Alice Walton, Martin Puryear, and Kwame Anthony Appiah. Photo: Francesca Bottazzin. Courtesy of Getty.

Alice Walton, Martin Puryear, and Kwame Anthony Appiah Receive Getty Medals

The 2020 Getty Medals, which recognize contributions to the arts and humanities, will be awarded to philanthropist Alice Walton, artist Martin Puryear, and scholar Kwame Anthony Appiah. “The Getty Medal recognizes excellence and impact in cultural areas that help expand our understanding and appreciation of the world around us,” said David Lee, chair of the Getty board of trustees. “This year we are thrilled to honor three influential and transformative leaders.”

Walton, the founder of the Crystal Bridges American Art Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, is being honored for her dedication to expanding access to the arts and arts education, her effort to foster understanding and appreciation of American art, and her work promoting diversity on museum boards. Puryear, who represented the United States at the 2019 Venice Biennale, was recognized for his labor-intensive sculptures and his mastery of craft traditions from around the world, and Appiah, a professor of law and philosophy at New York University and an ethics columnist for the New York Times Magazine, was selected for his academic scholarship on identity and cosmopolitanism.

“Anthony Appiah’s writings on culture and identity are of the greatest importance as we confront increasing populism and ethnic nationalism in our daily lives,” said James Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust. “It is for this reason, and the intellectual elegance of his scholarship, that we are honored to bestow upon him the Getty’s highest honor.” Appiah, Puryear, and Walton will be presented with the awards in September at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.

Established in 2013, the J. Paul Getty Medals have previously been awarded to fourteen individuals, including Mary Beard, Nancy Englander, Frank Gehry, Thelma Golden, Agnes Gund, Ellsworth Kelly, Anselm Kiefer, Mario Vargas Llosa, Yo-Yo Ma, Lord Jacob Rothschild, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Lorna Simpson, and Harold Williams.