Doug Aitken. Photo: Graeme Mitchell/Redux /LIAF.

Doug Aitken Receives Inaugural $100,000 Frontier Art Prize

Artist Doug Aitken has received the inaugural $100,000 Frontier Art Prize, presented through Le Laboratoire and the VIA Art Fund. The artist will be honored for his award on October 18 at the Picasso Museum in Paris, in conjunction with the opening of the FIAC art fair. He will also take part in the first World Frontiers Forum, which will be held this year at Le Laboratoire in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from October 1 to October 3.

The prize “recognizes artistic expression to critically question the way we live and think, now and in the future, at the creative crossroads of art and science; and biology, ecology, chemistry, architecture, food, communications, transportation, medicine, biotechnology, design, space exploration, artificial intelligence and physics,” according to the sponsors of the prize. Bridgitt Evans, the VIA Art Fund president and founder, said, “As an artist and filmmaker Doug Aitken epitomizes the radical, pioneering spirit that we hope to celebrate with this award. Doug’s ambitious artistic endeavors encourage us to imagine the future while simultaneously slowing us down to critically rethink our present.”

For a 2006 Critics’ Pick of the artist’s show at the Aspen Art Museum, Catherine Taft said of Aitken’s conspiracy, 1998, “a sequential work formed by four aerial shots [depicting] a tight circle of figures set against a white void,” that “this simple, quiet cycle documents a Situationist-inspired icebreaker that Aitken orchestrated in an Alps snowfield in order to reconnect a group of estranged French art students. By intentionally withholding such subplot or backstory, Aitken shrewdly thwarts not only narrative but also weighty conceptualism.”