GFAA is the first annual program ever created to recognize the best curated art and design exhibitions worldwide- in museums, galleries, art fairs and biennials, as well as public installations. The award criteria are excellence and innovation in exhibition design, historical context, educational value, and public appeal.
There are now 14 juried award categories, including a new award category this year – Global Artists. This category distinguishes the lifetime body of work of the nominated artists, and whereby an award “winner” will not be designated. Two final awards, Youniversal and YOU-2, are determined by online public voting on the GFAA website and on twitter. These two awards recognize the most popular exhibition of the year through voting across the globe, and all nominees are eligible to win. Almost 40,000 votes were cast last year during the voting period.
This year’s returning judges are Dean Phelus (American Alliance of Museums, Washington, D.C.); James M. Bradburne (Pinacoteca di Brera and Biblioteca Braidense, Milan); Gina Costa (independent art historian and curator, Director for marketing and public relations at the Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, Chicago); Joe Lin-Hill (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo); and Savita Apte, art historian and Co-Founder of Art Dubai.
The 4th Annual Award ceremony and events, open to the public, were attended by over 200 guests, including fifty VIPS, representing more than thirty Nominees. The GFAA program highlights the link between artists and their creations, the galleries that represent them, curated shows from the gallery, public art and museum worlds. In 2017, eleven galleries exhibiting at the concurrent Armory Show, a cultural collaborator of GFAA, represent more than fifteen GFAA Nominees including: Yayoi Kusama, Kerry James Marshall, Andy Goldsworthy, Jaume Plensa, Ana Mendieta, Wifredo Lam, Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, Irving Penn, Ai Weiwei and William Eggleston.
Guests included Shirin Neshat, Winner of the premier Global Humanity Award, accompanied by her family and Miciah Hussey and Caroline Luce, representatives from the Gladstone Gallery; Galerie Lelong & Co. Director Mary Sabbatino, proxy for three nominated artists represented by the gallery – Winner Andy Goldsworthy for the first Global Planet Award; past GFAA Winner for Public Art (2015) and 2017 Global Humanity Award Nominee Jaume Plensa, and the late Ana Mendieta, also nominated for Global Humanity for her lifetime of work. Sabbatino was accompanied by Raquel Cecilia Mendieta, niece and film archivist of Ana Mendieta.
Jay Levenson, Director of the International Program at The Museum of Modern Art also attended with MoMA’s winning exhibition co-curator Jennifer Gray, for GFAA Best Design 2017, Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive
Melissa Chiu, director of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, accepted the Award for Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors.
Slater B. Bradley, Nominated for Best Public Art Award for his Venice Biennale collateral installation Slater B. Bradley: Sundoor at World’s End, attended with Chloe Sevigny. Bradley has been featured in solo exhibitions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York (2000), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2005), among many others.
Farideh Lashai: When I Count, There Are Only You… But When I Look, There Is Only a Shadow, from the Museo Nacional Del Prado, in collaboration with the British Museum, received Honorable Mention for GFAA’s Fringe Award. Traveling from Madrid to receive the Award, was curator Ana Martínez de Aguilar. The late artist’s daughter, Maneli Keykavoussi, head of the Farideh Lashai Foundation, Edward Tyler Nahem gallerists Paloma Martin Llopis and Brad Waywell, and Gallerist Leila Heller were also in attendance, honoring Lashai’s last work.
Additional Nominees at the event included Museum Director and curator Erlend Hoyersten and curator Jacob Vengberg Sevel, Winners of Best Public Art Award for the Triennial THE GARDEN – End of Times; Beginning of Times, at ARos Aarhus Kunstmuseum; The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Winners Dr. Maxwell (Mike) K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman of Asian Art, and Dr. Jason Sun, Brooke Russell Astor Curator of Chinese Art; Getty Museum Winners, Co-Curators Dr. Kristen Collins and Dr. Kenneth Lapatin; Director of Exhibitions and Collections from the International Center of Photography (ICP), whose Perpetual Revolution exhibition won for Best Photography Award; Asia Society’s Shayne Doty, Managing Director for Philanthropy, Nominated for Secrets of the Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia; Winner Dr. Catherine Whistler, Curator from the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University; Diane Tuft, Nominated photographer for the show Arctic Melt, with gallerists from Marlborough Gallery in New York; Tamara Chalabi and Paolo Columbo, Ruya Foundation’s Directors and Co-Curators of the Iraq Pavilion from the Venice Biennale which was a Finalist for the Best Public Art Award; London-based Global Humanity Nominee Baiqu Gonkar, Director and Curator of Art Represent, who was also a Panelist.
Kris Callens, Director of the Fries Museum (Netherlands), which organized the Lawrence Alma-Tadema exhibition seen at three museums across Europe- which received Honorable Mention for the Youniversal Award, and Winner of YOU-2, the two public Awards. Amalia Cosmetatou, Executive Director and Director of Cultural Affairs and Roberta Casagrande-Kim, Assistant Manager of Exhibitions and Publications of the Onassis Foundation USA, representing nominated exhibition A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD , were honored by the presence of a number of colleagues. Their exhibition was crowned the Youniversal Award winner, after receiving the highest number of votes in the four-year history of the Award.
Susie Guzman, Director at Hauser & Wirth for Nominees Philip Guston, Lygia Pape and Hans Arp; Directors from the Alison Jacques Gallery in London supported the Nominee, the late Ana Mendieta; representatives from David Zwirner and Levy Gorvy also attended for their Nominated artist’s works.
Geographic, scale, ethnic and gender diversity are essential considerations in the research and nominating process. The 85 Nominees last year represent works from 6 continents, 28 countries and 60 cities – from Beijing to Boston, from Melbourne to Montréal. Nineteen percent (19%) of this year’s Nominees are created by or are about Asian and Middle Eastern art and artists. One of the most prominent awards – Best Contemporary and Post-War Art, features women in 3 of the 8 Nominees. Almost two-thirds of the Nominees emanate from lesser-known institutions and private initiatives, and the remaining 37% of the GFAA Nominees are from the top 100 art museums visited in the world (The Art Newspaper, April 2015).
In addition to the award ceremony the evening of March 8, GFAA launched a series of three panels, hosted by corporate sponsor, K&L Gates LLP. These panels, which took place the morning of March 8, were moderated by Dean Phelus, Senior Director of Leadership Programs at the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and GFAA Judge; and by Desiree Moore, Partner at K&L Gates.
Young Visionaries, Benefactors at the $1,000+ level and Corporate Sponsors also received invitations to the exclusive GFAA After-Party held immediately following the Award Ceremony at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park. The event was organized by the GFAA Young Visionaries Committee, which provided an intimate opportunity to mingle with our art-stars. The party featured open bar, light bites and a DJ.