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Kathy Butterly wins Smithsonian's Contemporary Artist Award

November 05, 2012|By David Ng
  • A work by Kathy Butterly titled "Teenage Wasteland." The artist has been named the winner of the Smithsonian's Contemporary Artist Award for 2012.
A work by Kathy Butterly titled "Teenage Wasteland." The artist… ( Shoshana Wayne Gallery )

Artist Kathy Butterly, whose abstract ceramic sculptures are noted for their colorful and playful aspects, has won the Smithsonian's Contemporary Arts Award for 2012. The biennial honor comes with a $25,000 prize and is intended to recognize artists younger than 50 who have produced a significant body of work.

Butterly typically creates small-scale ceramic sculptures that are brightly colored and abstract in shape. Her work is often compared to the sculptures of Ron Nagle and Ken Price. The five-member jury that chose this year's winner wrote that Butterly's "small, nuanced, labor-intensive sculptures are richly communicative and wildly imaginative." 

A selection of the artist's recent work is currently on display in a solo show at the Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica. Times reviewer David Pagel wrote that Butterly "does for sculpture what digital technology does for information: pack so much into such small spaces that it's impossible to reconcile an object’s literal dimensions with the kicks it delivers." 

Butterly lives and works in the New York area. She is represented by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York.

Past winners of the Smithsonian's Contemporary Arts Award include Pierre Huyghe, Mark Dion, Jessica Stockholder, Jorge Pardo and Los Angeles' Center for Land Use Interpretation.


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