The Contemporary Austin is pleased to announce artist Lubaina Himid as the winner of the 2024 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize.
In addition to receiving a $200,000 cash award, Himid will present a solo exhibition premiering in Austin in spring 2024 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 2024. In addition to the exhibition and monetary award, the prize includes an exhibition publication and public programming around the exhibitions at both venues.
Over a four decades-long career, Lubaina Himid (b. 1954, Zanzibar; lives and works in Preston, UK) has explored and expanded the possibilities of painting and storytelling to depict contemporary everyday life and uncover the silenced histories of marginalized figures. Self-described as a painter and cultural activist, Himid has been influential in making space for the expression and recognition of Black experience and women’s creativity. She played a pivotal role in the British Black arts movement in the 1980s and went on to gain international recognition for her work, including winning the Turner Prize in 2017.
Initially trained in theater design, she is known for her innovative approaches to painting and to social engagement. Her artistic practice is also rooted in her personal experiences with theater and textile design from a young age, when she would join her mother, a textile designer, on trips to clothing and fabric stores. Her paintings and installations are filled with lurid and lively colors that often reference her cultural heritage. Found objects—plates, discarded furniture, jelly molds, newspapers—also form the foundation of her artworks, giving them a temporal quality that defies the confines of a gallery wall.
“Himid’s work is both content rich and aesthetically beautiful, making her an excellent choice for this prestigious award,” says sharon maidenberg, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director & CEO for The Contemporary Austin. “Her unique ability to simultaneously humanize and elevate the lived experience of her subjects makes her a deft visual storyteller. Her ability to work across media—including painting, textile, and sculpture–creates space for her continued exploration of timeless subjects in new and fresh ways. We couldn't be more thrilled to be celebrating her achievements and bringing her work to Texas for the first time.”
“In many ways and forms, Himid’s practice makes private moments public, and in doing so invites viewers to project their own experiences and histories onto the work,” states Jonathan Rider, Director of The FLAG Art Foundation. “Presenting Himid across two venues, each with distinct regional contexts, allows for differing conversations, programming, and possibilities to occur. Himid has spoken about the exhibition as a site for chance encounter, and we look forward to seeing how audiences between Austin and New York inhabit, activate, and interact with the theatrical and deeply personal world she creates.”
Himid has exhibited extensively in the UK and abroad. A major monographic exhibition of Himid’s work opened at Tate Modern, London in 2021 and travels to Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne in 2022. Significant solo exhibitions include Water Has a Perfect Memory, Hollybush Gardens, London (2022); Spotlights, Tate Britain, London (2019); The Grab Test, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands (2019); Lubaina Himid, CAPC Bordeaux, France (2019); Work From Underneath, New Museum, New York (2019); Gifts to Kings, MRAC Languedoc Roussillon Midi-Pyrénées, Sérignan (2018); Our Kisses are Petals, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2018); The Truth Is Never Watertight, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2017); Navigation Charts, Spike Island, Bristol (2017); and Invisible Strategies, Modern Art Oxford (2017).
Selected group exhibitions include Mixing It Up: Painting Today, Hayward Gallery, London; Lubaina Himid - Lost Threads, The British Textile Biennial, The Great Barn, Gawthorpe Hall, Padiham, Burnley, UK; Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 50s-Now, Tate Britain, London; Relations: Diaspora and Painting, Esker Foundation, Calgary, Canada; Invisible Narratives 2, Yamamoto Keiko Rochaix, London; Unsettled Objects, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (all 2021); Frieze Sculpture, London; Risquons-Tout, WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; Slow Painting, Hayward Touring UK traveling exhibition (all 2020); En Plein Air, The High Line, New York (2019–2020); Sharjah Biennial 14, UAE (2019); Glasgow International (2018); Berlin Biennale (2018); The Place is Here, Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2017); Keywords, Tate Liverpool (2014); and Burning Down the House, Gwangju Biennale (2014). Her work is held in various museum and public collections, including the Tate; British Council Collection; Arts Council Collection; UK Government Art Collection; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; National Museums Liverpool; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Rhode Island School of Design, Providence.
Artist Portrait: Lubaina Himid, portrait. Photograph by Magda Stawarska-Beavan.
Lubaina Himid was selected by an independent advisory committee comprising renowned curators and art historians from the U.S. and the U.K. Led by sharon maidenberg, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Director & CEO of The Contemporary Austin, this year’s advisory committee included Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO; Pilar Tompkins Rivas, Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Curatorial and Collections, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles, CA; Michelle White, Senior Curator, Menil Collection, Houston, TX; and Dr. Zoé Whitley, Director, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK; along with institutional advisor Jonathan Rider, Director, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY.
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 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 publication, and related public programming. The 2020 Prize was awarded to Nicole Eisenman. 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 2022 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize was awarded to Tarek Atoui, whose exhibition The Whisperers is on view at The Contemporary Austin through August 14, 2022. The Whisperers will be on view at The FLAG Art Foundation from October 1 through December 10, 2022.
Suzanne Deal Booth has long been committed to the recognition and preservation of visual arts and cultural heritage. In 1998, Deal Booth founded the Friends of Heritage Preservation and has since served as director. Deal Booth has a Master of Arts in art history and art conservation from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. She attended Rice University and graduated cum laude in art history. While at Rice and NYU, she had the opportunity to work directly under the tutelage of art patron and humanist Dominique de Menil. She assisted the artist James Turrell on Skyspace at MoMA PS1 as well as his retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and subsequently was the patron for his skyspace Twilight Epiphany at Rice University (2012). She has interned and worked at several institutions, including: Les Monuments Historiques, France; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Kimbell Art Museum; the Menil Collection; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the J. Paul Getty Trust. She currently serves on the boards of the following arts organizations: LACMA, the Menil Collection, Ballroom Marfa, The Contemporary Austin, and Atelier Calder. With her young family, she spent a year living in Rome and later established the Suzanne Deal Booth Rome Prize Fellowship for Historic Preservation and Conservation at the American Academy in Rome. Deal Booth’s current endeavors include establishing and cultivating Bella Oaks, a certified organic vineyard and olive orchard in Napa Valley, CA, which produces celebrated Cabernet Sauvignon wine and olive oil.
Photo by Jeannette Montgomery Barron ©
The FLAG Art Foundation, is a nonprofit exhibition space that encourages the appreciation of contemporary art among diverse audiences. Founded in 2008 by art patron and philanthropist Glenn Fuhrman, FLAG presents rotating exhibitions that include artworks borrowed from a variety of sources. FLAG invites a broad range of creative individuals to curate thematic group exhibitions and works in-depth with artists to provide curatorial support and a platform to realize solo shows.
FLAG fosters dialogue around contemporary art by producing artist talks, artist-led workshops, and exhibition tours for school and museum groups. Based in Manhattan’s Chelsea art district, FLAG and all of its related programs are free and open to the public.
FLAG also facilitates loans of contemporary artworks to museums and galleries and maintains an extensive database of artworks available to curators. To view a list of institutional art loan recipients or request access to the collection, visit the Fuhrman Family Foundation.