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Connie Butler. Photo: Mark Hanauer. Courtesy of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.
Connie Butler. Photo: Mark Hanauer. Courtesy of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

Connie Butler Receives Bard’s 2020 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence

The Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) in New York has named Connie Butler, the chief curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the recipient of its 2020 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence, which honors individuals who have “defined new thinking, bold vision, and dedicated service to the field of exhibition practice” and comes with a prize of $25,000. Artist Andrea Fraser will present the award, which was designed by Lawrence Weiner, to Butler at a ceremony that will take place in April 2020.

“Connie Butler represents the best of curating; independently minded, always curious, dedicated to artists and consistently bold in the scope of her exhibitions and choices of subject,” Tom Eccles, the executive director of CCS Bard, said in a statement. “Her exhibitions are touchstones of curating in the United States—helping to redefine subjects and the institutions where she works.”

During her tenure at the Hammer, Butler organized the 2014 edition of its Made in L.A. biennial, as well as “Mark Bradford: Scorched Earth” (2015) and “Marisa Merz: The Sky Is a Great Space” (2017). She also cocurated “Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions,” which first opened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in April of 2018; “Andrea Fraser: Men on the Line” (2019); and the retrospective “Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence,” which is currently on view. Previously, she worked as chief curator of drawings at MoMA, where she cocurated the first major US survey of the work of Lygia Clark and the first US retrospective of the work of Marlene Dumas.

On winning the award, Butler said: “I am thrilled to receive the Audrey Irmas prize for curatorial excellence. The history of this award is truly a distinguished one and it is an honor to be among such incredible colleagues at this critical time in our field. Now more than ever our work matters and I continue to follow and support the work of artists and believe in the future of museums.”

Past recipients of the award include Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Okwui Enwezor, Thelma Golden, Kathy Halbreich, Vasif Kortun, Lucy Lippard, Helen Molesworth, Kynaston McShine, Nicholas Serota, Marcia Tucker, and Hans Ulrich Obrist.