Rodney McMillian Wins First $100,000 Suzanne Deal Booth Prize

McMillian will get a solo show at the Jones Center.

Installation view, "Rodney McMillian: Landscape Painting," Aspen Art Museum, 2015. Artwork © Rodney McMillian. Image courtesy the artist, Aspen Art Museum, and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photograph by Tony Prikryl.

Artist Rodney McMillian is the winner of the Contemporary Austin’s inaugural Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize. In addition to receiving a $100,000 award, his work will be the subject of solo exhibition at the Jones Center, the museum’s downtown venue, slated to open February 3, 2018.

The prize, which was announced in July, is part of the museum’s mission to attract global talent to Texas.

“When I joined the Contemporary in 2013, my goal was to bring in artists and exhibitions that added to the ongoing dialogue in the contemporary art world and that would help us bring new ideas to the Austin area,” said Louis Grachos, director of the Contemporary Austin, in a statement.

Rodney McMillian. Courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

Rodney McMillian. Courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

Using a wide range of mediums and materials, McMillian explores both personal and political issues in his work, exploring themes such as class, gender, and race in sculpture, painting, video, performance, and installation art. He also creates self-described “post-consumer objects” using found and scavenged materials.

“An award such as this can enable an artist to reimagine what is possible for one’s practice or one’s self,” said McMillian in a statement, noting that he is “very honored and thrilled to be a recipient.”

Rodney McMillian, <em>Untitled (The Supreme Court Painting)</em>, 2004 –06. Artwork © Rodney McMillian. Image courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photograph by Robert Wedemeyer.

Rodney McMillian, Untitled (The Supreme Court Painting), 2004 –06. Artwork © Rodney McMillian. Image courtesy the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photograph by Robert Wedemeyer.

Heather Pesanti, senior curator of the Contemporary Austin, led the advisory committee for the award, which included Stephanie Barron, senior curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Peter Eleey, chief curator, MoMA PS1, New York; Hamza Walker, executive director, LAXART; and Heidi Zuckerman, CEO and director, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado.

“As the patron,” said prize founder Suzanne Deal Booth in a statement, “I look forward to witnessing the project as it unfolds, and to seeing the dynamic possibilities that Rodney brings to the museum and the city of Austin.”

Installation view, "International Artist-in-Residence New Works 08.1," Artpace, San Antonio, Texas, 2008. Curated by Franklin Sirmans. Artwork © Rodney McMillian. Image courtesy the artist, Artpace, and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photograph by Todd Johnson.

Installation view, “International Artist-in-Residence New Works 08.1,” Artpace, San Antonio, Texas, 2008. Curated by Franklin Sirmans. Artwork © Rodney McMillian. Image courtesy the artist, Artpace, and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Photograph by Todd Johnson.


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