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Museum of Arts and Design Announces Indira Allegra as Winner of 2019 Burke Prize

Oakland artist is a leader in performance-based craft movement, tackling social justice issues impacting marginalized communities 

Burke Prize 2019 Exhibition Features Work of Allegra and Fifteen Finalists October 3, 2019 – April 12, 2020 

New York, NY (November 5, 2019)

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) is proud to announce Indira Allegra as the winner of the 2019 Burke Prize for contemporary craft. Named for craft collectors Marian and Russell Burke, the juried prize constitutes an unrestricted award in the amount of $50,000 given to an artist age forty-five or under working in glass, fiber, clay, metal, or wood. The Burke Prize recognizes the achievements of a young artist who is advancing the mediums and disciplines that shaped the American studio craft movement. The work of Allegra and her fellow finalists for the Burke Prize is on view in MAD’s galleries through April 12, 2020.

“The twenty-first century is turning into a transformative era for the advancement of craft in the United States,” said Chris Scoates, MAD’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. "Artists like Indira are enriching our knowledge of materials and techniques, and expanding their use in innovative ways that break historical barriers. The Museum’s Burke Prize captures this excitement and elevates the emerging voices expanding the field of craft.”

MAD Trustee Marian Burke, who endowed the prize together with her husband, Russell, said: “Rusty and I are delighted to support MAD in highlighting the exemplary works created by the 2019 Burke Prize finalists. We congratulate Indira on this extraordinary achievement. We also congratulate her fellow finalists. All sixteen artists demonstrate the exciting future of the craft movement.”

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Allegra (United States, b. 1980), now based in Oakland, California, makes sculptures, performances, texts, and installations investigating memorial practices and the unseen forces of generational trauma. Using the ideology and methodology of weaving, Allegra explores the intersections of forces, whether they be material, social, or emotional. She activates elements of looms and other weaving tools through movement and dance, using her body as the metaphorical thread to explore political and emotional tensions unspoken in society and carried within the body.

“It is tremendously encouraging that the Burke Prize has so generously recognized what my mind, intuition, and body can offer the field. I am honored,” said Allegra. “This generosity allows me to be more generous with the scale of my inquiry, work, and care for the constellation of art professionals with whom I will work throughout my career.”

Allegra is at the forefront of the performative craft movement which has evolved out of the physical processes of craft. The select works from Allegra’s “BODYWARP” (2017)   series, currently on view in MAD’s Burke Prize 2019 exhibition, demonstrate the artist’s thoughtful and intimate choreography between maker, tool, and place. Elevating the process of making, Allegra precipitates connections between the work, the audience, and larger social issues.

A jury of professionals in the fields of art, craft, and design selected Allegra as the winner from hundreds of submissions.
The 2019 jurors are Julia Bryan-Wilson, Doris and Clarence Malo Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California, Berkeley; Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and Cannupa Hanska Luger, 2018 Burke Prize Winner.

“Allegra embodies the future of craft celebrated by the Burke Prize through tactile investigations of the past that continue to be searingly relevant, activating cloth as a holder of memory to provide cogent and timely critiques of anti-black racism, sexism, and homophobia,” said Bryan-Wilson. “She epitomizes a dynamic, forward-looking orientation to craft that learns from the past in order to speak to the future.”

MAD is currently featuring works by Allegra and her fellow finalists in the accompanying Burke Prize 2019 exhibition, on view through April 12, 2020. The exhibition features thirty works, ranging from ceramics, to fiber and glass. The Burke Prize and exhibition furthers the Museum’s founding mission of championing artists working in craft media and methodologies, bringing attention to the breadth and variety of work being made by young artists from coast to coast.

The sixteen finalists, including Allegra, were selected for their impressive bodies of work, innovative use of materials, and their unique perspective on the role of craft today. The additional 15 finalists include:

Elizabeth Alexander, Winston-Salem, NC

Bisa Butler, West Orange, NJ

Amber Cowan, Philadelphia, PA

Tandra Francis, Brooklyn, NY

Bojana Ginn, Decatur, GA

Raven Halfmoon, Norman, OK

Salvador Jimenéz-Flores, Chicago, IL

Lauren Kalman, Detroit, MI

Linda Lopez, Fayetteville, AR

Jaydan Moore, Richmond, VA

Sophia Narrett, Brooklyn, NY

Sara Rahbar, New York, NY

Julie Schenkelberg, Detroit, MI

Sarah Zapata, Brooklyn, NY


For more information about the Burke Prize, visit madmuseum.org/content/burke-prize.

Burke Prize 2019 is curated by MAD’s Assistant Curator Samantha De Tillio and Assistant Manager of Curatorial Affairs Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy with support from Curatorial Assistant Alida Jekabson.

The Museum of Arts and Design is grateful for the generosity of Marian and Russell Burke for making possible the 2019 Burke Prize.

INDIRA ALLEGRA
United States, born 1980; lives in Oakland, California

Indira Allegra makes sculptures, performances, texts, and installations that investigate memorial practices and the unseen forces of generational trauma. She uses the ideology and methodology of weaving to explore the repetitive intersections of force held under tension, be they material, social, or emotional. Allegra holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with high distinction from California College of the Arts, where she studied visual studies, writing, and textile. She also earned an Associate of Applied Science in Sign Language Interpretation from Portland Community College and studied biology at Yale University. She has received the Artadia Award (2018), Tosa Studio Award (2018), MAP Fund Grant (2018), and Windgate Craft Fellowship (2016), among other accolades.

ABOUT THE FINALISTS

Elizabeth Alexander
United States, born 1982; lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Elizabeth Alexander is an interdisciplinary artist who makes sculptures and installations from deconstructed domestic materials to unearth elements of human behavior and hidden emotional lives that exist within the walls of our homes.  Alexander earned a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture, with distinction, from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and has received awards including the Lowell Cultural Council Grant (2014), the Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship (2011), and a Vermont Studio Center residency and fellowship (2005).

Bisa Butler
United States, born 1973; lives in West Orange, New Jersey

Bisa Butler creates technicolor quilted portraits using fabrics that range from vintage lace and satin to hand-painted African textiles to celebrate black life and give voice to forgotten histories. Butler earned a Master of Arts from Montclair State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, cum laude, from Howard University. She has shown nationally and internationally at institutions including the California African American Museum, the Windgate Center of Art + Design, the University of Hong Kong, and Robben Island Museum, in Cape Town, South Africa.

Amber Cowan
United States, born 1981; lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Amber Cowan makes fantastical monochrome assemblages using reworked pressed glassware produced by some of the best-known, yet now defunct, American glass factories. Cowan earned a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Glass from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, where she is a faculty member in the glass department. She has also taught at Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Craft, and the Abate Zanetti School of Glass, in Murano, Italy. She received the 2014 Rakow Commission from the Corning Museum of Glass.

Tanda Francis,
United States, born 1977; lives in Brooklyn, New York

Inspired by ancient customs and rituals as a means of understanding and addressing our contemporary condition, Tanda Francis creates monumental heads and masks inspired by African art traditions for public and personal spaces. Francis’ monumental, site-specific public artworks include Everyone Breaks (2015–16), Riverside Park, New York; And We Breathe (collaborative, 2015–16), Van Cortlandt Park, New York; and Take Me with You (2017–18), Socrates Sculpture Park, New York.

Bojana Ginn
Serbia, born 1974; lives in Decatur, Georgia

Focusing on science, technology, and spirituality, Bojana Ginn creates multimedia light installations to investigate questions of humanity and nature in an increasingly digital engineered world. Ginn earned a Doctor of Medicine from the School of Medicine at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, and a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She received the Ellsworth Kelly Award (2018) and was a finalist for the World Technology Award in the Arts (2015). She has completed residencies at the Georgia Institute of Technology (2017) and Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (2013–15), among others. Her work was included in the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016.

Raven Halfmoon
United States, born 1991; lives in Norman, Oklahoma

Raven Halfmoon builds large-scale ceramic sculptures that reflect on her personal experiences as a Native American (Caddo Nation) woman living in the twenty-first-century United States. Halfmoon earned a dual Bachelor of Arts in Ceramics and Painting and in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas. She has received the American Craft Council Emerging Voices Award (2019) and completed long-term residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts (2019) and the Red Lodge Clay Center (2017, 2016). Her work has been shown throughout the United States and in Australia.

Salvador Jiménez-Flores
Mexico, born 1985; lives in Chicago, Illinois

An interdisciplinary artist, Salvador Jiménez-Flores explores themes of colonization, migration, cultural stereotypes, philosophies of the “other,” and Futurism through a Latinx lens. Jiménez-Flores earned a Master of Fine Arts in Drawing from Kendall College of Art and Design and a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design and Digital Media from Robert Morris University, and he studied at Studio Arts College International in Florence. He has received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant (2017), the New England Foundation for the Arts Creative City grant (2017), and residencies at the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Program (2019), the Office for the Arts at Harvard (2015–17), and the City of Boston (2017). Jiménez-Flores is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Lauren Kalman
United States, born 1980; lives in Detroit, Michigan

Lauren Kalman investigates politics of the female body, spaces, and objects through her adornment-based work, which is rooted in jewelry practices. Kalman earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3D Art and Metals from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has received the Ruth and Harold Chenven Foundation Grant (2017) and the Puffin Foundation Grant (2017), among others. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Beijing World Art Museum, and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Helen Lee
United States, born 1978; Madison, Wisconsin

Artist, designer, educator, and glassblower, Helen Lee, examines the morphological nature of language through a material-specific practice. Lee earned a Master of Fine Arts in Glass from Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Science in Art and Design with a concentration in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received the Gold Award in the Bullseye Glass exhibition Emerge 2016, the Edna Wiechers Arts in Wisconsin Award (2014), and the inaugural Irvin Borowsky International Prize in Glass Art (2013). She has taught at RISD, California College of the Arts, the Toyama City Institute of Glass Art, Pilchuck Glass School, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, the Chrysler Museum of Art Glass Studio, and MIT Glass Lab. She is an Associate Professor and Head of Glass in the Art Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Linda Lopez
United States, born 1981; lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Linda Lopez’s abstract works explore the poetic potential of the quotidian by imagining and articulating a vast emotional range embedded in the mundane objects that surround us. Lopez earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California State University, Chico. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art (2017), Greenwich House Pottery (2017), C.R.E.T.A. Rome (2016), the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts (2013), and the Clay Studio (2010–12). She has exhibited in Italy, New Zealand, and England as well as in the United States, at venues including the Craft and Folk Art Museum (now Craft Contemporary), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and Long Beach Museum of Art.

Jaydan Moore
United States, born 1986; lives in Richmond, Virginia

Jaydan Moore investigates material culture through his deconstructed and reassembled sculptures and wall hangings made from found silver-plated tableware. Moore earned a dual Master of Fine Arts/Master of Arts from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewelry/Metal Arts, with high distinction, from California College of the Arts. He is a recipient of the American Craft Council Emerging Voices Award (2015) and the Fountainhead Fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University (2013), and has completed residencies at the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Program (2018), Penland School of Craft (2014–17), and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (2012).

Sophia Narrett
United States, born 1987; lives in Brooklyn, New York

Through painterly embroideries of images from popular culture and the internet, Sophia Narrett explores fantasy, desire, and love in romantic relationships, and the power dynamics embedded within them. Narrett earned a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts from Brown University, and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2018) and residencies at the Museum of Arts and Design (2016–17), Lux Art Institute (2016), and Vermont Studio Center (2011), among others. Her work has been shown at Paul Kasmin Gallery, PPOW, the Museum of Arts and Design, the Museum of Sex, Jack Barrett, and BRIC in New York; the Museum Rijswijk, Netherlands; and Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Sara Rahbar
United States, born 1976; lives in New York, New York

Sara Rahbar’s autobiographical mixed-media work ranges from photography to sculpture and installation. The artist seeks to convey her personal experiences as a refugee of the Iranian Revolution and Iran–Iraq War into considerations of the human condition on a global scale. Rahbar studied within an interdisciplinary program at the Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. She has exhibited interna- tionally at venues that include the Queensland Museum, Sharjah Art Foundation, the Venice Biennale, the Centre Pompidou, and Mannheimer Kunstverein.

Julie Schenkelberg
United States, born 1988; lives in Detroit, Michigan

Julie Schenkelberg creates large-scale installations and sculptures using discarded domestic and industrial materials. Her works transform notions of domesticity, explore objects as receptacles of familial memory, and engage with the American Rust Belt’s legacy of abandonment and decay. Schenkelberg earned a Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts and has received numerous accolades, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014), the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship (2016), and a Harpo Foundation grant (2015). She has been awarded residencies at Red Bull Arts Detroit, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Art Omi, and Projekstom Normanns, in Norway.

Sarah Zapata
United States, born 1988; lives in Brooklyn, New York

Sarah Zapata explores gender through labor-intensive processes such as handweaving, rope coiling, latch hooking, and sewing, challenging the history of craft as “women’s work,” while also addressing her complex identity as a queer, first-generation American of Latinx descent raised as an evangelical Christian in Texas. Zapata earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fibers from the University of North Texas and received a Windgate Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center (2018). She has been awarded residencies at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (2017), the Wagon Station Encampment at A-Z West (2016), and the Museum of Arts and Design (2016).

ABOUT THE JURORS

Julia Bryan-Wilson is the Doris and Clarence Malo Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of the books Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (2009); Art in the Making: Artists and Their Materials from the Studio to Crowdsourcing (with Glenn Adamson, 2016); and Fray: Art and Textile Politics (2017), which won the Frank Jewett Mather Award, the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present Book Prize, and the Robert Mother well Book Award. With Andrea Anderson, she curated the exhibition Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen (2017), and she was recently appointed Consulting Curator at the Museum de Art de São.

Valerie Cassel Oliver is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Previously she served as Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Director of the Visiting Artist Program at the School of the Art institute of Chicago, and a Program Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000 she was one of six curators selected to organize the Whitney Biennial. Recent exhibitions include Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen (2018) and Cosmologies from the Tree of Life: Art from the African American South (2019).

Cannupa Hanksa Luger is a New Mexico-based multidisciplinary artist of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, Austrian, and Norwegian descent. He is the 2018 Burke Prize recipient. Through monumental installations that incorporate ceramics, video, sound, fiber, steel, and cut paper, he interweaves performance and political action to communicate stories about twenty-first century indigeneity. Using social collaboration and in response to timely and site-specific issues, Luger produces projects that often present a call to action, such as Every One (2018) and The Mirror Shield Project (2016), provoking diverse audiences to engage with indigenous peoples and values outside of the lens of colonial social structuring. He lectures and participates in residencies around the globe, and his work is collected internationally.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Since the Museum’s founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving twenty-first-century innovation, and fosters a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design. For more information, visit madmuseum.org.

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Email: press@madmuseum.org

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