From left to right, top to bottom: Vincent Fecteau, Kellie Jones, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, Mary Reid Kelley, and Joyce J. Scott.

Vincent Fecteau, Kellie Jones, Mary Reid Kelley, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, and Joyce J. Scott Among 2016 MacArthur Fellows

Today, the MacArthur Foundation announced the twenty-three awardees of its 2016 MacArthur Fellowship. Each fellow will receive a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000, to be paid out over five years.

Notable winners this year include artists Vincent Fecteau, Mary Reid Kelley, and Joyce J. Scott as well as art historian and curator Kellie Jones and writers Maggie Nelson and Claudia Rankine.

“Fecteau makes art the way kids build backyard spaceships, with meticulous attention to detail, a grudging respect for the trash he works with, and no real hope of re-creating what he sees when he closes his eyes,” wrote Dennis Cooper in an early “Openings” piece for Artforum in 1995. “He’s not sure what he’s getting at, or even how best to express his confusion, which is why his work constantly shape-shifts.”

“I have always hated our almost rote propensity to shovel each other into premade life-shapes,” Maggie Nelson told Litia Perta in a 500 Words with in advance of the publication of The Argonauts (2015). “People really worry about what will happen if you pull the plug on fixed identities . . . but they shouldn’t worry so much—in my experience, that’s when good things start to happen.”

Writing on Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) in Artforum last year, Siobhan Phillips argues that the book “exposes the ho-hum racism of everyday encounters that make the killing of Michael Brown or Eric Garner or Tamir Rice tragic but not surprising. Yet Citizen also wants to know how such exposure itself works. Its words and pictures excavate racism as a failure of vision that becomes a failure of understanding.”