The Contemporary Austin announces Tarek Atoui as the winner of the 2022 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Art Prize
August 7, 2020
Atoui will receive an unrestricted cash award, along with production expenses for a solo exhibition premiering at The Contemporary Austin, Texas, and traveling to The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, and an accompanying exhibition catalog.
The Contemporary Austin is pleased to announce that Tarek Atoui (born 1980 in Beirut, Lebanon; lives and works in Paris, France) is the winner of the 2022 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize. In addition to receiving a $200,000 cash award, Atoui will present a solo exhibition premiering in Austin in spring 2022 at The Contemporary’s downtown venue, the Jones Center on Congress Avenue. The exhibition will then travel to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York, where it will open in fall 2022. In addition to the exhibition and monetary award, the prize includes a scholarly exhibition catalog and public programming around the exhibitions at both venues.
As an artist and composer, collaboration and community building are at the center of Atoui’s practice. Eschewing sole authorship, the artist brings together local communities through collaborations with musicians, composers, designers, and instrument makers, resulting in dynamic and evocative installations and live performances. For example, in the ongoing research project WITHIN, which the artist began in 2012, Atoui involved members of the deaf community alongside musicians and designers to create new instruments that explore alternative manifestations of sound through vision, touch, and gesture, highlighting the medium’s expansive and universal potential.
“We are thrilled with the Advisory Committee’s selection of Tarek Atoui,” said Heather Pesanti, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs at The Contemporary Austin. “In such unprecedented times the museum is grateful to have the opportunity to support Atoui and his collaborators as they continue to create different ways of experiencing art and sound to several communities. His sensitivity to place through research and collaboration are perfect for our times. Given Austin’s rich live music community, we look forward to the partnerships with musicians and other creative individuals and organizations throughout the city that might be catalyzed through this exhibition.”
“In these times of social distancing and impossibility of coming together, this award is an homage to collaboration, performativity, improvisation, and composition,” said Atoui. “It is celebrating the role of art in bringing people together, and I’m honored to be its recipient.”
Atoui was selected by an independent advisory committee comprising renowned curators and art historians from the U.S. and Great Britain. Led by Heather Pesanti, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs at The Contemporary Austin, this year’s Advisory Committee included Darby English, Carl Darling Buck Professor, Department of Art History, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Ingrid Schaffner, Curator, The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX; and Catherine Wood, Senior Curator, International Art (Performance), Tate Modern, London, UK; along with institutional advisor Stephanie Roach, Director of The FLAG Art Foundation, New York.
“In a cultural moment when togetherness is being entirely reimagined,” says Stephanie Roach, Director of The FLAG Art Foundation, “it’s heartening to help develop Atoui’ s vision and expand how The Contemporary and FLAG realize exhibitions, engage local and global collaborators, and encourage inclusivity; his emphasis on cross-disciplinarity and generosity is more urgent than ever before.”
ABOUT ARTIST TAREK ATOUI
Tarek Atoui is an artist and composer based in Paris, France who explores the medium of sound through dynamic installations and live performances. Drawing from methods of ethnomusicology, the artist grounds his work in multidisciplinary and collaborative research—historical, social, material, perceptual, and environmental—creating unexpected, evocative, and open-ended projects. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1980, Atoui moved to France in 1998, where he studied economics and electroacoustic music. Working together with instrument makers and sound engineers, he co-creates experimental instruments and sound assemblages, ranging from reinterpretations of ancient instruments to electronic and computer-based ones. These handmade objects simultaneously possess compelling beauty as abstract sculptural objects and function as musical instruments activated through performance.
Atoui has presented his work internationally at the New Museum, New York (2009 and 2010); Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates (2009 and 2013); dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany (2012); 8th Berlin Biennale (2014); Tate Modern, London (2016); NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore (2017); Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2018); 58th Venice Biennale, Italy (2019); and Okayama Art Summit, Japan (2019). He was co-artistic director of STEIM (Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music) in Amsterdam in 2007, and of the Bergen Assembly in Norway in 2016. The 2022 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize exhibitions will be the artist’s first solo museum exhibitions in Texas and in New York.
This fall, Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11 opens at the Sharjah Art Foundation in the United Arab Emirates. The culmination of an eleven-year project at the Foundation, the exhibition challenges established ways of listening through innovative approaches to sound and draws on the artist’s ongoing investigations of how deafness can influence the way sound performance, space and instrumentation are understood. In October he will open an exhibition at the Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany, centered around his ongoing project I/E about harbors and harbor cities. In February 2021, the artist will participate in the 13th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. He recently explored the history and traditional practices of the region through visits with local Gwangju artists and professionals, including ceramists, instrument makers, musicians, and paper makers, which will inform his collaborative work.
THE SUZANNE DEAL BOOTH / FLAG ART FOUNDATION PRIZE
The Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize, founded by The Contemporary Austin trustee Suzanne Deal Booth and administered by The Contemporary Austin, was announced in summer 2016 as an unrestricted award to be given every two years to an artist selected by a rotating, independent advisory committee made up of renowned curators and art historians of contemporary art. In fall 2016 the inaugural prize, which included a $100,000 award to an artist, along with a solo exhibition, an accompanying publication, and related public programming at The Contemporary Austin, was awarded to artist Rodney McMillian.
In May 2018, The Contemporary Austin and The FLAG Art Foundation announced the expansion and renaming of the award to the Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize. The prize includes a $200,000 award to an artist, along with all production expenses for a solo exhibition that premieres in Austin and travels to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York, an accompanying scholarly publication, and related public programming. The mission of the prize remains the same: each winning artist is selected based on his or her outstanding merit and strong record of international museum and gallery exhibitions and is an individual whom the Advisory Committee deems deserving of increased recognition, and for whom the award and exhibition would be transformative.
The 2020 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize was awarded to Nicole Eisenman, whose exhibition Sturm und Drang is on view at The Contemporary Austin through November 15, 2020. A related exhibition, Nicole Eisenman and Keith Boadwee, will be on view at The FLAG Art Foundation from December 12, 2020, through March 13, 2021.
THE CONTEMPORARY AUSTIN
As Austin’s only museum solely focused on contemporary artists and their work, The Contemporary Austin offers exhibitions, educational opportunities, and events that start conversations and fuel the city’s creative spirit. Known for artist-centric exhibitions and collaborations, The Contemporary invites exploration at both its urban and natural settings—downtown at the Jones Center (700 Congress Avenue) and lakeside at the Laguna Gloria campus (3809 West 35th Street), which includes the museum’s Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, with a growing program of commissions, temporary projects, and a permanent collection of outdoor sculptures by artists including Ai Weiwei, Terry Allen, Carol Bove, Sarah Crowner, Tom Friedman, Anya Gallaccio, Ryan Gander, Liam Gillick, Roger Hiorns, Nancy Holt, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, Paul McCarthy, Wangechi Mutu, Tom Sachs, Monika Sosnowska, Jessica Stockholder, SUPERFLEX, Marianne Vitale, and Ursula von Rydingsvard. Since its inception in 2013, the museum has also focused on its Museum Without Walls program—an initiative that brings art to visitors in new ways at diverse venues around the city of Austin.
THE FLAG ART FOUNDATION
The FLAG Art Foundation, founded in 2008 by art patron Glenn Fuhrman, is a nonprofit exhibition space that encourages the appreciation of contemporary art among a diverse audience. FLAG presents four to six exhibitions a year that include artworks by international established and emerging artists, borrowed from a variety of sources. FLAG invites a broad range of creative individuals to curate exhibitions and works in-depth with artists to provide curatorial support and a platform to realize their own solo exhibitions.
FLAG’s innovative approach to foster dialogue around contemporary art includes producing artist talks, artist-led workshops, and exhibition tours for school and museum groups. Based in the heart of Manhattan’s Chelsea art district, FLAG and its related programs are free and open to the public.
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