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First winners of the New Museum’s Altoids Award announced

The winners of the New Museum’s four $25,000 prizes, awarded to emerging American artists who are nominated and selected exclusively by artists, have been announced. For what is the first year of the award, Ei Arakawa (New York City), Michael Patterson-Carver (Portland, Oregon), Lauren Kelley (Houston, Texas) and Michael Stickrod (New Haven, Connecticut) were selected from forty-six nominees by a jury composed of artists Paul McCarthy, Cindy Sherman, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

The Altoids Award is an initiative that will be organized biennially by the New Museum and as well as receiving the cash prize, the winners will be hosted in a joint exhibition organized by Director of Special Exhibitions at the New Museum, Massimiliano Gioni. This exhibition will run from June 25 through October 12, 2008.The Altoids Award has a unique way of organizing its selection process, in that a geographically and stylistically diverse group of ten artists are each asked to nominate up to five emerging artists they have identified as producing especially innovative, unusual, and powerful work.

These nominators are selected for demonstrating an ongoing commitment to the arts, whether it be through writing, teaching, organizing exhibitions, running alternative spaces, or simply promoting their colleagues – made up this time of Edgar Arceneaux, Allora and Calzadilla, Mitch Cope, Trisha Donnelly, Harrell Fletcher, Michelle Grabner, Jay Heikes, Matt Keegan, Rick Lowe, and Frances Stark. From here, the final jury of three artists, each selected for their ground-braking work and engagement with supporting new talent, choose the final four winners.

Lisa Phillips, New Museum’s Toby Devan Lewis Director, said, “Altoids has long been a key advocate of contemporary artists and a supporter of the New Museum. The Altoids Award is a significant way for Altoids and the Museum to expand their recognition of new American talent. For so many of these artists, this is a life-changing opportunity, and that is exactly what we are here for — to champion emerging artists and to consistently offer our audiences the chance to experience new art and new ideas from a variety of perspectives.”