Artadia Announces the 2020 Chicago Awardees

CGN Staff, Via PR

Artadia is pleased to announce the recipients of the eleventh annual Chicago Artadia Awards:​ Caroline Kent ​and ​Eliza Myrie​. As the 2020 Chicago Artadia Awardees, Kent and Myrie will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds, as well as access to the ongoing benefits of the Artadia Awards program. Applications were open to any visual artist living within Chicago’s Cook County for over two years, working in any medium and at any stage of their career.

The decision followed an extensive jury process, culminating in a virtual studio visit between shortlisted finalists and jurors ​Jennifer Carty​, Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, The Smart Museum at University of Chicago and ​Jessica Hong​, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth.

On receiving the 2020 Chicago Artadia Award, ​Eliza​ states, “The process of this award, the opportunity to discuss and present my practice, especially with the discombobulated energy of Covid-19, really reminded and excited me about the investments and commitments I have made. There are so many things to find out by making and many conversations I want to be having as a result of finding those things out. Artadia was a great reminder of that and of course, will enable lots more making.”

Of the Awardees' work, ​Jennifer​ notes, “I was so struck by the work of the awardees Caroline Kent and Eliza Myrie, both of which tackle existing power structures and hierarchies in different and nuanced ways. Through a fluency of language with histories of abstraction, Kent extends and alters this legacy through potent means. While Myrie’s exploration into sculpture, performance, and likeness leads us to consider the physical and mental maintenance, often coupled with moments of futility, of subverting patriarchal systems. Both of these bodies of work feel particularly relevant to the current moment in which we live and the futures we endeavor to imagine.”

Additionally, ​Jessica​ states, “When we’re facing such extremes and upheavals, it is artists and cultural producers that push us to think, question, and engage in new ways, and this year’s Artadia Awardees are no exception. Though both artists have quite distinct practices, Kent and Myrie seek novel, even revolutionary, potentials of their media and create space for possibility, which is now more essential than ever. It is especially during these times, artists require support through organizations like Artadia to amplify their voices, as it is ultimately the publics that need to hear these voices and experience their work. It was a privilege to serve as juror and connect with all of the finalists and it’s an honor to have a small part in supporting these critical practices.”

Artadia is honored to partner with Global Insurer, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, and the artist LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation, Inc. for the two 2020 Chicago Artadia Awards. Both organizations have generously committed to supporting exceptional artists in Chicago, each with a named Award in the amount of $10,000. The 2020 Chicago Artadia Awards are additionally supported by the Artadia Board of Directors, Artadia Council Members, and individual donors across the country.


About the Awardees:

Caroline Kent

Artwork credit: Caroline Kent,​ Language for the Living, 2018 Photo courtesy of the artist

Caroline Kent is a Chicago based visual artist that explores the relationship between language, translation and abstraction through her expanded painting practice. Kent speculates in both the potential and the limitations of language, and ultimately questions the modernist canon of abstraction.

Caroline Kent earned a BS in Art at Illinois State University (1998) and an MFA at the University of Minnesota (2008). Kent has exhibited nationally at The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, The DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, The California African American Museum, LA, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Kent has received grants from The Pollock Krasner Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, and The Jerome Foundation. She is currently represented by Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles.


Eliza Myrie

Artwork credit: Eliza Myrie, ​clothesline/back fence talk​, 2018 Photo of artist by Elizabeth Haynes

Eliza Myrie received her MFA from Northwestern University and was a participant at The Skowhegan School and The Whitney Independent Study Program. Myrie is a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a co-founder of The Black Artists Retreat [B.A.R.]. Exhibitions include Arts Club Chicago; Gallery 400; Vox Populi; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; New Museum of Contemporary Art.

Myrie’s work explores site and labor through generational inheritance, gender, and authorship. As a sculptor and printmaker, dimension, volume, and examination of how representation and subjectivity are lost/gained via physical and conceptual processes are central to her work.


The LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Artadia Award is presented to Eliza Myrie​. "The work of Eliza Myrie elegantly tackles questions of colonialism, race, borders, pronouns, and materiality across a wide range of mediums. These are difficult issues, but Myrie walks that tightrope, often managing to demonstrate how such concepts can be both fictional and vitally important at the same time. LeRoy Neiman's own art was deeply engaged with the contemporary moment, and I'm sure he would have been thrilled to support an artist like Myrie, who carries on that legacy with a similar dedication to beauty and wit.”


The Liberty Specialty Markets Artadia Award is presented to Caroline Kent.​ Robert Pittinger, Senior Vice President – Fine Art & Specie at Liberty Specialty Markets said: “We are thrilled that Caroline Kent is this year’s recipient of Liberty Specialty Markets Artadia Award. We hope the award will help this Chicago-based visual artist to continue pushing the boundaries with her bold yet highly sophisticated explorations of the relationship between shape, line and color. As one of the world’s leading fine art insurers, we’re dedicated to playing a positive role in the art community, helping it flourish and protecting its creations. The Artadia program, which supports innovative visual artists in their local communities and the wider world, is precisely the type of initiative that aligns with our commitment to supporting the arts.”

Awardees were selected from a shortlist of ​five finalists: ​Yvette Dostatni​, ​Azadeh Gholizadeh​, ​Caroline Kent​, ​Yvette Mayorga​, and ​Eliza Myrie​. The finalists were chosen by ​Jennifer Carty​, Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, The Smart Museum at University of Chicago; ​Daonne Huff​, Director, Public Programs & Community Engagement, The Studio Museum in Harlem; and ​Laura Mott,​ Senior Curator of Contemporary Art and Design, Cranbrook Art Museum.


About the Artadia Awards:
Artadia is a national non-profit organization that awards artists with unrestricted grants followed by a lifetime of program opportunities. This is Artadia’s eleventh Award cycle in Chicago. Applications were open to any visual artist living within Chicago’s Cook County for over two years, working in any medium and at any stage of their career. Finalists and Artadia Award recipients are selected through Artadia’s rigorous, two-tier jury review process. In the first round of review, jurors evaluated all submissions and collaboratively determined the five Finalists. Artadia is unique in that it allows any artist to apply, engages nationally recognized artists and curators to review work, and culminates in direct grants. Since 1999, Artadia has awarded over $5 million to 342 artists across Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.