Marilyn Arsem Is First Performance Artist To Win Maud Morgan Prize

Featured image: Arsem performing "One Day" at a former Trappist monastery in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, July 15, 2002. Image courtesy of marilynarsem.net.
Marilyn Arsem, The Color of Power (Sleeping in Honey), at the Asiatopia 10th Performance Art Festival in Bangkok, 2008. Photo: Peter Baren, via ​ veniceperformanceart.org.

Marilyn Arsem,
The Color of Power (Sleeping in Honey), at the Asiatopia 10th Performance Art Festival in Bangkok, 2008.
Photo: Peter Baren, via ​veniceperformanceart.org.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has named Marilyn Arsem as the winner of the 2015 Maud Morgan Prize. This is the first time the prize has been awarded to a performance artist, reports Artforum.

A Boston-based performance artist, Arsem founded Mobius, an interdisciplinary collective of artists in the mid-1970s. She went on to become head of the performance art department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where she had been a faculty member for 27 years.

The artist has played a significant role in establishing performance art as a serious art form. In the 1960s she participated in “happenings.” In the 1970s she participated in many festivals and has subsequently performed in a variety of cities all over the world.

Often she explores notions of death and the afterlife, women’s work, and war.

She focuses on site-specific works, engaging with the history and politics of the country, and ultimately the materiality of each site. Past performance sites have included a former Cold War missile base in the US, a 15th-century Turkish bath in Macedonia, an Argentine aluminum factory, and the location where the Spanish landed in the Philippines.

Arsem will receive a $10,000 cash prize and will create new performances for a special Morgan Prize solo exhibition, which is planned for late 2015 at the Museum of Fine Arts.

[Featured image: Arsem performing “One Day” at a former Trappist monastery in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, July 15, 2002. Image courtesy of marilynarsem.net.]

 


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