The Contemporary Austin has announced British artist Lubaina Himid as the recipient of the 2024 Suzanne Deal Booth/FLAG Art Foundation Prize.
In 2016, the unrestricted award was founded by The Contemporary and museum trustee Suzanne Deal Booth as a $100,000 prize to a deserving artist. Since that time, the prize has been awarded biannually by a rotating independent advisory committee made up of contemporary art curators and historians. In 2018, The Contemporary Austin and The FLAG Art Foundation, a nonprofit art exhibition space in New York City, announced the expansion of the prize, which involved doubling the monetary award and adding an additional stop for the winner’s show at the FLAG’s exhibition space. Past prize winners include Rodney McMillian (2018), Nicole Eisenman (2020), and Tarekk Atoui (2022).
The advisory committee for the 2024 Prize was led by sharon maidenberg, the Ernest and Sarah Butler Director & CEO of The Contemporary Austin, and included Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO; Pilar Tompkins Rivas, Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Curatorial and Collections, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles, CA; Michelle White, Senior Curator, Menil Collection, Houston, TX; and Dr. Zoé Whitley, Director, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK; along with institutional advisor Jonathan Rider, Director, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY.
Though she initially studied theater design, Ms. Himid is known for her innovative paintings, prints, and installations, and is a self-described cultural activist. Throughout her four-decade career, Ms. Himid has depicted untold stories and histories of historically marginalized people while celebrating Black creativity. In the 1980s, she was an important figure in the British Black arts movement. In 2017, she won the Turner Prize, an annual award granted to a British artist in recognition of an outstanding exhibition of their work in the previous year.
In a statement on the museum’s website, Ms. maidenberg said, “Himid’s work is both content rich and aesthetically beautiful, making her an excellent choice for this prestigious award. Her unique ability to simultaneously humanize and elevate the lived experience of her subjects makes her a deft visual storyteller… We couldn’t be more thrilled to be celebrating her achievements and bringing her work to Texas for the first time.”
Director of The FLAG Art Foundation, Jonathan Rider added, “In many ways and forms, Himid’s practice makes private moments public, and in doing so invites viewers to project their own experiences and histories onto the work. Presenting Himid across two venues, each with distinct regional contexts, allows for differing conversations, programming, and possibilities to occur. Himid has spoken about the exhibition as a site for chance encounter, and we look forward to seeing how audiences between Austin and New York inhabit, activate, and interact with the theatrical and deeply personal world she creates.”
As the winner of the 2024 Suzanne Deal Booth/FLAG Art Foundation Prize, Ms. Himid will receive a $200,000 cash award and present a solo exhibition in Austin in spring 2024. The exhibition will travel to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York and will be on view in fall 2024. Additionally, the prize includes an exhibition publication and public programming at each venue.