The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art celebrated the 2022 recipients of the Archives of American Art Medal and the Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Academic Excellence in American Art History on Tuesday, October 25 in the New York’s Rainbow Room at the Archives’ annual gala. Both awards recognize individuals who have made transformative contributions to the field of American art. Lowery Stokes Sims received the Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in American Art History, and Peter M. Brant and Ursula von Rydingsvard received the Archives of American Art Medal.
“We were delighted to bring together our Board of Directors and distinguished guests for our annual gala for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to honor Lowery Stokes Sims, Peter M. Brant and Ursula von Rydingsvard for their lasting and significant contributions. to the history of American art,” said Liza Kirwin, acting director of the Archives of American Art. “From maintaining art museum programming to expanding who and what is included in major art spaces, their commitment to the field is nothing short of extraordinary.”
The Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Academic Excellence in the Field of American Art History was established in 1998 by Trustee Emeritus Barbara G. Fleischman as a tribute to her late husband, who co-founded the Archives of American Art in 1954. Each year, the award is given to a distinguished American scholar, writer, or art critic.
Sims is an expert in modern and contemporary art, craft and design and is known for her particular interest in a diverse and inclusive global art world. Throughout her five-decade career, she has supported artists whose identity and work reflect these values. Sims retired as curator emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Design in 2015. She served on the educational staff and curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1972–1999) and as executive director, president and assistant curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem (2000–2007). She has recently been guest curator for exhibitions at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, Grounds for Sculpture, Contemporary Craft Museum Los Angeles, Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and as a consultant for the Baltimore Museum of Art. She was Kurt Varnedoe Visiting Professor in 2018 at the Institute of Fine Arts and Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts in 2019 and 2020, and Kress-Beinecke Professor 2021-2022 at the Center, National Gallery of Art.
The Archives of American Art medal honors distinguished members of the American artistic community.
Brant is a philanthropist, art collector, manufacturing manager and publisher. He is president and CEO of White Birch Paper in Greenwich, Connecticut, a company his father co-founded in the 1940s. A contemporary art enthusiast since college, Brant’s extensive collection includes works by Jean- Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Glenn Ligon and Rita Ackermann. In 2009, Brant established the Brant Foundation Study Center, based in Greenwich. Dedicated to promoting education and appreciation of contemporary art and design, the organization facilitates loans of Brant artwork to museums and other cultural organizations, supports education in contemporary art with in-house programming and makes the collection available to the public free of charge. Brant is also a longtime supporter of large museums. He sits on art advisory groups at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Hunter College, New York; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He is a former trustee of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. His awards include the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art (2013) and the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award (2015). He was honored by the New York Academy of Art in 2015.
von Rydingsvard is a Brooklyn-based sculptor whose career spans 40 years. Working primarily with cedar and bronze, von Rydingsvard creates monumental abstract forms that recall the trauma of his childhood in Nazi labor and refugee camps. His work is represented in the permanent collections of over 30 museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minnesota; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Missouri; Storm King Art Center, New York; and the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Commissions of von Rydingsvard’s work are on permanent display at Microsoft Corporation, Washington; Princeton University, New Jersey; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the Bloomberg Building, New York; the Queens Family Courthouse, New York; and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Recent solo museum exhibitions include “Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling” at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. Von Rydingsvard was inducted into the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2008 and interviewed for the Archives of American Art Oral History Program in 2011.
About the gala
After a two-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, the Archives of American Art’s annual gala welcomed distinguished guests for cocktails and a seated dinner at The Rainbow Room in New York City. Held nearly every year since 1988, the annual gala honors those who embody the Archives of American Art’s mission to collect, preserve, and make available primary sources that document the history of American art. Past recipients include Chuck Close, the Ford Foundation, Agnes Gund, Roy Lichtenstein, Ligon, Richard J. Powell and Alice L. Walton.
George Frederick Mead Merck, Chairman of the Archives Board of Trustees, also serves as Chairman of the Gala Planning Committee, whose members include Virginia G. Bobins, Anthony F. Cummings, Martha J. Fleischman, Leslie J. Garfield, Karen Z Gray-Krehbiel, Evelyn Day Lasry and Deborah Schmidt Robinson.
Proceeds from the Archives of American Art Gala provide essential, unrestricted support to the archive. More information is available on the gala website.
About the Archives of American Art
Founded in 1954, the Archives of American Art encourages advanced research through the accumulation and dissemination of primary sources of unparalleled historical depth and breadth that document more than 200 years of artists and art communities across the country. The Archives provide access to these documents through its two research, exhibition and publication centres, including the American Art Journal Archive, the oldest scholarly journal in the field of American art. An international leader in the digitization of archival collections, the Archives offers online access to more than 3 million documents. The oral history collection includes more than 2,500 audio interviews, the largest accumulation of in-depth first-person accounts in the American art world. Visit the Archives website.
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