Last week, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced the 2023 Guggenheim Fellows, with CalArts alums and faculty recognized in various Creative Arts categories. This year, the foundation inducted 171 fellows across 48 fields.
The Fine Arts category features CalArts alum Kelly Nipper (Art MFA 95), a Los Angeles- and Minneapolis-based artist whose practice explores movement with video, installation, and live performance. She was among the distinguished artists included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, and was commissioned to create the technology-driven multimedia installation Terre Mécanique for Performa 2017.
Fellow alum Madison Brookshire (Film/Video MFA 07) was also recognized in the same category; the Los Angeles-based filmmaker and educator’s work “crosses experimental film, music, painting, and performance.” His films have screened at various venues and festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival, DokuFest, Union Docs, the New York Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, MOCA, and REDCAT.
Performance artist, comedian, and former School of Critical Studies faculty Kristina Wong received a fellowship in the Drama & Performance Art category. Her work, characterized as “brutal but hilarious” by East Bay Express, earned her a Doris Duke Artist Award earlier this year; and last year, she was also named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. In 2015, Wong discussed her show The Wong Street Journal—directed by fellow CalArtian Emily Mendelsohn (Theater MFA 09)—with 24700.
Former School of Art faculty and 2022 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts recipient Martine Syms was named a fellow in the Film-Video category. Her multidisciplinary practice, which combines “conceptual grit, humor, and social commentary,” has earned widespread acclaim. Syms’ directorial debut The African Desperate, which follows an MFA candidate grappling with identity and instability, was selected as a Critic’s Pick by The New York Times and nominated for a 2023 Film Independent Spirit Award.
The Guggenheim Fellowships are annually awarded to “exceptional individuals in pursuit of scholarship in any field of knowledge and creation in any art form, under the freest possible conditions.” Each class of Guggenheim Fellows is examined and reviewed by experts in their respective fields, and further ranked by a network of several hundred advisers, all of whom are former Guggenheim Fellows. These recommendations and rankings are reviewed by a selection committee, which determines the number of awards to be made in each area. Since its establishment in 1925, the foundation has granted nearly $400 million in fellowships to more than 18,000 artists, writers, performers, musicians, and scholars.