Venice visual artist John Baldessari and actress Sally Field will be honored at the White House Thursday along with other recipients of the 2014 National Medal of Arts, while UC Irvine history professor Vicki Lynn Ruiz will receive a 2014 National Humanities Medal.
The nearly two dozen honorees will be recognized by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. Other notable names on the list of honorees are author Stephen King, who will receive a Medal of Arts, and novelist/screenwriter Larry McMurtry, who will receive a Humanities Medal.
Baldessari, who was among a group of artists that financially supported Obama’s 2012 election campaign, will be honored for an “ambitious” body of work that “combines photography, painting and text to push the boundaries of image, making him one of the most influential conceptual artists of our time,” according to the White House.
Field, a two-time Oscar winner — for “Places in the Heart” and “Norma Rae” — was chosen for a career of performances that “have touched audiences around the world” and her off-screen “advocacy for women, LGBT rights and public health.”
Ruiz, meanwhile, will be hailed for her pioneering work documenting the history of 20th century Latinas “in a distinguished career that began with collecting oral testimony from Mexican immigrants who worked in U.S. canning factories.”
Ruiz said she considers the award as recognition of her field of study more than an individual honor.
“When I was a graduate student, I could not begin to imagine all of the stories awaiting interested scholars in public archives and personal memories,” Ruiz said. “That said, I am deeply honored by this once-in-a- lifetime acknowledgement of my work.”
—City News Service