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Conceptual artist Mark Dion has been named the recipient of the 2001 Larry Aldrich Foundation Award. Selected by a panel that included, among others, curator Thelma Golden, artist Doug Aitken, gallerist Bill Maynes, writer and curator Dominique Nahas, and founding director of the New Museum, Marcia Tucker, Dion receives $25,000 and a show at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art (, which gives the award annually to an American artist whose work has been influential in the previous three years. Past recipients have included Elizabeth Murray, Cindy Sherman, Bruce Nauman, Robert Gober, and Doug Aitken.

Dion is known for installations that resemble natural history museum displays and elaborate “digs” held in places not normally thought to hold archaeological treasures. In History Trash Dig, 1995, for example, Dion removed two cubic meters of earth from behind a wall in Fribourg, Switzerland, to display the refuse that had been thrown there for centuries. A year before the Tate Modern opened in its current location, Dion presented Tate Thames Dig, a collection of items he unearthed from the banks of the London river. One goal of these urban archaeological expeditions, according to Dion, is to examine the subjective, arbitrary nature of scientific history and its classification systems. “I consider myself a visual artist with a keen interest in the science of life,” wrote Dion on the occasion of the 2000 Carnegie International. The themes of science, natural history, and museological classification were first explored by '60s figures such as Marcel Broodthaers and Robert Smithson. They continue to influence many contemporary artists, most directly perhaps Dion, but also Alexis Rockman, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Damien Hirst.

The Aldrich also presented digital artist Claire Corey with the Aldrich Emerging Artist Award, for which she received $3,000. Selected by the museum’s curatorial staff, Corey creates abstract, computer-generated and -manipulated images that can’t easily be classified as either paintings or prints. Corey was featured last year in the Aldrich’s “Ink Jet” exhibition, which featured work created solely with digital equipment found in today’s average office, including the titular ink jet printer. Past recipients of the award have included Roxy Paine, Paul Henry Ramirez, and John F. Simon Jr.