Contemporary art USA

Hammer Museum launches $100,000 biennial art prize

Funded by the LA collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn, the award will be given to an artist showing in the "Made In LA" exhibition

Jarl Mohn (above) and his wife Pamela are funding the $100,000 tied to the Made in LA biennial

The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles is launching a $100,000 art prize in conjunction with its “Made in LA 2012” biennial, which opens 2 June and showcases emerging and overlooked artists working in the city. The Mohn Prize, as it will be known, is funded by the local philanthropists and art collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn. They have committed to five cycles of the biennial prize, or ten years, with the option to continue funding it after that, a museum spokeswoman says. In addition to the cash prize, a limited edition monographic book on the winning artist’s work will be published.

The award follows the model of the Whitney Museum’s Bucksbaum Award, which is the same amount and is given to an artist working in the US who is showing in the Whitney Biennial, and it is set to rival the Tate’s Turner Prize, which is only £25,000 but is given annually. The Mohn Prize will take a more populist approach to the selection of the winner, however. After a professional jury select five finalists, visitors to the “Made in LA 2012” exhibition can register to vote for the overall winner online.

The Hammer today announced the full list of 60 artists that are taking part in the biennial in three venues—the Hammer Museum in Westwood, the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park in Los Feliz, and LAXart in Culver City—and all are eligible to win the Mohn Prize. The jury is made up of art professionals, including the independent curator and writer Anthony Huberman; Doryun Chong, the associate curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Cecilia Alemani, the curator and director of High Line Art Program, also in New York; and Rita Gonzalez, the curator of contemporary art at Lacma.

“I truly believe that LA is the creative capital of the world and we are delighted to work with Annie and her team at the Hammer in the establishment of this prize,” says Jarl Mohn in a press statement sent out by the museum. “It is our hope that the prize brings significant attention to ‘Made in LA’ as well as the thriving contemporary art scene in LA. The most innovative and advanced work in the world is being created right here.” Mohn was previously the executive vice president and general manager of MTV and VH1 from 1986 to 1990 and created E! Entertainment Television. He currently advises a number of media companies and supports digital media and technology projects, as well as supporting many philanthropic causes.

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