AAR Receives Gift to Establish the Philip Guston Rome Prize Fellowship

Features - Philip Guston Rome Prize
Garrett Bradley (center) with Musa and Thomas Mayer (photograph by Christine Butler)

The American Academy in Rome is pleased to announce a new Rome Prize Fellowship this year. The Philip Guston Rome Prize in Visual Arts, established by Musa and Thomas Mayer with a $3 million gift in memory of the artist Philip Guston, further marks Guston’s long-standing relationship with the Academy and the city of Rome.

“When my father was awarded the Rome Prize in 1948, he was at a crucial juncture in his painting,” said Musa Mayer. “In 1970, an extended stay at the Academy offered the distance and perspective he needed, allowing him to continue painting unencumbered by the rejection of the New York art world. On each visit, he was renewed and sustained by the painting of the Italian masters he loved so much, and by the language, culture, and companionship he found at the Academy. Knowing just how much the Rome Prize can mean in the life and work of an artist, we are delighted to support a Fellowship in his name.”

A celebrated exponent of the New York School, Guston was, with Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, one of the pioneers of Abstract Expressionism. Guston, who had been a Fellow at the Academy in Rome in 1949, later visited as a Resident from October 1970 to May 1971. It was during this period that Guston painted the celebrated Roma series, experimenting with his newly invented language of isolated figural images and challenging himself to draw inspiration from his environment and not just his imagination. Guston also served as a Trustee of the Academy, from 1969 to 1976.

“Rome has long been a source of creative exploration for our Fellows, and Philip Guston’s time at the Academy coincided with two pivotal moments in his career,” said Mark Robbins, AAR President and CEO. “We are pleased to offer the same opportunity to Garrett Bradley, an emerging artist showing great potential, with the inaugural Philip Guston Rome Prize.”

Garrett Bradley is a visual artist and a professor at Loyola University New Orleans. Her most recent project, America (2019), which surveys one hundred years of black cinema, was recently featured in the “New Directors/New Films” program by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, and her work will also be presented in the upcoming 2019 Whitney Biennial. Bradly has received grants from Art Matters, Artadia, the Ford Foundation for Social Justice, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts, among others. She also received two TriBeCa Film Festival prizes and two awards from the New Orleans Film Festival.

Bradley said, “Much of my work is rooted in thinking about the American experience from multiple perspectives. The culmination of it, ideally offering a blended way of seeing. Being in Rome, will I think, offer space to reflect and re-see what is both familiar and unknown to me.”

American Academy in Rome Celebrates 125 Years

Founded in 1894, the American Academy in Rome is the oldest American overseas center for independent study and advanced research in the arts and humanities. It is the only privately funded not-for-profit institution among the national academies in Rome. In addition to the Rome Prize and Italian Fellowships, the Academy invites a select group of Residents, Affiliated Fellows, and Visiting Artists and Scholars to work together within this exceptional community. In celebration of its 125th anniversary this October, the Academy will invite leading artists and thinkers to investigate the impact of the exposure to the city of Rome, in a year-long series of public programs investigating how encounters with Rome resonate throughout the arts and the humanities in the United States and Italy.

2019–20 Rome Prize Winners and Italian Fellows

Last month the Academy announced winners of the 2019–20 Rome Prize and Italian Fellowships. These highly competitive fellowships support advanced independent work and research in the arts and humanities. This year, Fellowships were awarded to thirty American and six Italian artists and scholars, who will each receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board for a period of five to eleven months at the Academy’s eleven-acre campus in Rome. The full list of winners can be found on the AAR website.

All Fellows are selected annually by independent juries of distinguished artists and scholars through a national competition. The eleven disciplines supported by the Academy are: literature, music composition, visual arts, architecture, landscape architecture, design, and historic preservation and conservation, as well as ancient studies, medieval studies, Renaissance and early modern studies, and modern Italian studies.

Press inquiries

Andrew Mitchell

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Maddalena Bonicelli

Rome Press Officer

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