The 1995-1996 AICA AWARDS

by Bill Bace

On Monday, December 9 the United States Chapter of the International Association of Art critics (AICA) will formally present the winners of the organization's 1995-1996 annual awards for best United States exhibitions and exhibition catalogues of the year.

This year, Cezanne, curated jointly by Joseph Richel at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Francoise Cachin, director of the Musees de France, was voted the overall best show at a museum, both nationally and regionally. The exhibition catalogue for the show also won the first place award for the best museum catalogue. The Piet Mondrian exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art came in second in the museum exhibition category.

Women artists have received many of the AICA awards this year. The critics gave the award for best gallery show to Paula Cooper's exhibition of Yayoi Kusama's works from the 1950s and 1960s. The three-venue show organized by Otis School of Art and Design in Los Angeles of Karen Carson's work (which travelled from Otis, to the Santa Monica Museum, and at LACE) won the prize for best exhibition at an alternative space. Inside the Visible, the fascinating show of work by women artists at the Boston ICA last winter, received the alternative space award for second place.

Ellen Gallagher, who made her New York debut at Mary Boone, won first prize for the best gallery show by an emerging artist.

The award for the best video show or installation was made to Tony Oursler's presentation at Metro Pictures, while Pepon Ossorio at Ronald Feldman Gallery and Gary Hill's exhibition at the Philadelphia Institute for Contemporary Art tied for second place. The Whitney Museum's retrospective of Robert Frank's work won the award for the best photography exhibition. In this category, three shows tied for second place. They are In/sight: African Photographers, 1940 to the Present, the summer 1996 show of African photography at the Guggenheim Museum; the show of Hiroshi Sugimoto's work organized by the Metropolitan Museum (it also traveled to Houston); and the Roy de Carava Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.

MoMA also won the award for best architecture exhibition for Terry Riley's show, Light Constructions. William Rubin's catalogue for his exhibition, Picasso and Portraiture tied with Brancusi, (another Philadelphia Museum blockbuster) for second prize in the vote for best museum catalogue. Exemplifying the increasingly frequent strategic and transnational alliances between institutions behind these exhibitions is the fact that MoMA's drawings curator, Margit Rowell, was one of the Brancusi organizers, along with Philadelphia's Ann Temkin and Frederich Bach from the Pompidou in Paris.

AICA/USA is the American Chapter of the international organization which is a non-governmental organization originally affiliated with and chartered by UNESCO almost fifty years ago. AICA's international headquarters are located in Paris.

These awards bring attention to the frequently under-recognized work of artists, museum curators, writers, and gallerists. AICA's 300 American members vote on these awards each year.

This year, for the first time in its history, the international organization has elected an American president, Kim Levin, veteran critic for The Village Voice. Levin, who has just overseen the Scandianavian survey, Borealis, which opened in November in Copenhagen, is well-known in Europe for her curatorial as well as her critical work.

The presentation of the awards will take place at Artists Space in SoHo.

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Bill Bace is Publisher and Editor of REVIEW