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Benglis, Baldessari and Ringgold among this year’s CAA award winners New York

The College Art Association (CAA) Awards for Distinction ceremony took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Thursday, February 10. As part of the annual academic extravaganza, the CAA gives its respected accolades to individuals for lifetime achievement across a range of professional categories.

For honorees in the categories of arts writing, Mieke Bal was given the lifetime achievement award. Bal is professor at the University of Amsterdam and the city’s Royal Academy of Arts and Science and has contributed new approaches to classical topics in art history, such as the 2006 book Reading Rembrandt: Beyond the Word-Image Opposition.

Luis Camnitzer, of State University of New York at Old Westbury, received the Frank Jewett Mather prize for art criticism for his book, On Art, Artists, Latin America, and Other Utopias.

Ross Barrett for The Art Bulletin, the history magazine of the CAA, wrote “Rioting Refigured: George Henry Hall and the Picturing of American Political Violence,” to win the Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize for the most distiguished article of the year. For the modern and contemporary topics magazine, the Art Journal Award went to the joint effort by Kirsten Swenson, Janet Kraynak, Paul Monty Paret, and Emily Eliza Scott, who contributed to the journal with a series of articles entitled “Land Use in Contemporary Art.”

In curating, the Alfred H Barr Jr Award went to Darielle Mason for her Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection and the Stella Kramrisch Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2009).

Art practice was dominated by well-known veterans. University of California San Diego professor emeritus Faith Ringgold received the distinguished feminist award for her nearly 4 decades of art production in the field. Firebrand latex sculptor Lynda Benglis won the award for lifetime achievement coming on the heels of her retrospective at the NewMuseum, opening in Manhattan the day before. Conceptual art pioneer John Baldessari of UCLA was honored in the category of distinguished body of work, which follows the quintessential L.A.-artist’s Tate Modern retrospective, “John Baldessari Pure Beauty.”

The CAA was itself celebrating its centennial at the 99th annual conference of academics and arts practitioners.