund and the David C. Driskell African American Art Endowment. Through the David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisitions Fund, the High has acquired works by artists including Romare Bearden, Rashid Johnson, Radcliffe Bailey, Nick Cave, Willie Cole, John T. Scott and Renee Stout.

About David C. Driskell
David Driskell is a practicing artist and scholar whose work on the African Diaspora spans more than four decades. The High’s relationship with Driskell began in 2000, when the Museum presented the concurrent exhibitions “To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities” and “Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection,” which examined African American art in the broad historical context of modern and contemporary art. Born in 1931 in Eatonton, Ga., Driskell is distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Howard University in 1955 and his master of fine arts degree from Catholic University in 1962. He also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine in 1953 and studied art history in The Hague, the Netherlands, in 1964. More information about Driskell is available at www.driskellcenter.umd.edu.

About the High Museum of Art
The High is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 14,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography, folk art and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists. For more information about the High, visit high.org.

About The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is one of the largest arts centers in the world, home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Arts for Learning. Each year, these arts organizations play host to over 1.2 million patrons at The Woodruff Arts Center’s midtown Atlanta location, one of the only arts centers in the United States to host both visual and performing arts on a single campus. Through its work with educators and schools, The Woodruff Arts Center serves over 300,000 students annually and is the largest arts educator in Georgia

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Media contacts:

Marci Tate
High Museum of Art
Manager of Public Relations
marci.tate@woodruffcenter.org
404-733-4585

Anne Randolph Powell
High Museum of Art
Public Relations Specialist
annerandolph.powell@woodruffcenter.org
404-733-4423