Contemporary Artist Awards

This is a mixed media image of a woman leaning against a wall.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, “The Beautyful Ones” Series 1b, 2012–2013, acrylic, colored pencils, pastels and transfers on paper. Image courtesy of Jason Wyche. © Njideka Akunyili Crosby

In 2001, the Smithsonian American Art Museum established a contemporary artist award to recognize artists younger than fifty who have demonstrated exceptional creativity and outstanding achievement. Those who have been recognized have already produced a significant body of work and stand apart as leading figures and visionary talents within the field of contemporary art. The $25,000 award is intended to encourage the artist’s future development and experimentation.

Artists are nominated by a panel of distinguished jurors selected from across the United States; there is no application. Jurors determine the award winner and remain anonymous until the winner is announced. The award is part of the museum’s ongoing commitment to contemporary art and artists through exhibitions, acquisitions, commissions, and public programs.

James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize

2020: Tala Madani
2018: Mika Rottenberg
2014: Njideka Akunyili Crosby
2012: Kathy Butterly
2010: Pierre Huyghe

Lucelia Artist Award

2008: Mark Dion
2007: Jessica Stockholder
2006: Matthew Coolidge, director of the Center for Land Use Interpretation
2005: Andrea Zittel
2004: Kara Walker
2003: Rirkrit Tiravanija
2002: Liz Larner
2001: Jorge Pardo