The J. Paul Getty Trust announced Thursday it will present the annual J. Paul Getty Medal, its highest honor, to classicist professor Mary Beard and artists Lorna Simpson and Ed Ruscha.
The Getty Medal was established in 2013 by the trustees of the J. Paul Getty Trusts to honor “extraordinary contributions to the practice, understanding and support of the arts.”
“We award the Getty Medal to recognize outstanding achievement in the fields in which we work,” said Maria Hummer-Tuttle, chair of the J. Paul Getty Board of Trustees. “We are honored to present the medal this year to three leaders who have helped transform and deepen our understanding and appreciation of the visual arts and the humanities.”
James Cuno, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust, described Beard, a professor of Classics at Cambridge, author of numerous books on Roman history, Classics Editor of the Times Literary Supplement and co-presenter of the BBC series “Civilisations,” as “one of the world’s premier public intellectuals and Classical scholars, whose scholarship is both deeply original and broadly accessible. Professor Beard has illuminated the ancient world for countless readers and students.”
Cuno said Simpson is “at once a photographer and multimedia artist whose work is both trenchant in its critique of race, gender, and identity and exquisite in its formal beauty and technical execution.”
He called Ruscha “one of our generation’s most original artists, a distinguished and profound painter, draftsman, photographer and bookmaker who finds profundity in the commonplace, through art that is at once highly conceptual, elegant, witty and technically masterful.” Cuno also noted the Getty Research Institute’s recent acquisition of Ruscha’s “Streets of Los Angeles” archive.
The awards will be presented in September at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
The 11 past recipients include Harold Williams and Nancy Englander, who were honored for their leadership in creating Thursday’s Getty; architect Frank Gehry, whose famed buildings include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; painter-sculptors Ellsworth Kelly and Anselm Kiefer; and Mario Vargas Llosa, a Peruvian writer, politician, journalist, college professor and recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature.
The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that encompasses the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs operate out of two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.
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