Charles Gaines. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.

Charles Gaines Receives 2019 MacDowell Medal

The sixtieth Edward MacDowell Medal will be awarded to conceptual artist Charles Gaines. First presented by the MacDowell Colony, the oldest artist residency program in the United States, to American playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder in 1960, the annual prize recognizes “artistic excellence.” Gaines will be honored at an award ceremony on the program’s grounds in Peterborough, New Hampshire, on August 11.

Gaines, a faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts, has had more than eighty solo shows, and his work has been included in numerous group exhibitions around the globe. He also participated in the 2007 and 2015 editions of the Venice Biennale. His works can be found in the public collections of many institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Charles Gaines is many things: an influential teacher, a provocative and powerful writer and curator, a talented drummer, and, of course, a highly renowned and celebrated visual artist,” said Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the chair of the medal’s selection panel. “It is thrilling to see him receive the sixtieth MacDowell Medal—the latest in a long line of some of the greatest artists of our time. Charles has been a leading figure in the conceptual art movement on the West Coast for more than forty years. His influence as an artist is exponentially enhanced by his legacy as an educator, helping generations of students find their artistic voices since the 1970s.”

Past MacDowell Medal awardees include composer Leonard Bernstein, poet Robert Frost, architect I.M. Pei, novelist Toni Morrison, and artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Willem de Kooning.