Ralph Rugoff, Director of the CCA Wattis Institute, Wins Prestigious Ordway Prize

Ralph Rugoff

Ralph Rugoff, director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, is the winner of the inaugural Ordway Prize in the category of arts writer and/or curator. This new prize, awarded by the Penny McCall Foundation, is one of the most generous international art prizes awarded in the United States. Given biennially, it recognizes two recipients, a midcareer artist and an arts writer and/or curator, each of whom will receive an unrestricted monetary award of $100,000. Doris Salcedo was the recipient of the Ordway Prize in the artist category.

Ralph Rugoff commented, "It is an unbelievable honor to receive the Ordway Prize. I am deeply grateful to Jennifer McSweeney and the Penny McCall Foundation for their foresight in establishing this prize and for their ongoing support of contemporary art and artists. It was a privilege to be nominated along with my distinguished colleagues Lynne Cooke and David Rimanelli—both of whom have had a great impact on my understanding of contemporary art. This prize also recognizes the work of the CCA Wattis Institute and the importance and relevance of its broad international focus."

About Ralph Rugoff

Since 2000, Ralph Rugoff has been director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. His curatorial experience at the Wattis includes "Monuments for the USA," "Capp Street Project: 20th Anniversary Exhibition," "Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art" (with Daina Augaitis, Lisa Corrin, Matthew Higgs and Toby Kamps), and "Sudden Glory: Sight Gags and Slapstick in Contemporary Art." Rugoff was also the founding chair of CCA's Curatorial Practice Program.

Prior to coming to CCA, he co-curated (with Lisa Corrin) "The Greenhouse Effect" at the Serpentine Gallery in London. His freelance curatorial projects include "Just Pathetic," which was exhibited in Los Angeles and New York, and the touring exhibition "At the Threshold of the Visible: Minuscule and Small-Scale Art 1964-1996."

Rugoff's principal publications include monographs on George Condo, Mark Wallinger and Anya Gallacio. He is the author of "Circus Americanus" (Verso). Rugoff also served as editor and co-author of "Scene of the Crime" (MIT Press) and "At the Threshold of the Visible" (Independent Curators International). In addition, Rugoff has been a research fellow at Goldsmiths College in London and a Pew Arts Journalism Fellow at Columbia University in New York.

About the Wattis

Established in 1998, the CCA Wattis Institute serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of leading-edge local, national and international contemporary culture. Through exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, performances and publications in the fields of art, architecture and design, the CCA Wattis Institute fosters interaction among the students and faculty of California College of the Arts; art, architecture and design professionals; and the general public.

Rugoff comments, "As large museums in the United States increasingly focus on producing blockbuster shows, the task of developing truly innovative and challenging projects has been taken up by smaller, more responsive institutions like the CCA Wattis Institute. Occupying a strategic niche between artist-run spaces and museums, the Wattis Institute operates as a cultural test site or aesthetic think tank, where artists and visitors alike can experiment with new ideas about relationships among art, society, popular culture and everyday life."

About the Ordway Prize

The Ordway Prize is named in honor of McCall Foundation Director Jennifer McSweeney's great-great-aunt, Katharine Ordway, who was a philanthropist, art collector and lifelong naturalist. The prize recognizes mid-career artists and arts writers and/or curators who have made important contributions to the field of contemporary art and letters. Recipients must be at least 40 years of age and created a significant body of work over a minimum of 15 years. Nominees are considered from around the world. The short list for the 2005 Ordway Prize comprises three artists and three arts writers and/or curators selected from seven nominees in each category. The other finalists are artists Sam Durant and Senga Nengudi and curator Lynne Cooke and art critic David Rimanelli.

The nominators, who were invited by Ms. McSweeney to participate in the selection process, are a distinguished group of artists, curators, writers, museum professionals, scholars, philanthropists and leaders in the field of contemporary art.

Penny McCall Foundation

The Penny McCall Foundation (PMF), a private organization dedicated to supporting contemporary artists, arts writers, and curators, was established in 1987 by Jennifer McSweeney's late mother, Penny McCall. From 1988 to 2004, the activities of the PMF included awarding more than $2,000,000 to emerging artists, arts writers, and curators. In 2005, under Ms. McSweeney's directorship, the Foundation initiated the biennial Ordway Prize; in the intervening years, it will continue to award the Penny McCall Awards, among other initiatives.