Performance artist Taylor Mac and his musical director, Matt Ray, have been selected as the winners of this year’s Edward M. Kennedy Prize for drama inspired by American history, writes Jennifer Schuessler in the New York Times. The duo will receive $100,000. Their performance, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, covers over two hundred years of US history “reinterpreted through a radical queer lens,” as Schuessler calls it. Reflecting on Mac’s piece on artforum.com, critic Jennifer Krasinski wrote, “Taylor Mac is a master performer, riveting storyteller, and charismatic, otherworldly creature, dressed to the tens in artist/designer Machine Dazzle’s magnificent metamorphic glitz.”
Jean Kennedy Smith, a former United States ambassador to Ireland, created the prize to honor her politician brother. Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the musical Hamilton, had previously won of the prize. Miranda’s hit production was featured in curator Thelma Golden’s “Best of 2015” piece for the December 2015 issue of Artforum.