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Sep 15 2021

Nasher Prize 2022 Goes to Nairy Baghramian

by ArtAsiaPacific

NAIRY BAGHRAMIAN is the 2022 Nasher Prize Laureate. Portrait of the artist at the Clark Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. Photo by Tucker Blair. Courtesy the artist.

Dallas’s Nasher Sculpture Center named Isfahan-born, Berlin-based sculptor Nairy Baghramian the 2022 Nasher Prize Laureate on September 14. The artist will receive a trophy designed by architect Renzo Piano at a ceremony slated for April 2, 2022, along with USD 100,000 in prize money.

According to Jeremy Strick, director of the Center, “The work of Nairy Baghramian stood out to the jury as exemplary for its consideration of the body, human relationship, and the built environment through sculpture that champions the often-overlooked objects, people, and experiences at play in daily life.” Her 2021 exhibition at Milan’s Galleria d’Arte Moderna, titled “Misfits,” for example, was inspired by the museum’s park, and foregrounded frustration and error as facets of gameplay and childhood through puzzle-like sculptures that fail in their promise to interlock. Earlier in her 20-plus-year career, Baghramian had referenced another type of “misfit,” the students who have to repeat a school year, in her sculptural series Stay Downers (2016). The abstract forms, oblong and lumpish, have individual titles such as Truant and Class Clown, and give presence to those who are deemed unseemly by academic regulations. Artistic and institutional conventions have often informed her playfully subversive work, such as her biomorphic installation Flat Spine (2016), which utilizes sculptural molds as its main component, highlighting a tool that is typically considered secondary to the final artistic product.

Baghramian’s practice, which also spans photography and drawing, will be the subject of the Nasher Prize Graduate Symposium, where students selected through an open call will present their research. The papers from the event, scheduled to take place online on January 18–21, 2022, will be published subsequently in a compendium.

Baghramian is the sixth winner of the Nasher Prize and was chosen by a nine-person jury comprising architect David Adjaye; Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director of Castello di Rivoli; artist Phyllida Barlow; curators Pablo León de la Barra, Lynne Cooke, Yuko Hasegawa, and Hou Hanru; art historian Briony Fer; and Nicholas Serota, chair of the Arts Council England. Previous Nasher Laureates include multimedia artists Michael Rakowitz (2020–21) and Theaster Gates (2018).

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