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Smithsonian American Art Museum Announces Lucelia Artist Award Winner for 2001

Contact: Smithsonian American Art Museum's Public Affairs Office AmericanArtinfo[at]
American Art's Web site:
Recorded information: (202) 633-8998

NEW YORK, May 22—The Smithsonian American Art Museum announced today that Jorge Pardo is the inaugural winner of the Lucelia Artist Award, established by the museum earlier this year to encourage leading contemporary American artists.

Jorge Pardo "I am honored to be the first recipient of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Lucelia Artist Award," said Jorge Pardo. "It is wonderful that a museum dedicated to all art in the United States is taking such an active interest in encouraging contemporary artists."

"The Lucelia Artist Award underscores the museum's commitment to contemporary art as it encourages the development and experimentation of one of America's best young artists," said Elizabeth Broun, the museum's Margaret and Terry Stent Director

An independent panel of jurors chose Pardo for the award in recognition of his exceptional creativity and compelling engagement with issues related to the presentation, context and perception of art.

"Using a vocabulary that recalls stylistic precedents from modernist architecture and design, Pardo makes reference to the past even as he grounds his art in the here and now," wrote the Lucelia Artist Award jurors in their statement. "Implementing a cross-disciplinary, function-oriented approach, Pardo exemplifies a new direction in contemporary art."

Jorge PardoThe five jurors who selected the winner were: John Baldessari, contemporary artist in Santa Monica, Calif.; Dan Cameron, senior curator at The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York; Lynne Cooke, curator at the Dia Center for the Arts in New York; Bruce Ferguson, dean of the School of the Arts at Columbia University; and Elizabeth Smith, chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

"Pardo's work blurs the distinction between art, architecture and design," said Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, chief curator at the museum. "By using everyday objects in his installations, Pardo encourages shifting perceptions toward looking for beauty outside of traditional art spaces."

Pardo was born in Havana, Cuba in 1963. At the age of 6, he moved with his family to Chicago. In 1988, he received a B.F.A from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. Currently, he lives and works in Los Angeles. Friedrich Petzel Gallery in New York City and 1301PE in Los Angeles represent Pardo.

Early in his career, Pardo examined issues of interior space and human scale using pin-hole cameras. His work—which he calls sculptures—varies from hanging lamps and furniture to architectural projects, such as the house—where he now lives—that he designed and built as an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. His installations are in demand in the United States, Japan and Europe, particularly in Germany. His most recent projects include "Project" at the Dia Center for the Arts in New York City and "Lamps" at Sotheby's New York headquarters.

Jorge PardoThe Lucelia Artist Award was established to recognize annually an American artist under the age of 50 who has produced a significant body of artwork that demonstrates exceptional creativity. The $25,000 award is intended to encourage the artist's future development and experimentation.

The New York-based Lucelia Foundation, which funds the award, supports the visual arts, specifically 19th-century American and contemporary art.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection began with gifts of art donated to the federal government in 1829 and has evolved into the world's most important American art holdings with approximately 39,000 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, photographs, folk art and contemporary crafts.

While the three-year renovation of the museum's main building—the Old Patent Office in Washington, D.C.—continues, American Art offers a full program of exhibitions at its Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W.). For information about Renwick Gallery activities, call (202) 357-2700. Please visit the museum's award-winning Web site at